Are you aware that a lot of people don’t just search on Amazon for products?
Google shopping is rapidly growing, and it’s a very massive traffic-driving source that can ultimately increase the earning potentials for online business. In the US alone, it accounts for 55% of Google search ad clicks. Google product ads work!
Unlike old AdWords SERP ads, to be successful with Google shopping, e-commerce advertisers need to follow an SEO optimization-type approach.
Want to know why?
When creating a SERP (search engine results page) ad: your ad groups, campaigns, description, and images are all created in line with your chosen keywords.
The case is entirely different with Google Shopping; Google is the one who determines where and when your product listings are displayed and what search query will trigger your ads by comparing your store, your shopping feeds and your bids.
Even at that, Google Shopping is rapidly becoming a marketing choice for e-commerce. Some studies verify that when compared to traditional search text ads, Google shopping result in about 26% higher conversion rates for product listing, 23% lower cost-per-click for product listing and increased sales/spend ratio.
Therefore, what makes Google Shopping so successful and productive? The three determinant factors to its success are:
- Feed creation
- Optimization & campaign monitoring
- Bidding strategy
In this article, we’ll take you through all the intricacies and steps on how to effectively create and optimize your first successful Google Shopping campaign but before then let’s take a look at what Google shopping entails:
What is Google Shopping & What Are Google Shopping Ads?
To adequately comprehend the concept of Google Shopping campaign, you need first to understand what Google shopping entails.
In simple terms, Google Shopping is a Google service that gives consumers the opportunity to effectively search, compare and shop for physical products through different retailers who’ve paid to have their product advertised- this is also known as Comparison Shopping Engine(CSE).
Google Shopping campaigns, on the other hand, are campaigns that allow e-commerce stores to promote their physical product on the Google search engine.
Also known as Product Listing Ads, Google Shopping campaigns gives search engine users an idea of what your product looks like while also exhibiting the price even before they get to your website.
Below is an instance of how a Google Shopping ad appears on the search engine result page.
Google shopping campaign is very efficient. It paves the way for e-commerce businesses and retailers to advertise their physical products on Google.
But then unlike text-based Google ads that are displayed based on keywords, Google makes use of the product data uploaded by merchants to display Google Shopping ads.
Google shopping is the future of advertising and here are some few reasons why you should consider using it:
- It allows you to show up numerous times in Google SERPs- as a text-only PPC result, a shopping result and a website result.
- Google shopping adds some form of visual touch to a rather text-heavy searching and shopping experience.
- It’s verified to have a 30% higher conversion rate than the traditional text ads.
Awesome benefits right?
Well, let’s move to the next section on how to create a google shopping campaign.
How to Create a Google Shopping Campaign Step by Step
STEP 1: SET UP A GOOGLE SHOPPING ACCOUNT:
To run Google Shopping campaigns, the very first thing you have to do is to set up a Google Merchant Center account. The Google merchant center is very easy to navigate, simple to set up and it ultimately serves as the home base for both your products and product information.
The Google Merchant Center is a tool that makes it easier for you to upload your brand, store and product data. It also makes all your products accessible to Shopping ads and other Google services. If you don’t have a Google merchant account, you cannot advertise your products on Google.
STEP 2: OPTIMIZE YOUR PRODUCT IMAGERY
You need to be aware that Google Shopping makes use of uploaded product feeds to index search results and it pulls the featured image from the corresponding retail site. It’s therefore essential for you to optimize the product imagery and listings on your website even before marketing them on Google Shopping.
Google Shopping is an incredibly visual practice, and your product imagery is arguably the most essential component of your listing– it determines the product which shoppers might likely click and buy.
Google is fully aware of this fact and to ensure that customers have a very excellent shopping experience, they’ll reject any Google Shopping campaign with poor-quality images.
“If you think that you can act smartly and cut corners here, think again,” because Google does recurrent quality checks and they don’t hesitate to suspend any defaulting Google Shopping accounts.
If you want your products to be highlighted on Google Shopping, then we’ll recommend that you adhere to the following Google’s image guidelines from the beginning.
- Use a solid grey, white, or light-colored background
- Use even and clear lighting
- Display the product being sold. (You can use close-ups and rear views for additional images but never as the main image.)
- Avoid noise, blur, excessive .jpeg additions, or other image tweaks such as fringing, fading out and pixelation.
- The product should not be too big or too small- it should be displayed at the correct scale (your product should take anything within 75% and 90% of the complete image)
Some other best practices include using shadow to add depth, showing apparel products on-body, providing several angles of your products, and featuring real people using it.
If you sell your products on marketplaces such as eBay, Esty or Amazon, these product image specifications are also perfect to master.
STEP 3: COLLECT AND INPUT YOUR PRODUCT DATA FEED
After you have optimized your images, the next thing is to create a product data feed which tells Google what your products are all about. The data feeds are essential because it helps Google find and display your products whenever people search for product attributes or terms.
To set your data feed, navigate to your Google merchant account, click Products>Feeds and then the blue “+” icon.
You’ll then input your language and country. These data are essential because they decide the demographic(s) that will see your products.
The next step is to name your product feed and select how you’ll input your product information.
If you select the google sheet option, then you can either use a template provided by Google merchant center or upload your spreadsheet. In this step, you can also construct an upload schedule which defines how often you’ll update your inventory.
This spreadsheet is used to collect all the product attributes that Google will utilize to index and display your products. Outlined below is a list of some essential product attributes that Googles utilizes to create your Google Shopping ads (plus a cheeky sofa illustration).
Product Feed Attributes Explainer
Id: represents your product’s distinctive identifier. Try to use the SKU if possible. For instance: S234
Title: your product’s title (it should always be the same with the title on your product landing page). It’s cool to add some essentials that shoppers might likely search for, like colour, style or size. For instance: Freshome’s Super Comfortable Grey Sleeper Sectional Sofa.
Link: the URL of your product’s landing page (it should start with https or http). For instance: https://freshome.com/
Description: a perfect description of your product (ensure that it matches what is on your product landing page and only include information about the product). For instance: “This sleeper sectional sofa was made especially for those with new apartment. The sofa is made from 100% cloud-based material, and it’s perfect for binging on Cheez-its, cuddling your dog, and watching too much Netflix. It also has a pull-out bed which will be useful when your friend comes to visit“.
Availability: your product’s accessibility (it should match what you have on the product landing page). For instance: In stock.
Image_Link: the URL of your product’s key image (it should start with either https or http).
Google_Product_Category: your product category as defined by Google. For instance: Sectional>Sleeper
Price: the price of your product (it should match with the price stated in the product landing page, and you can use the currency of the country in which the product is predominately sold). For instance: $200.
Brand: the brand name of your product (ensure to provide the name that is commonly recognized by customers). For instance: Freshome
You can find the complete list of Google’s product data specification here. We suggest that you take out a little time and read it because we couldn’t fit the full list of optional and required data attributes in this article.
If you decide to use the predefined templates provided by Google merchant centre, then the spreadsheet will come with all the product attributes as column headers as shown below.
Alternatively, if you decide to create your spreadsheet from scratch, then you’ll have to input your selected product attributes as the column header and then fill out the individual data with each product as its row. If a feature doesn’t apply to a product, then you can leave that particular cell empty.
When you’re done with everything, humbly upload the document on Google merchant center.
From this point onward, you can seamlessly access your product feed right from your Google merchant account by navigating to the following: Products> Feeds> Primary Feeds.
STEP 4: LINK YOUR GOOGLE ADWORD TO ACCOUNT
Whenever you search for a product on Google, what you see as the Google shopping results are ads.
Absolutely right– if you’re looking to get your products on Google Shopping then you’ll have to pay. While Google merchant is centered around how Google receives information about your products, Google AdWords deals with how your customers see your products… through Shopping campaigns.
If you’re serious about using Google Shopping to get in front of shoppers, then you’ll have to link your Google AdWords account.
Want to know how?
Log into your Google merchant center account, and you’ll find three vertical dots in the top right-hand corner of the dashboard. Click those dots to expand the menu and then select “Account Linking” as shown below.
If you’ve never had any Google AdWords account before then, you can seamlessly create one from this particular screen. Else, select the “Link Account” option to input your Google AdWords customer ID. Once you’re done with that, your AdWords account should be linked.
STEP 5: CREATE A GOOGLE SHOPPING CAMPAIGN
Now that you’ve been able to link your Google AdWords account, you can go ahead and create a Google Shopping campaign and then advertise your products. Let’s show you some ways on how to go about that.
One way to create your Google Shopping campaign is through your Google merchant center account. Once you’ve successfully linked your Google AdWords account, then you should be able to access it from the same place. You can click on the Create Shopping Campaign link.
Afterward, you can insert your campaign name, daily budget, country of sale and then click Create. You’ll be prompted to continue managing your Google Shopping campaign via Google AdWords.
Another way to create your Shopping campaign is via Google AdWords. Log into your AdWords account, open the Campaign tab that is located on the left-hand side menu and click the blue “+” button, then select New Campaign.
You can begin by choosing a campaign goal- a Shopping campaign can have a goal of leads, website traffic, or sales. Once you hover over the goal, you can see the Shopping designation.
- Website traffic campaigns drive the right people to your site.
- Leads campaigns help you to gather leads and other conversions by persuading shoppers to complete an action.
- Sales campaigns drive sales in person or online.
Whichever campaign you select, Google tailors it to align with your goals. Therefore, try to choose a campaign that best suits your business.
After you’ve selected the campaign goal, designate the campaign type as Shopping. Ensure that your merchant account is displayed (so that Google AdWords will know where to pull your product data from). Also, indicate your country of sale. Finally, select a campaign subtype. Note: smart shopping campaigns need conversion tracking so that Google AdWords can easily track whenever your ads turn in sales on your website.
For illustrative purposes, let’s select a Standard shopping campaign.
The following screen contains all the settings of your Google shopping campaign. You begin by entering a campaign name, clicking Additional Setting (for inventory filter option), enabling local inventory ads and changing your URL options.
STEP 6: PLACE BIDS ON YOUR SHOPPING CAMPAIGN
Subsequently, you’ll be asked to set your campaign budget and select your bidding strategy under your Google shopping settings.
Bidding deals with how you pay for people to comprehend, click on and interact with your ads. According to Google, “a high-quality product data and a sufficient bid will earn your ad a higher rank.”
Google has an attractive and cool Bid Stimulator tool that’ll give you an insight into how bid changes might affect your ad performance. GoDataFeed also wrote a fantastic tips to Google shopping biding strategies that might be useful.
The first step is to select your bid strategy. Manual CPC means that you can choose your own CPC for your ads. Alternatively, you can set an automated bid strategy.
Enhanced CPC and Target ROAS (return on ad spend) both need conversion tracking because Google utilizes your ads conversion rates to set bids that are most effective for your products.
With the “Maximum clicks option,” Google ads mechanically select your bids to get as many clicks as possible while ensuring that it’s within your budget.
To cap your spend on each ad, you can set a Maximum CPC bid limit.
Next is to select your campaign budget- the amount of money that you’re looking to send on average, every day.
In doing so, you need to be aware that this amount isn’t capped daily. Instead, Google manages your budget monthly. So you won’t spend more than your daily budget multiplied by the number of days in each month.
For instance, let’s imagine that I set my campaign budgets to $200/day for April. Google sees that I’m willing to spend $200*30 days = $6,000 in April. Whenever it places bids on my ads, Google might likely spend more than $200 in a day, but then I’ll never spend over $6,000 in a month.
You can also fix a delivery method for your budget: while accelerated budget spends your budget quicker, standard budget spends it evenly over time.
Finally, if you’re running more than a single campaign, you can set a campaign primacy so that Google will know the bid to be used.
STEP 7: TARGET AND SCHEDULE YOUR SHOPPING CAMPAIGN
The last section in your Google shopping campaign settings is all about directing and scheduling your campaign- very essential because it dictates who’ll see your product ads and when they’ll see it.
The first basic settings- “Devices and Networks” should remain the same. They’re just telling you where your product ads will be displayed.
The next thing is to select the location and target of your ad. Ensure to choose areas that you can access and/or places where you can ship to. Under the Location options, you can modify the “Target and Exclude” settings, even though we suggest you go with Google’s default choices.
All these options will ensure that you’re marketing to the ideal people- those who’re located in your target location, those who’re interested in the specified locations and those who’re searching for those locations as well.
Lastly, you can set when you want your shopping campaign to start and end. If you don’t set an end date, then your campaign will continue to run, so never forget that section.
STEP 8: BUILD AD GROUPS
After you must have completed your Google shopping campaign settings, you’ll be urged to build an ad group for your campaign. An ad group determines the kind of ads that you’ll run and how you’ll get to organize bidding for those ads.
There are two types of ads that you can run. Showcase shopping ads and product shopping ads. While product shopping ads are meant to promote a single product, the showcase shopping ads are entirely new, and they allow you to advertise more than one products as parts of a lifestyle or product ads which symbolize your business or brand.
If you’re going for the product shopping ad group, then you can enter your ad group name and fix a maximum CPC bid.
The option creates a massive ad for all your products. If for any reason you wish to filter your products further, then you can create distinct ad groups for various categories.
Alternatively, if you choose to go with showcase shopping ad group, then you can enter your ad group name and set a maximum cost per engagement bid. (usually, an engagement occurs when someone opens your showcase shopping ad, clicks on it and spends a minimum of 10 seconds within the ads.
Lastly, select what products you wish to advertise as part of the shopping ad). Once you click on the submit button, then your Google shopping campaign is sent.
Congrats on creating your first Google shopping campaign, we’re looking forward to seeing your products in Google shopping results!
Google Shopping is a longed-for change from the rather text-heavy online shopping experience. It’s more like a digital mall where shoppers can enter, search for different stuffs, see various brands and types of products all on a single screen.
If your physical products aren’t yet advertised in the Google shopping results, then you can consider incorporating this tool to your marketing repertoire.
In addition to boosting your website traffic, it’ll also give you more sales and leads that otherwise, you might not have collected.
Use the guides provided in this article to create your first Google shopping campaign and have it running correctly. In the end, you’ll get to see how it can be extremely beneficial to your e-commerce strategy.
Do you have further questions about how to create a Google shopping campaign? We’d be happy to hear from you; leave us a comment below.