What is Google Shopping?
Google Shopping is a service that allows users to search for a product and then buy the product directly on Google. Retailers can pay to advertise their physical products on Google’s Shopping search engine, also known as a Comparison Shopping Engine (CSE). Google Shopping results show up as thumbnail images that display each product’s retailer and price. For example, if I want to buy a leather jacket and I search for it on Google, then I got the following advertisements:
Google Shopping allows filters on price, color, size, brand, etc...
Advantages of selling through Google Shopping:
- Google Shopping has 30% higher conversion rates than text ads.
- Google Shopping allows you to show up multiple times in Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) — as a website result, a text-only PPC result, and a Shopping result.
It also allows you to show your product images up-front allowing the user to quickly see what you’re selling. If the product doesn’t match what the user is looking for they might not click on it. With traditional text ads, once a user decides they don’t want the product you’re already paid out of pocket for that click. Sometimes it’s better to save your money and pay for the visitor with the highest chance of converting.
How can you sell your products through Google Shopping?
Set up a Google Merchant Center account
The first step is to sign up for a Google Merchant Center account. For detailed step by step instructions, please read the section below on How to Set Up Google Merchant Center Account
Use a good quality product image
Google Shopping is a visual experience. Shoppers click on a product based on how much they like a product’s image, and price of course. Google Shopping pulls product images from your website. Google actually denies Google Shopping campaigns if the images are low-quality. So it’s important to follow Google’s image guidelines as follows:
- Your main image can’t have watermark, logo, or text overlay on the image
- Your main image can’t have borders around the image
- Your main image can’t have more than one product shown in the image.
- Use a solid white, gray, or light colored background.
- Show the product with a view that clearly represents the item being sold.
Create your product feed data
The next step is to create your product data feed. For a detailed step by step process, please read the section below on how to Create your Google Shopping Data Feed.
Connect your Google AdWords account
Next, create a Google Ads account with your Google Merchant Center account. You may ask why? The reason being that the results you see on Google Shopping are an advertisement and no advertisement is ever free. So, yes you will have to pay in order to get your products on Google Shopping. While Google Merchant Center is how Google gets your product information, Google Ads is where you build and manage your ad campaign. Log into your Google Merchant Center account. In the top right-hand corner, you’ll find three vertical dots. Click those to expand the menu, and then click Account linking. If you don’t have Google AdWords, then you need to create one.
Launch your Google Shopping campaign
We know this can be a daunting process and it’ll take a while to get the hang of it. There are many resources online that can help you and it’ll be a learning curve. To get a head start, please read the section below on How to Create a Google Shopping Campaign.
How to Set Up Google Merchant Center Account
Google Merchant Center lets you sell your products on Google. So, if you decide to sell handbags on Google through Google Merchant Center, when anyone searches for handbags on Google your product can be displayed. With the vast reach of google, you can easily target millions of people.
Here we are highlighting the steps on how to set your Google Merchant Center Account:
Create your Google account
Go to accounts.google.com/ and create a Google account.
Enter your business details
- Add your “business address”. That’s the address where your business is registered.
- Your time zone is populated automatically based on your “business address”. However, you can edit it later.
- The “business name” you choose can be your actual business name, website name, or store name.
- Users will see your “business name” that you choose.
Select your customer checkout method
Next, You need to choose how your customers will checkout:
- Customers can check out on your own website. Your customer sees your product on Google, clicks it, then they are redirected to your website.
- Or, your customer can check out directly on Google.
- Or, your customer can see your product on Google and visit your store in person to buy.
Select your email preference
You can choose to opt in to receive emails on best practices and tips and tricks from Google.
Create your Google Shopping Data Feed
If you are interested in selling your products through Google Shopping, setting up your Google Merchant Center account is the first step. After that, it is time to create your product feed. Your product feed tells Google about the products you want to sell and contains all the essential info; product name, images, price, description, etc.... This is essential as it will help Google display your product on Google Shopping when a shopper searches for a similar item.
Steps to set up your Google Shopping Product Feed
- Step 1: First go to your Google Merchant Center account. Click Products > Feeds, and then click the blue “+” icon.
- Step 2: Next enter your country and language. This data is important as it determines which demographics will see your products.
- Step 3: Next, name your product feed and choose how you will enter your product information.
Using the Google Sheets option, you can upload your own spreadsheet or use a template provided by Google Merchant Center. You can also create an upload schedule depending on how often you update your inventory.
Go to Step 5 if you want to choose a template provided by Google Merchant Center or Step 6 if you want to create your own template.
- Step 4: Enter the following required product attributes in the Google spreadsheet, from Step 4, as Google uses them to create your Google Shopping ads:
- id — Your product’s unique identifier. Use the SKU if possible. Example:A234
- title — Your product’s title. It should match the product landing page. Add any specifics that shoppers may search for, such as size, color, or style. Example: Crosters Leather bags, brown
- description — An accurate description of your product. It should match the product landing page.
- link — The URL of your product’s landing page. Should start with http or https. Example: https://www.crosters.com
- image_link — The URL of your product’s main image. Should start with http or https. Example: https://www.crosters.com/image1.jpg
- availability — Your product’s availability. Match the availability from the product landing page. Example: In stock
- price — Your product’s price. Match the price from the product landing page and the currency from the country in which the product is predominately sold. Example: $50.00
- google_product_category — The Google-defined product category for your product. Include the single most relevant category.
brand — Your product’s brand name. Provide the name generally recognized by customers. Example: Crosters
Check here for the full list of Google’s Product data specification here.
- Step 5: If you choose to use the template provided by Google Merchant Center, the spreadsheet will already reflect the product attributes as column headers.
- Step 6: If you choose to create your own spreadsheet, enter your chosen product attributes as the column headers. Fill out the respective data with each product as its own row. If an attribute doesn't apply to a product, leave that cell blank. When complete, simply upload the document to Google Merchant Center.
That’s all! You have successfully created your product feed.
To access your product feed on your Google Merchant Center account, go to Products > Feeds > Primary feeds.
How to Create a Google Shopping Campaign
Google Shopping campaigns help you promote and sell your products by giving shoppers detailed information about what you're selling before they even click your ad. Once you decide to sell your product through Google Shopping and you set up your Google Merchant Center account, then the next step will be to advertise your products.
How to create a Google Shopping campaign?
There are two ways to create a Google Shopping campaign.
Next, add your campaign name, country of sale, and daily budget. Once you click Create, you’ll be prompted to continue managing your campaign through Google Ads.
Option 2: The other way to create a Google Shopping campaign is through Google Ads. Log into your Google Ads account. Open the Campaigns tab on the left-hand side menu, click the blue “+” icon, and choose New campaign.
Then, choose a campaign goal. A Shopping campaign can have a goal of Sales, Leads, or Website traffic.
- Sales campaigns drive sales online or in person.
- Leads campaigns gather leads and other conversions by encouraging shoppers to complete an action.
- Website traffic campaigns bring the right people to your website.
Google tailors each campaign to align with your goal, so be sure to choose whichever one is best for your business.
Lastly, choose a campaign subtype.
This is followed by choosing your Google Shopping campaign settings. First, enter a campaign name, and click Additional settings if you want to set an inventory filter, enable local inventory ads, or change your campaign URL options.
Placing bids for your Shopping campaign
Next you have to select your bidding strategy and set your campaign budget. Bidding is how you pay for people to see, click on, and interact with your ads. Google has a Bid Simulator Tool that’ll show you how bid changes might affect your ad performance.
Target and schedule your Shopping campaign
It is important to target and schedule your campaign as it decides who will see your product ads and when. The first two settings in your Shopping Campaign settings— Networks and Devices — don’t change as they’re just telling you where your product ads will show up.
Next, select the geographic locations that your ad will target. Choose locations only where you will ship to.
Finally, set the start and end dates of your Shopping campaign. Your ad will continue to run unless you set an end date, so don’t forget that section.
Build ad groups
Last step of creating Google Shopping campaigns is to build ad groups for your campaign. Ad groups determine what type of ads you’ll run and how you’ll organize bidding for those ads. Ad groups are of two types: Product Shopping ads and Showcase Shopping ads. Product Shopping ads promote a single product. Showcase Shopping ads allow you to advertise multiple products as part of a product or lifestyle ad that represents your brand or business.
That’s all! Now your campaign is ready.
6 Ways to Optimize your Google Shopping Data feed
If you, as an ecommerce merchant, advertise your products on Google Shopping, then it is very important that you optimize your data feed as it will improve your return on investment on Google Shopping.
Here are 6 things you can do to optimize your your Google Shopping Data Feed
Add trusted merchant reviews
Reading positive reviews from trusted merchants websites’ increases the confidence of a new potential customer to buy from your ecommerce store.
Below are a few major US review sites trusted by Google:
- Google Checkout
Add Rich Snippets to your Google Shopping Feed
Rich snippets contain additional info alongside the title, description, and website url in a typical search results. They can contain info like reviews, ratings, and price. Rich snippets have a higher click-through rate because people prefer to click on the result that looks more enticing and provides more info up front. Below is an example of rich snippets:
These resources can help you get started:
Optimize Keywords in Product Titles
Use keywords that you already rank well for in Organic Search because chances are high that you will rank well for them in Google Shopping as well.
Optimize the Product_Type Column
There is a notable improvement in traffic for merchants who adhere to Google's unique product_type values . If you optimize your product_type column, this will enable Google to place your products in the appropriate category and funnel more qualified leads to your store.
Adding UPCs or universal product codes to your data feed can improve visibility on Google Shopping. If you don’t know or remember your UPC, the below steps can help you find out:
- Perform a somewhat generic search for one of your products on Google Shopping
- Click the Compare Prices button for the item that corresponds to the item you’re looking for
- Confirm that this is the product you want the UPC for
- Scroll down to the Details section where you’ll find the UPC, Brand and Part Number
Add UPCs to the GTIN column in your Google Shopping feed and you’re all set.
Troubleshoot Data Feed Errors
Be sure to keep logging in to your Google Merchant Center frequently to make sure that your data feed isn’t being rejected or resulting in errors.
This is a good place to continue your research. It’ll give you good info on how to create a new data feed: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/7439882?hl=en
Next, read this Onboarding Guide by Google:
This is a learning process and will take some time to figure out. If you’re on Shopify,
check out their app store. There are some really good apps that can sync your store with
Google and simplify the process.
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