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Automated Google Shopping Ads for E-Commerce

On this podcast, we discuss a new feature that is available to Ecwid merchants to completely automate their Google Shopping ad creation and management.

Ricardo Lasa is the CEO of Sitewit/Klicken the company that Ecwid partnered with to deliver this new functionality.

We discuss the overall advertising market for Google shopping, integration with Ecwid, e-commerce statistics, text-based Adwords advertising, and more.

Transcript

Jesse: Hey guys, Jesse Ness here, with the Ecwid E-Commerce Show where we help Ecwid e-commerce store owners from the first sale to their first million bucks. I’m here with my co-host Richard Otey.

Richard: Hey, how’s it going, Jesse?

Jesse: It’s a good day here! Today is actually different: we’ve got a couple guests, and before introducing them… This is a feature that we’re going to talk about today, and a partner that really shows what Ecwid is all about. So we’re going to talk about some really high-end difficult enterprise functionality, that we’ve basically put on the easy button on for our merchants. Pretty excited about that! So because we’re going to be talking about some enterprise functionality, I wanted to introduce my boss, and the VP of Marketing at Ecwid — David Novick.

David: Hey everybody! It is great to be here! Jesse, thank you for the welcome, much appreciate it! You know for me today, I think it’s really important to share a little bit of my background so we get an understanding of what I bring to the table and why I’m so into Ecwid and why I think you should be too, so.

My history is that I’ve been doing e-commerce since it was born about 1999  that’s pretty old but it is what it is, anyway. It’s been fun, it’s been a great ride! Most of my business career has been built around enterprise-level businesses, so building e-commerce for major brands, including Kawasaki Motors Corporation, Oakley, Ray-Ban, Cisco, Linksys, Travis Mathew Golf, Vizio — you name it. I’ve touched a lot of these high-end brands and helped them both develop their e-commerce and digital marketing related to driving sales on their e-commerce platforms.

So, joining Ecwid as the VP of Marketing has been a great opportunity for me because I’ve gone from sitting in your shoes where you’re trying to drive traffic into helping drive a platform to make sure that it works well for our customers and making sure it has the updated features and capabilities to help you guys grow. What’s really interesting to me is that I mentioned a lot of these big humongous brands… Right, we did have tremendous budgets, we had a lot of people, and we had a lot of capabilities, and that was amazing because we could do things that other smaller shops couldn’t, and the seat that I find myself in now is really interesting with Ecwid, because what we’re doing is bringing those capabilities that we had for enterprise-level e-commerce and kind of democratizing them. I hate to use that word, but that’s really what it is.

We’re bringing these capabilities down to small shops and giving big reach and big capabilities to small companies that don’t have the big budgets, don’t have the big stages, but allow them to have a significant presence around the world and grow their businesses. So, I’m super stoked to be a part of this and working with you guys, Rich and Jesse, has been just phenomenal.

Jesse: Awesome! So, David, we want to take some of your experience and have you chime in when we interview our next guest. Ricardo Lasa is the CEO of SiteWit who runs the the application Kliken. Ricardo, can you introduce yourself?

Ricardo: Sure! Thank you for having me. I am Ricardo Lasa, I’m the co-founder and CEO of SiteWit. We have a Google Shopping ads platform called Kliken. We have partnered with Ecwid to deliver it to the Ecwid base. So I’m super excited to be here, hopefully, I can answer any questions you may have about Google Shopping and how we’ve automated it. I like the conversation so far in the sense that we’ve done exactly the same thing: we’ve taken something very complex, something that most of the time requires deep knowledge and big resources, and fully automated it for Ecwid customers, allowing them to market like top-level brands on Google Shopping automatically. So, I’m happy to be here and thank you for having me.

Jesse: Awesome, awesome! So, I think let’s start off with introducing Google Shopping to our customer base. So, in your words, what is Google shopping if you are not aware of it?

Ricardo: Sure! So, Google as a platform has a couple variations on how you can actually advertise on it. So, the first platform that they provided was Google AdWords. And that was a platform that was used for both selling or advertising e-commerce products and services, right. So, regardless you were plumber or a lawyer, or you were selling products, you were probably visiting the Google AdWords platform.

Jesse: Ricardo, when you’re talking about the AdWords platform, as most people know it that’s where you type a search into Google and you see text ads — that’s what you’re talking about, right?

Ricardo: That’s right! Actually, when you just search into Google, the results that you see primarily are driven by the AdWords engine and they’re all text ads.

Jesse: Sure. And now I’m moving on to where we stand today, what is Google shopping?

Ricardo: Sure! So, then Google made a specialized advertising engine for e-commerce, specifically. So, it is driven by the e-commerce inventory of a store and the searches are driven by the attributes of a product and so forth. The final result is that when you actually search on Google on the picture tiles that you see for products with the product description, the images and prices so forth, are being driven by the Google Shopping engine. So, it’s a different engine than the normal AdWords text engine, and it’s the most effective way for an e-commerce store to advertise their products and services. So it was actually designed for e-commerce and it is optimized towards e-commerce. So, that’s the Google Shopping platform.

Richard: Oh, that’s awesome! Hey, Ricardo, this is Richard. Quick question, you mentioned one of my favorite words a few sentences back — automation — because Jesse and I have tried to do this in the past on our own, e-commerce stores… Although it’s very powerful and can actually increase sales and very helpful for increasing your sales it is a pain. So what is it exactly with Kliken that makes it so easy? How did you integrate with Ecwid? What is the process, like, what does a store owner have to go through?

Ricardo: Sure. Actually this is a thing I’m super excited about, because we’ve built such a wonderful integration between the both platforms. So, Ecwid, obviously shines at the store side of things, right: inventory management, you had all the product information, and so forth. And then if you were going to try to do this manually with Google Shopping, that’s pretty long set of steps that you need to go through.

So first, you have to get a Google Merchant Center account on your own. You have to get that verified and then claim which basically means that you need to put a snippet of tagging to the website. Once you go through all that process, you need to export your inventory into a Google feed. And then you need to basically select what parts of that feed you want to use on a campaign. Then, you need to add that to Google AdWords, so, basically you need to get a Google AdWords account, so you need to set all that up, and set up a campaign, and the Google AdWords feed and then launch the campaign. So, now we’re talking about seven to twelve independent steps on multiple platforms, so it’s a very complex task.

Jesse: For sure. Now I hope for people listening out there: I hope you did not take notes, because that’s what you used to have to do. It’s painful, there’s a lot of steps there, a lot of things that can go wrong, a lot of frustration. Ricardo, how did you guys tackle that issue?

Ricardo: Sure. We’ve will built a platform for Google Shopping from the ground up with Ecwid, right. Actually, we’ve worked with Ecwid and Google itself.

What we do is basically we automate all the processes. For example, the creation of a merchant center account is automatic, we do that directly and programmatically through the API, the verification of the stores also gets done programmatically on the Ecwid Instant Sites. And then the actual generation of the feeds to go into the campaign — it’s also automatic.

So, you just select what categories you want to advertise on, and we generate the feeds for the campaigns automatically. Actually, it’s beyond just generating the feeds. We worked with Ecwid and Google to form specialized product description and product titles that are actually feed-friendly and search-friendly.

The final result is that your feeds are much better than you would do them by hand. They’re fully automated, there is no Google Merchant account acquisition. There’s no AdWords account acquisition either. I mean we actually do that automatically. Basically, you just choose what categories you want to advertise to, how much money you want to spend, and we launch the campaigns. The process goes from a set of multi steps, you know, 15-20 major steps and probably hours (if not days) of work to just minutes of work.

David: Wow! Ricardo, you make the sound so simple. Actually I’ve been through the process and looked at what you guys have been doing. I’m super impressed with it and we’re really happy to integrate you into Ecwid. I think it’s going to be a great partnership, absolutely.

One of the things I’d love to cover just a little bit is “the why”. Having sat in Ecwid merchants’ seats for many years, the interesting thing about Google Shopping and why we should all be paying attention to this, listening to the knowledge of Ricardo and Richard and Jesse? Is it that the world is changing and search is changing. What’s happening now is people used to like the text and they actually read. Nobody really reads anymore. This is a visual world and that’s the element that Google shopping brings to the Google search engine results page, is that it’s the imagery that’s associated with it.

So, suppose you want to go look at a t-shirt, right? In Ecwid, we have a lot of apparel vendors. You say “T-shirt,T-shirt,T-shirt”, well, you can say “Oh, it’s got a tribal design on it” or something like that. That’s nothing, you really need to show the product. The Google Shopping feed is the way to get this done through Kliken. This capability set that we’re adding for Ecwid merchants is going to be amazing!

Richard: It almost seems like some things that traditionally might appear to be hard to sell online could actually be easier, like rugs. Jesse and I used to talk about rugs, like, what a strange one to sell but how do you comparison-shop a rug, right? If you see that image and it fits that square footage of the area you want to do it and that’s the picture it looks like. How are you going to type that in and comparison-shop — weird, zebra, pattern, funky? You know, you can’t even do it, so that imagery becomes extra important.

Jesse: Yeah, and so for Ecwid merchants: think of all the times you Google something and you just look at the pictures at the top. This is what we’re talking about. If your products are visually appealing, if you need to see an image in order to sell it, Google Shopping is really where you need to be.

David: It’s not just our thoughts too, right? it’s not just that we all love visual. Google itself has change the search engine results page over time, and it used to be all text. And then they just started going: “Hey, you know what, people shop visually. Let’s put the images at the top.” So, you really don’t have a full game if you’re doing just paid search. You really need the visual shopping component.

Jesse: Yeah! Ricardo, maybe you know because you’re in Google Shopping all the time. I heard a stat recently that 50% of all e-commerce searches on Google are now Google Shopping, it means they the show the visuals. Do you know an updated number on that?

Ricardo: Yeah. I think it’s about the same number that I’ve heard. But it’s growing. So I wouldn’t be too surprised over time. It would actually keep on increasing as a percentage.

I actually wanted to add to the discussion another, I think, really important factor to understand about Google Shopping. It’s really designed for e-commerce stores. It offers a natural barrier to entry in the search process, because you have to have the store, the inventory, the feeds, they have to be properly formed to be able to even participate in the searches. So, its effectiveness is much higher, because you are always showing on very effective searches with way less noise, way less competition that you would have, for example, on search ads, where you could just match a keyword whether it’s relevant or not. So, one of the great things about Google Shopping is that it is designed for e-commerce completely and if you’re actually advertising on that platform, you’re going to get much better results.

Jesse: Yeah! Ricardo, how does it work? Let’s stick with the t-shirt. So, people search, whether they’re searching on their phone or on their computer, they’re typing in “t-shirts, blue, tribal pattern” — how does Google match up with the results in an Ecwid store owner’s product catalog? Is it the titles, is it the description of the product — where should merchants start?

Ricardo: Sure. So, the matching process is primarily on the description side. So, let’s say you have an SEO-friendly type of description — pay attention to make sure that you have proper SEO keywords — plus, the brand is important too and what type of product it is. So the matching is normally on the description side of the feed, but then the visuals… What you see in the Google engine itself is the product title. So, that is why it’s so important to have necessity of friendly product title and that’s a great thing that we’ve worked together with Ecwid and Google to do that, which is all automatic and the product titles are really relevant, and a visually appealing from the start. So, once you get those visuals with the product images, the titles also are really, really nice and really intuitive.

Jesse: Perfect! So, for merchant, that’s good to know, because that means you need to really think about what is the product title. You name your product appropriately, so that when it shows up in Google it makes sense to people. I think, the the tip there would be: “Don’t get too cute”, you know. Just say what it is. And then the description — you do have a lot of room there, you have several hundred words where you can describe it. That’s what’s Google using the match that can make it way more specific.

Ricardo: Sure. And that description side of it. Exactly, because you have so much space, right? Just remember, Google is matching you based on a variety of factors, right, from the keyword product name itself but also the brand, the type of product, many other things. So, if you’re descriptive on the product itself, on the product description, you have a much better chance of getting matched to relevant searches. So, I will definitely emphasize, you know, having very good product descriptions.

Richard: I would imagine too that in that description is where your help in Google’s algorithm actually make it be, when you’re talking about relevant to someone who’s actually looking to buy something, not just, wanting to look how to make a t-shirt or have that there’s actually some sort of intent to buy. In that description probably where you could help sway that algorithm choice, even though we don’t know exactly what those algorithms are.

Ricardo: Sure. Yeah, and I would say that the Google Shopping engine is itself, because they know how to search, how all the people are actually searching in the context of the search. They’re very effective and making sure that the answer shown for a purchase intent.

Jesse: For sure. That’s the best time to get in front of internet searchers — when they’re ready to purchase. So, put your picture right in front of them, have a price. So, Ricardo, I know it always depends on the term and there’s a lot of things that go into the history or the price of a click. Do you have an average price per click for Google Shopping?

Ricardo: That’s difficult to come to an average because it is really so broad by product and category, and also by geolocation.

Obviously, the more competition there is for the auctions, the higher the price. And that, you know, can be affected by the product, how many searches there are for a product, the search volume for the product, but also the geolocation.

We have seen throughout is that the cost per click is kinda like in the same context as the normal AdWords cost per click. Certain categories are much cheaper, certain categories can be more expensive. But the one thing that we have seen across the board is that the conversion ratio (the ROI) is the highest on Shopping. And I think that is related to what we’re saying. So, the intent is there, the fact that you have actually seen the product when you click through to it, you have selected the product you want, right. You’re not going to click on the product that you don’t like from the returned results. You’re almost halfway there when you do that. So, it’s so much higher conversion ratio and return investment on Google Shopping then almost any other media for e-commerce.

David: That’s fantastic, Ricardo. One of the things that always concerns me about venturing into a new avenue for driving traffic growth — and it probably does for our merchants as well — is that you may not have a real understanding of how something works. You may not know how to bid on something. You may not know what the ROI is going to be, and our merchants are often small businesses, that’s who we really support. They don’t always have the time required to really understand how to do testing and really understand bidding strategy. That’s what I love about you guys and what you’re offering here, is a really solid AI-driven marketing automation system that keeps people from getting hurt. So, if you want to jump off and you want to try this, you don’t really have to watch it that carefully. You can set it up in minutes, and you can watch it in minutes a week. And you know that the system has got your back. It’s going to bid carefully for you. It’s not bulletproof, so don’t think you can turn your back entirely, but it will help you get steer down the right road quickly. That’s what small business guys are asking for, and hopefully it’s all help them, so thank you.

Ricardo: Sure. I mean another huge factor on that is the full automation. We don’t have to have human management behind it, it allows us to start with pretty small budgets. So, on top of the fact that the plane basically flies on autopilot and it’s not going to crash, it’s actually going to do the really good job at planning the marketing. You can also start with a smaller budget, so it’s not a huge investment, you can take a look and see how it’s performing for your store with a small budget in the low hundreds or even $70  $75 to get started. So, that makes it a much easier way to get started and try it out. And more importantly to that, is the fact that were closing the conversion loop. Obviously, we’re tying the conversions happening in the Ecwid store to the marketing, so we know exactly how it’s performing. It’s incredibly transparent. And, you know exactly how many dollars you’re putting into the tool, and then into marketing and Google, and then, how many dollars is producing in revenue for you. So, it is completely transparent in the whole process.

Jesse: Wow, that’s perfect. Ricardo, that’s means your AI is actually controlling the bidding. And that means that it’s not the price per click is determined by how much you bid, and those changes happen automatically on your platform?

Ricardo: Yes. There’s no human intervention on the bidding side. So, it’s a portfolio optimization and what we do is we maximize the return on investment for the budget of the campaign.

Richard: That is really super cool, Ricardo! I was wondering, kind of back to Dave’s point, small businesses just getting started, not knowing exactly where to get started, so this sounds like a great potential new traffic source, new revenue source for them. Is there an average order value or an average margin, that someone should be working with, before they start working with you?

Ricardo: Yes and no. Generally speaking, they show up on their store, the order values, it is difficult to make marketing work, when just selling products in the, let’s say, below couple dollars range without volume, obviously, right. Because on a per order basis, your conversions and your revenue are probably not going to be more than your cost proposition. We have seen throughout, on average order values, right, in the twenties or higher, you know. Generally, we can see passive return Investments quite easily. Obviously the higher the value amount of the order, the better returning investments is going to be. I would say, average of the values — over $20 per order work well.

Richard: Got it.So, in a hypothetical scenario, someone has a $60 product with the $25 margin, they’re perfect for this?

Ricardo: Sure!

David: If I can add to that just for a second, this is Dave. So, I used to run thechive.com, which is a pretty big t-shirt manufacturer and, we did fantastically well with Google Shopping for t-shirts. And that price point was right around $28 so, yeah, they can definitely be for the lower-end products as well.

Jesse: Yeah, I mean, that’s actually very encouraging, because I would have thought prior to this podcast that maybe need to be at a hundred bucks or so in order to afford the marketing to have the margin for that. So, that’s awesome, that this could be for people, you know, even at a fairly low average basket size.

So, Ricardo, you’ve mentioned earlier that you guys do the optimization and the AI has that. So, that means you actually are able to track all the way to sale as well, you know. How does that work? Is that with the integration with Ecwid?

Ricardo: Yes, so, what we do is we integrate into the order, you know, the part of Ecwid where the order actually happens. Once the order completes, we trigger that, so we know exactly what keywords work in this case or what product drew the sale, what’s the actual sale value, so it gets associated to the actual dollar amount or the sale amount. And then we can compute your return on investment for advertising, spend, and everything else. So, it’s all fully integrated, and we also trigger Google AdWords sale at that point. So it’s both on our platform, on Ecwid, Google AdWords, so you can see all your conversions.

Jesse: Oh perfect! So that even helps if you’re selling, let’s say, t-shirts and something very expensive over time, your AI will notice. These keywords tend to lead to larger sales in a higher value products, so we can pay a little bit more, but if you’re selling, maybe, lower-cost items, eventually the AI will turn off those ads, is that right?

Ricardo: Kinda. So, what it does is it maximizes the return investment. So, it’s not necessarily that it would turn them off, but it would get the maximum of amount of clicks for the higher converting, higher revenue items automatically. And smallest budgets are constrained. It’s not like you’re running like a million dollars amount budgets, like when you have $150, let’s say, to spend. So, what would happen organically, is that the process, because it’s is getting the higher value, higher revenue converting products, it starts getting those that are not converting as well would not see the traffic, if they will not get any clicks. So it’s not that mean technically we don’t turn them off if they don’t see that traffic.

Jesse: Sure. So it’s effectively squeezed but not necessary turned off. Now, you know, AI take little time. It’s based on statistical significance, and you need traffic. How long does it take for your algorithms, your AI to kick in and start improving things?

Ricardo: Sure. So we start from the get-go, because, we know an AI also that’s a lot of bidding estimation. So that’s simulations, right. So, when we get started, we actually for the geolocations figure out what will be a good bid for the products. And then, you said, to leave them from the get-go generate what would best price of all basket even without conversions.

Then we get conversions in the engine, that improves significantly to maximize conversion so, obviously, it’s always learning. So, the more it runs, the better it runs. With that said, in the first month, we get it to to a fairly stable, pretty good optimization going with five conversions. We get much clearer picture of what, you know, prices are working and what conversions are working and so forth.

And then, you know, after five conversions it keeps improving, improving and improving. So the long term is a pretty much immediate from the get-go. In about a month you get a good gauge. I would say, in like 2 to 3 months it’s fairly stable at that point. But then obviously the more data the engine gets, the better it performs. The higher the budget, the faster it learns, and the more products play in the optimization. So, I think, a gauge of about a month it is running effectively, it runs effectively from a get-go, because it’s constrained that we do bidding daily multiple times. But after a month, it’s very fairly on target and then it’s just keeps improving over time.

Jesse: Sure. So, breaking that down for a newbie merchant. So they have a store, they’ve made a few sales, maybe they are doing some things on Facebook and email, but they’ve never launched an advertising campaign. So, we’re talking about maybe an hour or so to get this launched and, maybe you know, a couple hundred bucks to really get some good feedback and figure out what’s their cost per sale, is that fair?

Ricardo: So far the numbers that we have is like 20 minutes. It’s relies directly on the inventory of the store. So, if you have all the data for items, the prices and everything else is pretty seamless, it takes like 5 minutes or less. But we’re saying about an average of 20 minutes to complete the campaign, so it’s pretty easy. And yes, i think a package for $75. So you can set up $75 per month and then grow the way to hundreds and then thousands. So, we have pretty good steps, you know, 75, 150 a month and then 300  packages grow. You can start with $150 package, it’s a very good offer that we have worked together with Ecwid and Google to provide. It’s a buy a month — get a month free. So, it’s actually a great offer, to buy a $150 worth of a campaign and get the second $150 month free. So, it’s two months for a price of one, a good offer, that’s 75$ per month.

Jesse: Got it. So, you know, do you think somebody spending, let’s say, somebody has an average, their products average, let’s say, $50. Do you think spending the $150, maybe over the two months, that would be enough to get a proper gauge? Is this going to work on Google Shopping, or do I need improvements? is there any life to this? Is that enough time?

Ricardo: Sure! I would say, like, I think eight weeks is definitely enough time to get you a good idea of what your conversion ratio is and then what’s your average orders are. And then you can adjust accordingly. I mean, if your converting higher than you thought, but your order volume is a little bit smaller, then, maybe you want to bundle products to increase your pre-order value or to try to get you get upsales and things of that nature. But I think two months probably enough time to give you a good idea.

David: You know, what are the interesting things about this program is goes back to broader digital marketing experiences. When you think about it, the ways to drive traffic efficiently what happens is, you find a tactic you like and then everybody starts betting on it and then you find at the efficiency starts to go away, and you got to find a new tactic.

What I like about Google Shopping right now is that there’s not a lot of, what I call “longer tail users”. There aren’t a lot of small merchants who really figured out how to use the system, because it’s always been too complex in the past. So what you’ve got are the majority of major players out there, like larger brands that can take advantage of it. But right now with this tool we’re bringing this to smaller merchants. It’s an opportunity to be at the early onset of the larger swell of traffic, that will happen through visual shopping. So, my thought to merchants out there is to really take advantage of this now. It does come down to take an advantage of things while they’re efficient as possible as they may not always be forever. So, give it a shot!

Richard: Yeah. Just like in the beginning of the days of the web. If you were just there first, sometimes you would win, right. Or you had a better looking store. So, yeah, you now have the opportunity to look and effectively function, like an enterprise site with a combination of Kliken and Ecwid now, it’s awesome. I was going to ask you, Ricardo, is this a hundred percent hands-free for them or someone’s a little bit hesitant, is there kind of any sort of conditional parameters they can put on there?

Ricardo: So, it is pretty much hands-free in regards to the bidding and things of that nature. You don’t have to worry too much about your performance, in the sense that. It is budget constrained, right. So, basically, you’re spending $75 or $150, right. And then, from that point, forward the engine is just getting the maximum output out of it. So, your risk is hugely diminished. Because it’s not like, you’re going to burn $100 in a day, or things of that nature.

Richard: Got it. So, as soon as they’ve said “this is the package I’m taking”, that’s the amount of spend and I don’t have to worry about all of a sudden getting some bill for a thousand extra dollars or anything like that. You’re just agree to $250 or you agree to $300, whatever the price that they choose on. That’s the extent of what that bill is going to be in they can kind of forget about it and get back to work.

Ricardo: That’s right. So, there’s no real risk. I mean, outside of obviously launching the campaign, make sure that something that you know converts itselves. So, you know exactly how much money you’re spending and it’s completely transparent. You also see exactly how it’s being deployed: how many clicks are getting, what’s the price and so forth.

Jesse: Yeah, that’s perfect. There are some stories out there: if you start an AdWords campaign or a Facebook advertising campaign, and you put your credit card in there, and walk away, you know, sometimes you could spend $1,000 really fast!

Ricardo: Yeah, it just takes care of that. We put together the daily spend, based on the budget, and that’s the maximum that you can spend.

Jesse: Perfect. For the merchants, they’re not changing bids, but what kind of visibility they get to what’s going on with the campaign?

Ricardo: Yes, they get to see exactly what’s happening. They get to see the clicks, where they are happening, impressions also, like they get to see what products in what categories are seeing impressions and clicks. They get to see any revenue coming in, so they can put two and two together. So, these categories generating so much revenue with so much costs, so it’s completely transparent. And then they can change for the campaign’s performance over time, change what categories of products going to the campaign or not. So, for example, they’re running 5 categories of products: they’re running t-shirts and hoodies, and hoodies are performing way better than t-shirts, and if they don’t want to advertise t-shirts, they can just stop that and drive all the traffic to hoodies.

Jesse: Got it. Now what about “out of stocks”? So, you got one t-shirt that’s really popular and you you sell out of that particular SKU. How does how does Kliken handle that?

Ricardo: So, the feed itself has the inventory items, right. That’s a part of the process, for the campaign and to sync the feed. The campaign is synced to the Ecwid store, and we have a service that does that. It takes care of that automatically. So, as you run out of the inventory, our services pick that up and let the feeds change, that stops the campaign for that product. Same thing for new products. If you add a new product or a category, then automatically our service will pick it up and start advertising the product or category. There’s direct synchronization between the inventory and the Google feed used for the campaigns.

Jesse: Oh, that’s awesome! So, if you’re merchant that adds new products fairly often, that’s awesome. Once somebody’s feed ends up-to-date and yours will always be up-to-date and you’ll never be paying for advertising on products that out of stock either.

David: Does that include price changes?

Ricardo: Yeah, it’s the whole thing. So basically we sync anything, that you are in any categories, any products, you can advertising, it syncs it all. Syncs inventory, new products, prices changes, everything.

Jesse: And I assume the images are part of that as well?

Ricardo: Sure. Basically anything that’s on that product in the store.

Jesse: Okay. Now, for images. There’s kind of two ways of thinking about it, you know, with Google they have a white background. So, you know, we have the Amazon standard is there must be a white background for a product. Does Google Shopping have standards on best best practices for product photos?

Ricardo: So, actually, I’m that pretty sure that it’s the same thing, like Amazon. The quality of the pictures is incredibly important, especially on the visual search. As far as I got from the conversation that we had with them, they had not really gave us specific directions, whether it can be dark background, white backgrounds, things of that nature. But the quality of the pictures is definitely important. I definitely recommend the store owners to get the best pictures they can for their stores.

Jesse: Yeah. This is a good time to get a reminder for everybody. E-commerce means you’re not looking at the product in person. So pictures are very important, and with Google Shopping it’s really just a picture and a price. So, you have to have your best foot forward here, like, that lighting is important, focus, and then if you can do the white background as well — that’s helpful, because most of the page it is white background. You don’t need it, but it is kind of a bonus to have that.

Ricardo: Sure. But you don’t have to have it. The nuance of seeing that picture, I just saw the searchers having discussion about this. It’s funny, how your brain looks at it: when pictures come on the white background, the product pops up, right, as a single product. But when pictures have a background or some sort, like a room or things of that nature, it’s difficult to distinguish the actual product from the rest of that picture. So I definitely recommend white background.

Jesse: Yeah. And for merchants that are listening and saying: “How do I get the white background”? There’s a lot of ways you can take your picture that way, that’s the easiest way. If you’re a Photoshop person you can remove backgrounds, but there’s services that I’ve used in the past. You send them a photo that has at least a standard background, and for a dollar per photo they’ll remove the back and make it white. So, you know, for buck per photo it’s kind of a worthwhile investment on that.

So, Ricardo. I mean, you’ve seen a ton of clients, people have more success or others. What category of merchants are having the best success with Google Shopping right now?

Ricardo: I would say that, I mean, across the board, I don’t think, it’s not so much a specific category or categories. I mean, if you have a good store and you’re selling products that make sense for the category of your store, you’re going to see success.

And we have seen that across the board from people, selling from cakes and baking utensils and things of that nature to fishing rods, to pretty much anything. So, I would say obviously, sorting categories that probably have more competition than others.

But the great thing about Google is that the sophistication of the searches is there, right. I mean, if you are a hobbyist and you’re into something, regardless whether it’s fishing, baking, skiing, and you’re searching on Google for things around that hobby of yours. The ability of Google to match things very effectively, that’s unbelievable. So, if you’re selling any type of products that make sense for those hobbies, like baking, skiing, and things of that nature, the campaigns will be very effective, because Google is very effective at matching people based on where they are and their interests in the purchase process.

David: Interesting. Ricardo, let me ask you a question. We have other products with you obviously, we worked with you on the AdWords tools as well. When you talk about Google Shopping, do you find that the Kliken tool is best standalone, or do you need to layer on other products with it? Do you need to be on AdWords? I’d love your thoughts on that.

Ricardo: That’s actually a great question. The more sophisticated the store is, the more compound benefits you get from doing almost all the major types of Google-based advertising. So, from running AdWords campaigns at the top of the funnel and I’ll explain in a second why that makes sense, to Google Shopping and then retargeting. Actually Google Shopping and retargeting duo make sense together. Because you’re driving traffic to your website both through Google Shopping and, maybe, email, or whatever other marketing efforts you’re going. And then you want to maximize the return investment from people by retargeting them on the web everywhere. So our platform, we provide both Google search and SEM retargeting.

Jesse: Now, and I don’t mean to cut you off, I just want to get some clarity. It doesn’t really mean you have to do it that way, you don’t need to do everything all at once, you can kind of step into pieces at a time?

Ricardo: Sure. No, no, absolutely! Stepping into pieces makes ton of sense. Again, if you don’t have a lot of traffic on your website, my recommendation will be to start with Google Shopping, because that’s probably the most effective way to drive traffic and sales to the website.

If you already have a pretty good amount of traffic, so you’re running Google Shopping, then adding retargeting, it will make ton of sense, because you a going to maximize the return investment, because now people are seeing your ads after they leave website, they get reminded it and they’re purchasing more. And then Google AdWords itself — the actual text ads engine. It’s fantastic for top of the funnel searches. So, I mean, going back to skiing. So let’s say that you’ve done some homework and you want a specific type of gloves. When you search on that level, Google Shopping is very effective because you already know what type of gloves you want, so you are actually almost ready to buy it.

But, let’s say, that you don’t know what you want. You’re at the much higher level in the funnel. You’re doing research and you don’t really know what you want. And you search, like “warm ski gloves that go over my jacket”. You are really discovering a glove, but in your head you still don’t know what that keyword specifically is, right. Because you haven’t received that information yet. So, a text add at that level will guide you directly into the store and it can actually be very effective at catching searchers of that nature. I think all of them together complement each other very, very well, to drive traffic at the research level, the purchase level, and then with retargeting to reinforce purchase.

Jesse: Great! Ricardo, so, we talked about the Google Shopping integration, but you also have an AdWords integration with Ecwid as well. Is that going to be through the same location or is going to be a separate app in the Ecwid platform?

Ricardo: So, right now it’s going to be probably the same app. It’s the same platform, so you are going to be able to run Google Shopping, retargeting, and SEM ads from the same app.

Jesse: So the Google Shopping pulls mostly image, price and the product description on AdWords side. What does it use as the base information?

Ricardo: Sure. So it’s actually quite straightforward. What we do is, we crawl the website, so we have a good idea of what the store is about. And the process is a little bit different, because with text ads, you have keywords, you have to select these keywords for the campaign, so it’s a visual process that allows you to select your keywords, that you want to use in your campaign. And then we also guide through the building of the ads, so we provide ad text and suggestions. So, there is no need to go to AdWords, because we generate the AdWords account, we make and bid campaigns, and then the tracking works in the exact same way: we are tracking conversions use that for optimization. Almost very similar process, just a little bit different. On Google Shopping, you select the categories that you want to advertise, on Google AdWords, and you select keywords that you want to advertise.

Richard: It’s very cool. It’s awesome you can do that both of those in the same app too. One quick question I had, regarding that. Since you have so many things tied together and so integrated with Google and it’s hands-free. Now the people, the merchants don’t have to actually go in and look at a bunch of stuff. They’re also not necessarily getting those inside. So, what type of insights do you provide to the merchants? Where the traffic source? Obviously it’s going to be Google but, like, certain landing pages or just understanding your visitors more in general. What kind of statistics or metrics do you provide?

Ricardo: Sure. So, we have on the campaign side of things, we provide all the most important campaign statistics, right. Where the traffic is coming from, what are the keywords that are driving the traffic and what ads are driving the traffic. What conversions they are having on Google Shopping, we do the same by products and categories. So what categories are driving the traffic and what products are driving the traffic. And then also we have a deep integration with you guys, with Ecwid on the store stats. So we have a store stats platform that uses our own analytics to show the store’s website traffic sources. So, it tells you what are the main sources of traffic for the store, what’s the average time to purchase, what’s the conversion ratio by type, direct traffic, organic traffic, paid traffic. And what products are performing the best, or what categories are performing the best, as far as sales and so forth. So we have a ton of analytics on the app, both on the store stats level and the campaign level.

Jesse: Oh, that’s awesome! I also caught something there about the remarketing. It’s using the same sort of technology, you essentially have the conversion pixels and now all the tracking available. So, if a new merchant wanted to set up remarketing with you guys, how do I go about this? Remarketing is all about display — do they need to upload images and things for the campaign? How does that work?

Ricardo: So, it’s actually fully automated. So we integrate into the Ecwid platform, so the images for the adds come directly from the inventory, so they don’t have to upload anything.

They just have to select the geolocation for the ads, where they want the adds to run. And then just edit ads a little bit, just to change the defaults. We give them the defaults, but if they want to change, the name of the store, for example, and things of that nature… And then they get a template of the ad, they can pick it, and they launch the campaigns. So, it’s a very automated process, super easy, and it uses the images from the Ecwid store already, so they don’t have to upload anything.

Jesse: Oh, perfect. So, the images it takes, those are the product images or similar to Google Shopping, takes those images?

Ricardo: Yeah.

Jesse: Awesome. So, there is a little template. Now, does that mean that, you know, people are seeing the products that they were looking at or do they see a general mix of all the products from the store?

Ricardo: So, it’s a general mix of the products from the store, at this point. Probably the next iteration down the Google Shopping product, is to also do retargeting and that would be the products that they put on the shopping cart also. So that’s coming soon.

Jesse: Stay tune for that, awesome. Regarding the retargeting… What sort of budget… Oh, I probably know the answer — it depends on how much traffic you get to your site and how much is spent for retargeting, but what’s a good way to start with retargeting for small merchants?

Ricardo: Sure. And the beautiful thing about the retargeting, is that the deployment of remarketing is so much cheaper than searching itself. Because the inventory in the displaying AdWords is very supply based. So you can actually deploy an effective budget, setting a $50 per month and, if you have a ton of traffic you could go all the way to hundred or thousands of dollars, depending on the traffic. Our entry level package is $50 per month, it’s really effective for entry level stores, that, are driving traffic to the website. And then, you know, we have the bumps of $100  $300 and so forth. But you can get a very significant amount of retargeting for $150 or $300.

Jesse: Got it, that’s perfect! And you don’t have to deal with the creative, so, those are done automatically. So, this is awesome for a small merchant. You got to get your products ready, you do have to take a photo of a product at some point, get your prices in there. But, you could maybe take a Friday afternoon, sit down with your product list and launch Google Shopping in 20 minutes. You can launch remarketing. How long you think that would take, another 20 minutes and or so?

Ricardo: Yeah, that’s pretty easy.

Jesse: And then you could also launch a more top of a funnel campaign with Google Adwords. This is like, you could do this in the afternoon, if you are a merchant that is looking to kickstart your business.

Ricardo: Sure. Yeah, it’s actually a pretty simple.

Jesse: Awesome. Dave, I’m glad to brought you to the podcast today to get a taste of what we talked about here. What do you think about this Google Shopping integration?

David: Well, I appreciate the time. It’s actually very interesting to hear, and it gives us an opportunity to talk a little bit more, always so busy working and I’m sure everybody out there is too.

What I love about, this is really the future direction of where Ecwid is going for merchants. Bringing the tool sets that are going to help to grow. Where we’ve been in the past is really building an e-commerce store and making sure that it’s very reasonable, very efficient, very user-friendly, very quick to set up, super proud of all that. And really we’re going to fill out the the game a little bit by having these fantastic tool sets, that allow you to grow your business. Will be bringing those the table. I love this podcast. It’s a great way for us to really teach people a bit more about how to do it, share the experiences, that we’ve kind of gathered over the years. Hopefully fairly valuable to people. We’re out here pushing pretty hard and I thank you guys for taking the time. But when we think about it, when you think about e-commerce, you know, it was just like: “Okay, you know, you’d have a brand, and you have your (.com) and that’ll be it”. And now it’s really moving beyond that. It’s super important for us to bring the tool sets in the ability for you guys to reach customers and wherever they want to be. So, anyway, thank you, Ricardo, and everybody for allowing me to speak a little bit today.

Jesse: Absolutely. So, Ricardo, thanks for sharing your expertise for the show, for all merchants are listening. By the time you listen to this, this is going to be live inside the Ecwid Control panel. So, please check it out, it’s an automated Google Shopping. Really excited to have you on the Ecwid E-Commerce Show. This is Jesse Ness, here with David Novick, Richard Otey and Ricardo Lasa. Thanks everybody!

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