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Making the Most of Google Shopping Ads

13 min read

Do you want to get your products in front of more customers? The easiest way to do so is to list your products on Google Shopping. In April 2020, Google opened up its Shopping scrolling carousel to organic product listings, which means that this tool can be beneficial regardless of your budget.

Meanwhile, Google Shopping is proving to be very popular for consumers. Google shopping ads have an average of 30% higher conversion rates than text-only ads. Savvy business people and marketers know that the return on ad spend for Google Shopping is higher than other types of Google ads. This trend will only continue, as around 65% of all Google ads clicks are product listings.

In general, Google Shopping Ads are just one of three ways to get your products in front of consumers on Google. Google text-only ads are not nearly as popular for retailers than they are for other types of businesses. And now you can also get your products listed in Google Shopping for free, through organic optimization.

If you are new to Google Shopping, this comprehensive guide will let you get started advertising your Ecwid online store more effectively. We’ll show you how to use Google Shopping Ads and free Shopping product listings to grow your retail business.

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What is Google Shopping?

Have you noticed that when you search for a particular item in Google, a scrolling banner of products with prices and retailers appears at the top of the search results? You can also browse products from all over the web by searching in the Products tab. Although the spots in featured carousels are still reserved for paid ads, the general product listings are open to everyone with a Merchant Center Account.

Before we really dig into this topic, here are a few key (and similar) terms and their definitions:

  • Google Shopping — This refers to the product listings that can be pulled through a Google search.
  • Google Shopping Ads vs Google Ads — Even though you create Google Shopping ads within your Google Ads (previously Google Adwords) platform, the two have different requirements, bid strategies, and optimization fundamentals. If you need help with Google Ads instead, click here.
  • Google Merchant Center — Your Google Merchant Center Account is separate from your Google Ads account but is necessary if you are selling digital or tangible products. Your Ecwid online store links to this account to automate your inventory.
  • Ad campaign — Each Google Ad or Google Shopping Ad is its own campaign.
  • Keywords vs Negative Keywords — Keywords should not exceed 3% of your content, but you can use synonyms to strengthen the description. Negative keywords are irrelevant or ineffective keywords that should not be included in searches by your target market.
  • Product feed — The list of products you want to sell through your Merchant Center account.
  • Ad groups vs Product groups — You can create Ad groups within your Google Ads account, but if you want to list products without running a Google Shopping ad campaign you can organize your inventory by product groups as well.
  • Display network — This is a comprehensive term for the different types of ads and how they are displayed across Google’s services.

Getting Started

Gearing up to sell your products through Google shopping does take quite a bit of planning and effort. Before you can make use of Google Shopping opportunities, you need to create your online store through which clicks on Shopping carousels or product listings will redirect. Ecwid makes this easy, while also walking you through getting your Google Ads and Merchant Center accounts set up.

Want to tackle this job on your own? Step by step instructions for using Google Shopping are below and include:

  • How to set up your Google Merchant Center Account
  • How to set up your Google Ads account
  • How to link your Merchant Center, Adwords, and Ecwid accounts
  • How to upload and optimize your product data

How to set up your Google Merchant Center account

Google makes setting up your Merchant account as easy as possible. Their intuitive wizard gives you actionable steps based on details you provide about your products and business in general. All you really need to do is follow the prompts, but you’ll need some information readily available.

You will need:

  • Business information such as point of contact, phone numbers, email addresses, and physical address.
  • Decide on how your customers will checkout (such as through your Ecwid online store).
  • A list of 3rd party tools or platforms that you use to manage your inventory and promote your online store.

You can get more information about how to set up your Google Merchant Center here.

How to set up Google Ads account

If you plan to set up Google Shopping ad campaigns, you will also need a Google Ads Account. Google Adwords, as it was previously known, is where you run your Shopping campaigns. Your Google Merchant account will link to Google Ads, and when also linked to your Ecwid online store your inventory management becomes almost completely automated.

Even if you don’t expect to create actual Google Shopping Ads, creating and linking an Ads account will give you more options and features for managing your product listings and traffic. It also ensures you’re ready to go when you finally decide it is time to run your first paid Shopping ad. Before you get started you will need an email address and website for your business.

From there you can choose the default Smart Mode or the Expert mode (for experienced digital marketers). Smart mode will walk you through setting up your Ads account in the same way as the wizard used to set up the Merchant Account. You can get more information and help from Google Ads here.

Important Note! The wizard will help you link your Google Ads and Merchant Center, but you will need to take additional steps to link your Ecwid store to both of these accounts. (Click here to learn more about using Ecwid with Google Shopping.)

How to add product listings to your Merchant Center

You have a few different options for listing products on Google Shopping. You can create your product feed manually one product at a time, upload products in a spreadsheet to add many at once, or automate your inventory by linking to your Ecwid online store.

If you choose to create a product feed on your own, you will need to make sure that your project data is complete and accurate. To make this as easy as possible, Google offers this product data guide and template.

How to set up Google Shopping ads and optimize your product listings

Setting up Google Shopping ads is a bit different from other types of ad campaigns that you run in your Google Ads account. You can get detailed information and instructions for creating Shopping Ads from Google. Again, the Ads platform is very user-friendly and intuitive, so anyone can get started right away.

While you can get listed in Google Shopping without a stand-alone website or online store, it is highly advisable to have a site or online catalog consisting of a high-quality product image and a short but detailed product description. You should also develop a strategic product title that accurately describes the item, and meets any requirements from Google based on specific products/categories.

As you formulate your product title and description, work in key attributes that are both highly desired by your target market and accurately describe your product. The most effective attributes to target include:

  • Brand
  • Size
  • Color
  • Pattern
  • Materials used
  • Key product features

Including these attributes both help your products to be listed in relevant searches and grab your customer’s attention. While Google Shopping spots are not ranked by keywords, using them strategically in your product descriptions and titles is important. They help searching consumers see that your product meets their needs, while also letting Google know under which categories to list your products. This gives you more targeted impressions and a higher return on ad spend (ROAS).

What you need to know about Google Shopping and organic search

There are many reasons you should optimize your product listings just as you would your blogs or website content. If you’re toying with the idea of relying on organic listings rather than paid ads, there are a few things you should be aware of before you make your decision. The first step is a compromise — take an approach that encompasses both organic listings and a small Shopping Ads budget.

Second, keep in mind that free Google Shopping listings only appear in the Popular Products section, not the carousels at the top of the search results. Failure to provide all required product data with accuracy could also keep your items from being listed. Finally, it is powered by your product feed, which requires constant maintenance. Connecting your Ecwid online store to your Google Shopping product feed automates much of the process.

How to Create Google Shopping Ads Campaigns

When everything is finally set up and ready to go, you’ll need to create your first Google Shopping ad campaign. This doesn’t require quite as much legwork, but you should still expect to spend some time planning your campaign to increase its effectiveness.

Even if you are a veteran user of Google Adwords, you should get some general guidance from Google before creating your first Shopping campaign. There are a few decisions to be made before you can begin planning and implementing your ad campaign.

  • Choose a Shopping Ads campaign structure. The simplest is one product group with one campaign, and almost anyone can set it up. You can also opt for two campaigns to be more accurately targeted using the campaign priority settings. There is also an option for three campaigns for three ad groups, but that will be more complicated and time consuming.
  • Set up Ad groups or product groups. Product groups should be set up before you start planning ads.
  • Set a budget for Shopping ads. You will likely need to play with your bidding strategies, including cost per click and expected impression share for a few months to tweak your process.

There are a few other caveats to address before you can launch your first Google Shopping Ad campaign, depending on what type of products you are selling. Some types of products have more (or less) requirements than others. In any case, your Shopping ad will never be seen if you don’t follow Google’s guidelines. These include product data requirements and posted policies. You can access the full Shopping ads requirements here.

It may seem that Google Shopping ads take so much effort that you just don’t have time to tackle it, but that is a mistake. If you don’t jump on this bandwagon now, you might miss out on an opportunity to grow your business. Consider employing Ecwid to decrease effort and increase results.

Do you want to learn more about selling on Google?

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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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