Is your e-commerce brand looking for ways to sell more products online? Of course you are! Google Shopping Ads are one of the best AdWords tools to help you do just that. Yet only 20% of retail paid search clicks are on e-commerce Google Shopping Ads, creating a powerful opportunity for companies that want to use these types of ads to boost sales.
Below, we have put together an easy-to-navigate ecommerce Google Shopping guide to help you better understand how to make the most of your ads.
What are Ecommerce Google Shopping Ads?
Let’s start off with what e-commerce Google Shopping Ads are and how they can help your business. There’s a good chance that you’re already familiar with this ad format, you just don’t know it yet. Google Shopping Ads will often pop up in your Google search results when you are searching for products. Here is an example of what this might look like if you searched for “red high heels” on Google:
There are a couple of reasons why these ads are so effective. The first being that they appear at the top of the search results, which is where most search engine users look first. These ads also provide just the information that a consumer wants to know when searching for a product – a high quality image, description, and pricing information as well as a quick link to purchase – which makes it easy and convenient for consumers to find the products they are looking for and make a purchase within minutes.
Though Google Shopping Ads are often overlooked by e-commerce brands, they can be an important tool to help increase online visibility and drive traffic back to a company’s site. In 2016, these ads accounted for 16.1% of e-commerce sales. This is a 78% increase in year-over-year, showing just how increasingly important this ad format is becoming to online stores.
Another great benefit of these ads for e-commerce brands is that they can help drive more mobile web traffic and purchases. In fact, one study found that mobile devices drove 29% of all Google Shopping revenues in 2016, which was up more than 10% from the previous year. This is most likely due to the fact that these ecommerce Google Shopping Ads now appear at the top of the mobile search engine results page (SERP) just as they do at the top of the desktop SERP.
How to Get Started with E-Commerce Google Shopping Ads
Now that you know what e-commerce Google Shopping Ads are and how they can help your business, let’s talk about how you can set up your ads:
1. Create a Google Merchant Center account.
If you don’t already have a Google Merchant Center account, you will need to create one before you can develop ecommerce Google shopping ads. You can create an account by visiting: https://merchants.google.com and completing the sign-up process.
During sign up, you will type in your store name and website URL as well as contact details. You will also have to read and accept the Merchant Center Terms and Conditions as well as verify your website URL before you are ready to go.
2. Set up and submit your data feed.
Once you have finished signing up for Google Merchant Center, it’s time to create a shopping feed with your store’s products.
The shopping feed that you create is basically a giant spreadsheet that contains all the products you sell, including important attributes and information about each product. Google uses this information when serving product ads to search engine users to help them find just the products they are looking for.
To get started, you will click on the shopping feed menu item in the left-hand column. Then, you will need to fill out all the attributes in your data feed. Here is a quick breakdown of the information in your data feed that you must fill out before launching campaigns:
- ID– The ID is how you identify the item. Google asks that you use unique identifiers for each item and that you do not reuse these IDS between feeds within the same country in the same language. An example might be “bccd333US.”
- Title – You will also need a title for each item in your feed. It helps to include the color, brand, or type within the title as this helps differentiate similar products. For example, rather than just “high heels,” you might use the title, “Red Wedge Heels” or “Red Prada High Heels.”
- Description – You will also need to include a description that helps explain the item to shoppers. Be sure to use any relevant characteristics that help differentiate the product from others.
- Link and Image Link – For the link, you will provide a URL that links directly to the item page on your website. Make sure that the product in the ad is identical to the one on the page. You will also need to provide a URL for the image of the item. This is what search engine user’s will see on the ad.
- Brand – Most consumers will also be interested in the brand of the product, so make sure that you include this information as well.
- Price – Of course, you also need to list the price of the item. Make sure that the price is easy to find on the actual product page as well.
In addition to these attributes, you will also need to choose the condition (new, refurbished, or used); availability (pre-order, in stock, or out of stock); and Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) or identifier exists (attribute used when there is no GTIN). There are other attributes that you can fill in on your data feed to provide even more information, but those mentioned above are what you will need if you want to get started right away.
It’s important that you also take the time to update your feed on a regular basis to make sure that your information is current. For instance, if a product goes out of stock, you will want to change the availability of the item in your data feed. The same goes for adding new products or changing other attributes like images. If you need some extra help creating and submitting your data feed, you can watch this helpful video from Google that takes you through the steps.
3. Link your AdWords account to your Google Merchant Center.
Before you can launch a Google Shopping Ad campaign, you will need to connect your Google AdWords account to your Google Merchant Center account. Click on the “Settings” tab in the sidebar, and select “AdWords.”
Then, you will click on the “Link Account” button. If you don’t already have an AdWords account created, you can take the time to set one up within your Google Merchant Center account.
4. Set up your Google Shopping Campaign.
Once you have submitted your product data feed and connected your AdWords account, you are ready to start creating an e-commerce Google Shopping ad campaign. You can create the campaign through the Merchant Center or through your AdWords account. To create the campaign from your AdWords account, use the following steps:
- While in “Campaigns,” you will want to click on the red button that says “+Campaign.”
- Then, select “Shopping.”
- Give your campaign a name that is easily identifiable.
- Where it says “Merchant Identifier,” you will want to link your Merchant ID.
- Then, under “Country of Sale,” choose the country where your products are sold.
- Choose the networks that you want your product ads to appear on.
- Select where you want your ads to show under “Locations.” (You can also exclude certain locations where you don’t want to show your ads.)
- Add a default big and budget, and click “Save and Continue.”
When it comes to your bid, you may want to choose a small amount such as $10 or less so that you can test your campaign. After some time has passed, you will be able to look at the results of your campaign and decide whether to increase your campaign spending or to make changes to the campaign to maximize results.
If you want tighter control over your Shopping Ads, you can use the “Inventory Filter” found under the advanced shopping settings tab. With the inventory filter, you can choose which products are going to be advertised within your campaign. You can select these product ads based on a number of criteria including brand, item ID, condition, etc. You can also choose the campaign priority, which allows you to give priority to certain products when running multiple campaigns.
Tips for Maximizing Revenue Using Ecommerce Google Shopping Ads
Now that you know the basics, let’s talk about how you can optimize your ecommerce marketing and maximize revenue using ecommerce Google Shopping Ads. If you find that you aren’t getting the click-through or conversion rates that you hoped for, you can use the following tips to help you boost results:
1. Adjusting your bids.
As you may already know, AdWords is based on a bidding system. This means that whoever is willing to pay the most for their ad will usually receive the most exposure. If you find that your ads are not quite getting the click-through rates or conversions that you were expecting, you can try raising your bid for the product listing ad.
To ensure that you are getting a favorable return on investment when adjusting your bids, you will first want to calculate the lifetime value of a customer. To do this, multiply the average value of a sale by the number of repeat transactions and by the average retention time for a typical customer. Once you have this number, you can bid higher amounts on your product listing ads without worrying about recovering the cost in time.
2. Optimize your product descriptions.
Just like with any other ad campaign in AdWords, copy is an important element of your Google shopping ads. If you want to generate more clicks on your ads, it’s important that you put some thought into optimizing your product descriptions. You’ll want to use keywords that describe the product while also keeping in mind what types of keywords consumers might use to find products like yours.Start with the product title. Make sure that it accurately describes your product and the benefits that it can provide to the consumer.
As was mentioned above, try to mention the brand name as well as any descriptors such as the color to provide more details in your title. You may also want to use words that can help you differentiate your product from others, such as “quality” or “genuine,” but only if these words will make a difference in the visitor’s purchasing decision.
3. Refresh your images.
Just as you want to make sure that your product attributes such as pricing and availability are up-to-date, your company will also want to periodically refresh the images in your ads. Images play a significant role in grabbing the consumer’s attention and enticing them to click. If you aren’t experiencing satisfying click-through rates, it may be because your images are not clear or engaging.
One way to get a feel for whether you may need to refresh your images is by looking at the other product images that appear when searching for related keywords. Take note of what makes certain images stand out and appeal to the eye. Then, use these ideas to take new images of your products and implement these visuals into your e-commerce Google Shopping ad campaigns.
4. Use retargeting to reach out to visitors again.
Another great way to maximize your revenue is to retarget visitors who have clicked on your ecommerce Google Shopping ads. Retargeting involves using a tracking pixel to reach back out to consumers after they have visited your site. You can then show them additional Google Ads after they leave through platforms such as YouTube or Google Display.
For example, let’s say that someone clicks on your Google shopping ad and looks at one of your products. Your company can use retargeting to reach back out to this consumer after they leave. You might use Display ads to serve this consumer ad content for the specific product on Google Partner sites. This retargeted ad content serves as a reminder for the consumer about the product that they have previously shown interest in.
5. Consider mentioning promotions in your ads.
Another way to increase conversions is by mentioning any promotions or special offers that you may be running on the product. For instance, if your company is currently offering free shipping or a special discounted rate on a product, you should include this information in the product description, which appears below the price on the e-commerce Google Shopping Ad.
Mentioning special benefits such as free shipping or a reduced price can have an impact on the consumer’s buying decision. Your Google Shopping Ads appear alongside competitor ads with similar products. However, offering free shipping, discounts, or another perk can help catch the eye of the consumer, and it may even be just enough to get the visitor to click on your ad instead of one from your competitor.