You know how robots will take over all the jobs?
Google Shopping is doing that for search ads.
Instead of spending time on keyword research and crafting clever ads, Google Shopping does it all for you.
You supply the information about your products, then Google matches the right product with the right search query and creates the advertisement.
It’s not 100% perfect yet, but it paves the way to further automation in advertising.
Because it requires less ongoing effort, it’s also the perfect channel for busy ecommerce entrepreneurs.
In this article, I’ll show you what Google Shopping is and how to set up your first campaign.
Rank on Top of the Google Search results
Google Shopping ads allow you to be on the top of the Google Search results.
Which is the only spot to be in if a potential customer is looking for a specific product.
From the image above it also becomes clear that these products listing ads are a lot more appealing compared to the text ads.
With an image of the product and its price, shoppers can easily identify which products they want to take a close look at.
That’s why things like Google Shopping are called a comparative shopping engines. It really compares different products from different vendors.
Now let’s look at how you can get your products into those top slots!
Google Shopping Setup
The hardest part of the Google Shopping setup is getting the product feed right. This is the file you need to give Google that contains all of your product information.
This sounds easy and I know you’re tempted to skip ahead. It’s normal and I would do the same. But you’ll save yourself a headache if you take the time to read the section below.
So what do you need to do before you get started to make everything that follows easier?
Since Google Shopping uses the information from your shop’s backend, that product info needs to be reliable.
That means well structured product titles, correct brands, keyword rich product descriptions and images that are appropriate for Google Shopping.
One thing I’ll cover later is product identifiers like GTINS, UPC codes or MPNs. These might seem useless to you right now, but they’re the backbone of the ad platform.
So try to get your data right, as it will save you a lot of frustration in the next steps.
Product Feeds Done Right
Then you have to go from all the information from your store to a format that Google can read.
The difficulty in doing this depends on your ecommerce platform and the quality of your data in it.
If you’re on a popular platform, you have a wide range of options to help you with the creation of this feed.
Ecommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento or Bigcommerce all have apps, plugins or extensions available to make the feed creation easier.
Which tools to use will depend on your needs. The biggest difference between them is the support of product variations or the ability to create feeds for other platforms as well.
Most tools will also give you a good bit of help, this could be a good wizard during setup or a support team that sets up your feed for you.
If you’re running your store from a less popular platform, you will probably need to spend a lot of time in Excel manually getting all the data in the right format.
Most of the time this process will go pretty fast, you connect an app to your store and publish it to Google Merchant Center.
Managing Your Product Feed In Google Merchant Center
After the product feed is created, it needs to connect to Google Merchant Center, a free tool by Google to manage your feeds and troubleshoot any errors.
The trouble usually starts when you connect your product feed to Google Merchant Center and get a lot of errors after the feed is processed.
These errors and warnings can be related to missing or incorrect information, or the correct information in the wrong format.
Some of these errors and warnings are easy to fix, but others require you to look up (and add!) product identifiers to every one of your products. This can quickly become very time consuming.
To make bulk changes to your product feed, like adding product categories, you can use Feeds Rules in Merchant Center or software like data feed management tools.
Before you can move on, the errors in your google shopping feed need to be fixed. Taking the time to do this will also help you get better visibility.
Creating Google Shopping campaigns
If you see nothing but green in Google Merchant Center, we can finally set up a couple of campaigns in Google Adwords.
Google Shopping is a specific campaign type in Google Adwords.
So to create a new google shopping campaign, you’ll follow the steps to create a new campaign using the product feed we’ve set up in the previous section.
Then you need to pick, a budget and state the amount you want to pay per click, then your campaign is ready to run.
By default, all of your products have the same maximum cost per click (or CPC).
Since not all of your products are worth the same to you, you’ll need to create separate product groups and set different bids depending on margin, profitability or popularity.
By default you can split based on brand, category or on a product level. If you want to set the bid according to margin, you’ll need to use custom labels to add that information to your product feed.
Optimizing Your Campaigns
When you’ve gone through the whole google shopping setup, you’ll finally see clicks (and hopefully some sales) rolling in.
To make further improvements, give the campaigns a day to gather some data.
Usually you’ll see one if two things happen:
- Nothing (not even spending your budget)
- All of your budget is being spent on one product or product group
Your goal is to make sales with Google Shopping, and at the start you probably don’t know which products are going to do well. So you want to make sure all of your products are seen in the search results.
To do that, play around with budgets and CPCs.
After you’ve taken care of that, you can get deeper into the google shopping optimization.
The rabbit hole is deep, but here are some starters:
- Look for irrelevant keywords and exclude those from your campaign
- Check if your products are appearing for generic rather than product specific search queries
- Improve your product feed to make sure the most profitable products get the budget they need
My premium training course
If you like this post but want to go through the Google Shopping setup and optimization in more detail? Check out my Google Shopping course. Through a series of videos, you’ll go from scratch to having the first sales come in via your Shopping campaigns. The feedback so far has been really great so I encourage you to check it out!
Just as you’ve seen in this article, setting up the actual campaigns is pretty easy once you get your product feed sorted.
For most of my clients, this setup is the biggest hurdle.