Google Shopping

The 35-Minute Google Shopping Setup (2024)

43 · by Dennis Moons · Updated on 30 September 2022

Google Shopping Ads can be great. But getting them to the point where they can make money can be a real PITA.

They look pretty simple from the outside, but once you get started things quickly get technical.

Setting up a Google Shopping campaign in 35 minutes is ambitious.

But it’s do-able if you pay attention and if you’re a bit lucky 🍀😅.

Each section in this article has two estimates. The time it takes to read that section, and the time it takes to execute on it.

Those two together shouldn’t take more than 35 minutes to complete.

I’d love to hear if you’re participating in this challenge! Drop your store URL and the time it took you in the comments, I’ll send you something nice in return😎

Let’s jump right in!

Game Plan

📝 Time to read: 1 minute

Here is what you’ll need:

  1. Your store platform
  2. Product feed: to send all your product info to Google Merchant Center
  3. Google Merchant Center account
  4. Google Ads account

All you really need to start is to have your products ready to go on the ecommerce platform of your choosing. (In this post, we focus on Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Magento, 3dcart, but we’ve also got you covered if you’re on a different platform.)

The rest of the Google Shopping setup isn’t rocket science, but there are a lot of little details that trip you up and get in the way of launching an actual Google Shopping campaign.

In what follows, I’m assuming you have #1 covered. If not you should be busy doing that before reading on 🙂

Step 1 – Create a Product Feed

📝Time to read: 4 minutes
💪Time to execute: 10 minutes

A product feed is a file you need to provide to Google that contains all of your product information.

It is the hardest part of the Google Shopping setup process.

That’s because that product feed needs to be accurate and exactly according to the specifications of Google.

If you’re missing some data or didn’t 100% follow Google’s guidelines, your products won’t get approved and you won’t be able to move forward.

A good way to visualize a product feed is as a big spreadsheet where the rows are all of your products and the columns are all those fields that Google requires.

product feed spreadsheet example
An example of a product feed in spreadsheet format

Most of them are pretty straightforward: product title, price, description, sku, link, brand, image link, etc.

But there are also a couple of fields that you might not have by default: google product category, gtin, mpn, etc.

You can find the full list in Google’s help docs.

The ease with which you can put this file together depends on the quality of your product data and on the ecommerce platform you are using.

Ecommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento or Bigcommerce all have apps, plugins or extensions available to make the feed creation part easier.

The specific tool that you need depends on your specific situation, but the ones mentioned below should be enough to get started.

Google Shopping Setup on Shopify

Plenty of choices for Google Shopping apps in the Shopify app store:

shopify google shopping app store overview
Overview of Google Shopping apps on the Shopify app store

After neglecting their home-grown Google Shopping app for a couple of years, Shopify has made a lot of changes at how they integrate with Google Shopping.

I believe the app they have today is a really good fit for most Shopify merchants, especially those starting out.

So even if the poor ratings and scathing reviews don’t reflect it, I recommend this app:

best shopify google shopping app

The great thing about the app is that as soon as you’ve installed it, it takes you through a setup wizard that will help you get everything configured.

google shopping in shopify
Here what the Shopify app looks like for my own store

In the end, it will also help you to identify any errors and make suggestions for fixes.

One thing I want to warn you about is to stay away from the “Smart Shopping campaign” that Shopify & Google are promoting.

I’ll outline in Step 4 what it is, and why it’s not ideal if you want to get good results for your business.

Google Shopping Setup on WooCommerce

If you’re using WooCommerce, there are two plugins I recommend to create your product feed.

  • WooCommerce Product Feed PRO – link
  • WooCommerce Google Feed Manager – link

Most WooCommerce plugins will offer similar functionalities:

  • Add extra product fields (for things like custom labels)
  • Field mapping
  • Category mapping
  • Generate the actual product feed (an XML, CSV or txt file)

Some of these plugins will also double to generate product feeds for other channels like Facebook Dynamic Ads. So if that’s also on your list, make sure you select a plugin that can do both.

WooCommerce Google Feed Manager plugin
Screenshot of the WooCommerce Google Feed Manager plugin

Google Shopping Setup on Magento

If you’re running your store on Magento, there are plenty of extensions available to generate a product feed:

  • Google Shopping – M2 (paid – Magmodules) – link
  • Simple Google Shopping – M2 (paid – Wyomind) – link

If you’re not happy with any of the above, a lot of the more complex data feed management software tools also have their own Magento extensions: Channable (M2).

Google Shopping Setup on BigCommerce

If you’re running your store on BigCommerce you have plenty of apps that will support Google Shopping:

  • Sales&Orders (BigCommerce partner) – link
  • DataFeedWatch – link
  • GoDataFeed – link

Google Shopping Setup on Other Ecommerce Platforms

If you’re running your online store on a different platform, you might have a little bit more work cut out for you.

Your goal is to get a .CSV, TXT or XML file with all of your products that you can upload to Google Merchant Center.

If all you can get is a product export, you’ll need to make additional tweaks to this file.

You can either do that manually in Excel or use a Google Sheet that automatically syncs with Google Merchant Center. These are really last resort options. Because it means that any change you make to your products: a price, change a title, a new product, etc; will also need to be made in these different documents.

Instead, I would use a tool that sits in between your product export and Google Merchant Center.

A couple of suggestions: GoDataFeed, Channable, DataFeedWatch and Sales&Orders.

Step 2 – Create a Google Merchant Center account

📝Time to read: 3 minutes
💪Time to execute: 10 minutes

Next, you need to set up a Google Merchant Center account.

If you don’t have a Google Merchant Center account yet, you need to create one first.

Setting up this account usually is pretty straightforward. You’ll need to claim your URL which proves to Google that you actually own the domain you want to advertise on.

If you have access to Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager, you can use those to verify ownership. If that doesn’t work, try the meta tag option, where you’ll need to add a small meta tag to your website’s HTML code.

Configure Shipping Settings

Google Shopping often displays the shipping price right in your product ad.

So you have to provide them with the correct information about shipping rates, minimum order limits, etc. This happens in the Shipping section of Google Merchant Center.

google merchant center shipping settings

You first have to create a Shipping service, which covers a specific area. Then within that service, you can define specific shipping rates:

google merchant center shipping rates

Google Merchant Center also supports more complex shipping calculators like those that depend on carrier rates from logistics providers like FedEx and UPS.

You can even mark up the prices with a flat fee or percentage:

google merchant center carrier rates

Configure Tax Settings (US only)

Configuring the right tax settings in Google Merchant Center is only necessary if you’re selling in the US.

If you’re selling outside the US, you’ll need to check the regulations on collecting sales tax. But you don’t need to provide those to Google.

For example, my fulfillment provider has a facility in North Carolina, therefore I need to charge sales tax for orders in North Carolina. Here is what that looks like:

google merchant center tax settings

Upload Your Product Feed to Google Merchant Center

Then you’ll be able to connect/upload your product feed that’s hopefully in good (enough) shape.

Note that some tools like Shopify connect to Google Merchant Center via its API. This means that the data is sent through automatically so you don’t need to upload any feeds.

Then Google Merchant Center will process the data, let you know what’s wrong so you can start troubleshooting your feed.

Google Merchant Center Diagnostics
Overview of Google Merchant Center Diagnostics

This is when the trouble often starts.

If things aren’t 100%, you’ll start seeing a lot of errors and disapproved products.

These errors and warnings indicate that there is missing or incorrect information, or that the information is not according to Google’s product data requirements.

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 get very time-consuming.

So start with the most critical things: fix the account and feed errors as fast as you can. If not treated, these can result in an account suspension.

Then tackle the item-level errors. They are necessary because they will cause your products to be disapproved, which means they won’t show up in Google Shopping.

To tackle any problems, have a look at this post that is dedicated to helping you fix the errors in your google shopping feed.

To make bulk changes to your product feed, like adding product categories, you can use Feeds Rules in Merchant Center or tools like the data feed management software providers mentioned in the product feed section.

Google Merchant Center Feed Rules
Using Feed rules to add a custom label to the product feed

Going through all of these problems might seem tedious now but it will help you to get better results and increase the visibility for your products.

Step 3 – Create a Google Shopping Campaign

📝Time to read: 2 minutes
💪Time to execute: 5 minutes

As soon as your products are approved in Google Merchant Center, you can finally set up a Google Shopping campaign.

If you don’t have a Google Ads account yet, go sign up for one.

Go through the configuration wizard to enter your business and payment details.

You’ll also be prompted to start setting up a campaign. Just fill in random data to get out of this menu. Then make sure to pause that dummy campaign you’ve just created.

Before you can start promoting your products in Google Shopping, you’ll need to link Google Merchant Center to Google Ads.

Go back to Google Merchant Center, click the three dots in the top right corner and select Account linking.

Google Merchant Center and Google Ads Account linking

There you are able to add a new Google Ads account. Just enter your 10 digit Google Ads customer ID and you’re done.

google ads customer id

Now you’re all set to create a new Google Shopping campaign. Just click the big blue plus sign.

google ad shopping campaign set up

That will take you through all the steps to create a new campaign using the product feed we’ve set up in the previous section.

Most important in that process is to pick a small budget ($5-10/day) to start with, set a low cost per click (not above $0.5/click) and select Manual CPC as your bidding strategy.

After that, your Shopping campaign will start showing ads!

google ads live campaign

Improve Your Campaign Structure

If you’ve followed the approach above, all of your products will have the same maximum cost per click (or CPC).

Since not all of your products are equally valuable, you’ll need to create separate product groups and set different bids depending on margin, profitability or popularity.

By default, you can split your product groups based on brand, category or by item ID.

google shopping product groups item ID
Creating different product groups based on Item ID

But 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.

Step 4 – Optimize Your Google Shopping Campaign

Your Google Shopping campaigns should be live right now. So technically, we’re off the clock 🤓

There isn’t a lot you can do straight away anyway.

We can make a few minor changes to the campaign starting out. But the real impactful optimization requires data to act on. To get that data you have to run your campaigns for a bit.

Then usually you’ll see one of two things happen:

  • Nothing (not even spending your budget)
  • Most 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 get some visibility in the search results before making decisions.

To do that, play around with budgets and CPCs. Increase CPCs for items that no or few impressions and clicks and decrease CPCs for the ones that get a lot of clicks.

To further improve your results, there are a lot of different things you can do. Here are some starters:

  • Look through your Search Terms report to find irrelevant search queries and exclude those from your campaigns
  • 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
  • If you’re running multiple Shopping campaigns, make sure you get the campaign priority right

For more ideas, check out our google shopping optimization guide.

What’s Next

Out of all the steps described above, getting your product feed together is probably the biggest hurdle to getting started with Shopping Ads.

Afterward, the work in Google Merchant Center and Google Ads is pretty straightforward.

With most of my students, I see the same, the setup process is the biggest hurdle.

That’s why I’m giving away a Google Shopping checklist. It’s part of my premium course and it will list all the steps you need to take to get your campaigns up and running in no time.

Dennis Moons

Dennis Moons is the founder and lead instructor at Store Growers.

He's a Google Ads expert with over 12 years of experience in running Google Ads campaigns.

During this time he has managed more than $5 million in ad spend and worked with clients ranging from small businesses to global brands. His goal is to provide advice that allows you to compete effectively in Google Ads.

Follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn.


43 responses on "The 35-Minute Google Shopping Setup (2024)"

  1. […] might seem like a no-brainer, but the standard setup in Google Shopping doesn’t allow that […]

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  3. […] way to judge how your Google Shopping campaigns are doing is to compare them to your […]

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  5. […] Comparison shopping engines like Google Shopping […]

  6. […] So in this article I’d like to show you a couple of underused features that you can use to optimize your product feed and improve your Google Shopping campaigns. […]

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    […] Similar to Search campaigns, you can also target brand and product brand search queries with specific Google Shopping campaigns. […]

  8. Hello.

    How old is this course does it teach in the new Google Interface?

    1. Dennis says:

      Hi Tersius,
      Google Shopping Success is completely up to date with the current Google Ads interface.

  9. Hey Dennis,

    Which platform do you prefer for e-commerce?

    1. Dennis says:

      Hi Karan,
      Depends on the situation. But for most of my own projects I use Shopify.

  10. Scott says:

    Hi Dennis, Great article. I am unsure as to how best to structure my Google Shopping campaigns. I have a catalog of around 500 products ( not including variants) The catalog conforms to the classic 80/20 rule. About 20% of the products generate over 80% if not more of the revenue. Because of this my initial thinking was to create campaigns based on the selling rate – best seller – medium seller – low seller. What do you think of this approach? Is this something you utilise with clients? If so how would you recommend setting this up? How do you typically like to structure your Google Shopping campaigns with larger catalog sizes? Thanks again for the great content.

    1. Dennis says:

      Hi Scott,
      Your suggestion is pretty good. I have used that best-medium-low sellers for a couple of clients. Your main goal here is to make sure that your top sellers get all the budget they can handle.

      You can do that through custom labels.

      To handle the 500 products there are a couple of things you can do, depending on how granular you want to control your budget. here are some ideas:

      • further split your best-medium-low campaigns per category
      • keep 3 category campaigns, but use ad groups to subdivide based on categories
      • keep 3 category campaigns, subdivide on the product group level.
  11. Hi Dennis,

    This guide is very helpful, thanks a lot! Would you suggest any alternative app for Shopify in case if my store has over 10000 items?

    1. Dennis says:

      Hey Greg,
      Would strongly suggest looking at the data feed tools mentioned: Channable, Godatafeed, etc.

      These will give you more flexibility (bulk editing, etc) and control.

  12. Tom says:

    Hi Dennis,

    I have seen an account where there are two Shopping Campaigns with the same products as single product groups in both campaigns. I have one campaign that is set as Low Priority and the other campaign as High Priority. In the High Priority campaign, the best performing products are added as negative keywords. All data which is collected in terms of impressions, clicks, conversions etc, is all in the High Priority campaign. I am a little confused thinking shouldn’t the data be in the Low Priority campaign?

    For example, the term “Nike Shoes” is a popular keyword and I add this as a Negative Exact keyword in my High Priority campaign yet I still see nike shoes showing good results in this campaign. How is this working?

    1. Dennis says:

      Hi Tom,
      Your example seems correct:

      • 2 campaigns with the same products (single or multiple ad groups/product groups doesn’t matter)
      • campaign 1 – high priority – products as negative keywords
      • campaign 2 – low/medium priority – no specific negative keywords

      If you have the above set up correct, 2 other things might be happening:

      • Campaigns aren’t identical – review all other settings (locations, device adjustments, ad scheduling, audiences, etc)
      • Campaigns aren’t on a shared budget (& budget is running out)

      To get more info on campaign priorities, have a look at this video:

  13. Maria says:

    Hi Dennis!
    This article is great as I wanted to have general overview of how it works. I am new on Google Shopping Ads, I would like to ask you what happen if I need to create a new whole Google Shopping Ads for a store which is expanding to a new country, do you think I need to use same Google Merchant Center Account? or I need to create a new one as the products are the same but the business is in other country and also different currency?

    Thanks a lot!!

    1. Dennis says:

      Hi Maria,
      That’s great to hear. In the case of expanding to a new country, I highly recommend this post:

  14. Brendon says:

    Hi Dennis
    Great article, I have reached out to you via the Google docs form so if you can get back to me at your earliest convenience that would be great.

  15. Terry says:

    Thanks for releasing your in-depth guide for Google Shopping, what are your opinions about getting through restrictions for select products? I have been researching for the promotion of our e-liquid brand but certain terms are blocked due to prohibited items. Have you dealt with this in the past?

    1. Dennis says:

      Hi Terry,
      Yeah I’ve run into prohibited items a few times. I haven’t had much luck trying to circumvent Google’s policies. Nor would I advise you to do that.

      I have found insights by studying what competitors are doing. In one case, that led to discovering related products that I could advertise. Then use your upsell abilities to sell those restricted items.

      That’s where I would start!

      1. Terry says:

        Yeah that’s a good idea. It’s a shame because other marketplaces are allowed to advertise the brand name & same product which confuses the matter even more!

  16. Thank you for sharring.

  17. Jessica says:

    If I create a Google merchant account and upload software, I don’t create any PPD/PPC campain. DO our software is listed on Google Products:

    1. Dennis says:

      Hi Jessica,
      Yes, if you upload your product to Google Merchant Center, there is the possibility of them showing up organically in some search results. Have a look at this blog post for more info:

  18. Murali says:

    as you right mentioned the hardest part in setting up the campaign is the FEED, which am fed up in getting it right
    using shopify and not able to set up thru content API,
    also, if I need to start in rest of the countries apart from default home country, how to target them
    eagerly looking for an solution

    1. Dennis says:

      Hi Murali,
      If you have problems using the content API of Shopify, have a look at the various tools mentioned in this article (Channable, Godatafeed, etc.)

      If you’re targeting different countries, the solution depends on which countries, the languages that are spoken there and the currencies being used. You can find out more in this article:

  19. Eric says:

    Hi Dennis,

    Thanks for your great posts. Really useful.

    1/ If we own more than one website (let’s say 2 websites), How to set google merchant & feeds for these 2 websites in this case?

    Can we add other websites in merchant?

    What’s the structure of our google merchant account & feeds if we have website1 & website2 ?

    2/ Regarding Affiliate activity, Is the setup different from the standard way? Are there any particularities for merchant account & feeds?

    Thank you.

    Note: there’s no “search” function on your website! Reconsider that 😉

  20. Paul says:

    Can you create more than one feed? I am on Shopify using the app, and I want to focus down on specific products

    1. Dennis says:

      Hi Paul,
      Unless you have different languages, different products per country or different pricing between countries, you shouldn’t need a separate feed.

      A common thing I see is that people want to create specific campaigns using specific products. That’s totally possible with one feed.

      You can either use the inventory filter in your campaign settings to select certain products, or make your products selection on the product group level. If you’re using this latter method, be sure to exclude all the products you don’t want to target!

      1. 45 minutes, nice article.

        1. Dennis says:

          Thanks for sharing your time Brian, glad to hear it worked as promised. I guess 10 minutes longer is still acceptable 🙂

  21. Nice article. Most clients don’t seem ready to start Google Ads or Google Shopping at all. Digital marketers as a whole need to do a better job of building websites that will convert paid click traffic.

    1. Dennis says:

      That’s true Michael. Unfortunately, that’s a hard truth that most business owners don’t want to hear…

  22. Stuart says:

    Hi Dennis, great guide! Whats your view on google product categories in merchant centre? In shopify you can search googles categories or set a custom category. I wonder if using googles own categories are a better option.
    Any thoughts?

    1. Dennis says:

      Hi Stuart,
      So for the google product category field, you need to use the one in Google’s list. You can leave this blank, and then Google will automatically assign the category it thinks is correct. (this is usually ok, but it doesn’t hurt to check:)

      Through the product type field, you’re able to set your own categories (or use the hierarchy you’re using on your site).

      Product type is also the only field of the 2 that’s useful when organizing your campaigns.

  23. Jeremy K says:

    Dennis, thanks for sharing!

  24. Nicole Nelson says:

    Hi Dennis,

    Great article! We’re looking at setting up separate feeds for Google paid shopping and Google organic shopping to optimize a little differently. Have you had experience doing so? Do you foresee any issues? Thanks!

    1. Dennis Moons says:

      Hi Nicole,
      If you configure everything right and set up the correct included_destination for each of the feeds, you should be good to go. This way Google know which feed to use for which channel.

      Out of curiosity, why do you need a different feed? I normally use the same one for both ads and free listings.

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