Google Shopping is now an integral part of the online marketing mix. But that doesn’t mean that the function is only important for online shops because stationary retail can also benefit from the format; read here how to set up the feature and what options are open to you afterward.
What is Google Shopping?
As part of Google Ads, Google Shopping is an additional paid advertising option. Ads include the product, the price, and the provider to enable a shopping experience directly in the Google search results. With this option, merchants can improve their click figures and sales.
Quick setup for good performance: How does Google Shopping work?
Google Shopping is part of the Google Ads advertising system. In contrast to the system’s services you may already be familiar with, you do not place any fixed text or image ads on Google Shopping. Instead, you share standardized data from your online shop with Google. The search engine uses this as the basis for product ads, consisting of an image, a price, the shipping costs, and the retailer name.
Ultimately, you can use Google as a marketplace in e-commerce. In this way, you can draw attention to your offer even before users search specifically for your shop. If it is convincing, users land on your website with a click on the product. This, in turn, results in higher clicks and, ideally also sales.
Set up Google Shopping
To use Google Shopping, you need to be signed in to the Merchant Center. For this, you need a Google account and an Ads account, both of which can quickly be set up. Then there are just a few more steps to take:
- Confirm and claim website URL: To use the programs in the Merchant Center, Google asks you to confirm your URL. Basically, that means: you prove that you own the page and then choose one of four options to link Google so closely to your website that it can later use the data for product advertisements.
- Link to the Ads accounts: In the next step, Google links the Merchant Center to your Ads account. There you can later view and evaluate the costs, performance, and other data of your campaign.
- Transfer product data: As soon as the Merchant Center and Ads account are connected to your website, you can release the product data and make it available for Google Shopping. This is done via main and sub-feeds, which receive all relevant data about the products. You have to create and upload these feeds accordingly. It looks like this:
- Create ad campaigns: After you’ve created the feeds and uploaded them, you can create ad campaigns in Ads.
Google Shopping for Beginners
If this is your first time setting up Google Shopping, the first thing to do is to create test campaigns. In this way, you will learn step by step the principle of successful product placement via the format without investing real money. The Merchant Center provides such a function: You can try out test feeds without publishing the product advertisements.
What does Google Shopping cost?
Placing products in the Google Shopping results list does not cost you anything at first. In order for these to be found, you usually have to pay – according to the cost-per-click principle: Costs are only incurred when users click on the link to the online shop.
You can determine how high this amount is. So think about how much a click is worth to you for certain searches. The higher you bid, the better the chances that your offer will be placed in a prominent position in the search results. And that usually means: right at the top.
Google Shopping Ads: other variants
1. Local inventory ads (LIAs)
In many cases, this ad format doesn’t even require a website. Local inventory displays are aimed specifically at offline buyers – one click and users land on a target page. There you will receive not only the price and availability of the items but also the nearest shop, including opening times, telephone numbers, and directions.
The advantage is obvious: in most cases, customers looking for a product don’t want to wander around the town for long. This means that retail stores have to present and advertise their range online in such a way that they attract buyers – before they migrate to pure online shops. Local inventory ads make the advantages of online shopping usable for stationary retail.
2. Local catalog displays
Local catalog ads are an efficient way to interactively promote products through Google Shopping. The tool shows local inventory displays across the Google Display network. Conceived as a supplement to classic print campaigns, the ad units are visually appealing. They enable buyers to go shopping virtually, while you, as a retailer, benefit from greater reach and visibility.
3. Extensions for partner locations
If you sell your products through different dealers, the expansion for partner locations is an interesting solution. When searching for a specific product, users are shown the nearest shops. And through the affiliate location expansion, you can see directly which stores are selling your products.
4. Shopping Actions Program
In view of the increasing dominance of Amazon Marketplace, Google also followed suit with its new e-commerce strategy, Shopping Actions. With this shopping promotion program, you can also sell your products via Google Express and Google Assistant in addition to the classic Google search.
This allows users to collect their orders from various retailers in a comprehensive shopping cart. All of this works as a pure “pay-per-sale” platform. Means: Google only gets its commission when a purchase has been made.
Optimize Google Shopping: Here’s how
In order to get the most out of Google Shopping, it is particularly important to have a feel for the cost per click process. But it’s not just the best bids that determine which product ads land at the top of the results. The completeness and quality of individual data is also important. With simple means, which are also described on the support page of the Merchant Center, you can achieve a lot:
- Use meaningful titles.
- Use the image formats JPG, GIF, BMP, TIF, or PNG.
- Make sure that the products are up to date.
- Make sure that the feed and product URL are basically the same.
It is not only because of the simple setup and the possibility to test Google Shopping that it is worthwhile to deal with the form of advertising. It can be an important part of your strategy to increase sales and improve your website’s performance.
If you screw in the right places, the optimized website can even impact stationary retail. And if you have a shop online, all the better: The increased awareness of your website will also affect your position in the organic search results.