Looking for a powerful way to get more sales and traffic to your eCommerce store? A great place to start is with Google Shopping ads. Not only do these ads drive traffic, but they drive traffic that converts. And when it comes to running a successful eCommerce business, you already know how critical conversions are.
Without this kind of ads, many eCommerce store owners end up frustrated by their lack of control over what shows up in search engine results when people search for their products. But with Google ads, you have more power and control over your ad images. At the same time, you can reap a number of other rewards like generating more qualified leads.
Today we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about setting up Google ads for eCommerce sites so you can start enjoying these benefits for yourself. Don’t wait another day—let’s dive in by exploring the basics of these ads first.
Google Shopping Advertising for eCommerce
Unlike many other ad types, Google ads include rich information about your products. This can include the merchant name, a product image, price, and other specifications. When you create a Google Shopping ads account (more on that in a moment), you’re able to pick and choose which information shows up in your ads. That way, the most important things you want shoppers to know about your inventory is clearly displayed.
Now, as for why you would want to start using Google Shopping ads, there are several reasons. In fact, listing your products on Google comes with a number of big advantages. For starters, you can drive more traffic to your site. This traffic also tends to be from more qualified leads which is great news for your conversion rates. But we said there were several big benefits to using Google Shopping ads so let’s explore those even further.
Reasons To Start With Google Shopping Ads for eCommerce
If you’re not convinced using Google Shopping ads for your eCommerce store is the way to go, we think these extra bonuses will do the trick.
- Rank at the Top of Google Search Results
If you’re investing in ads, SEO, and other online marketing services, you might already have an idea of the importance of ranking at the top of search engine results. The higher up your results rank, the more likely you are to get clicks! After all, how often do you navigate to page eight of a SERP to find what you’re looking for? So, if there were a surefire way to rank at the highest possible position, wouldn’t you want to know?
That’s exactly what Google Shopping ads can do. In Google search results, there’s a hierarchy of information. In the average fold, at the very top of the search engine results page you’ll see shopping ads. Below that, you’ll find search ads. And then below that, you’ll see organic search engine results.
A comprehensive strategy will implement all three of these methods: shopping ads, search ads, and organic results (with the help of SEO). But shopping ads will always be at the top which is why you don’t want to wait another minute to implement them in your own strategy.
- Google Shopping Ads vs. Search Ads
Are you more likely to click on a text box or the image of a product you’re searching for? If you’re like most people, the image is what gets your click. Humans are visual creatures, and that reality is never more evident than with the success of Google Shopping ads versus search ads. Now, don’t get us wrong—search ads still serve a very important purpose. But when you’re selling physical products (i.e. eCommerce store owners), the ability to control which image shows up in your ads (or an image at all) is invaluable.
- Intent of Google Shopping
When it comes to online advertising, ads tend to fall in one of two categories: intent vs. interruption. Both can be useful, but intent ads tend to have higher conversion rates. Here’s why.
Let’s say you’re searching for a music video to watch on YouTube. Before it starts playing, an ad for linen sheets plays. You weren’t planning on buying sheets any time soon. But let’s say in six months you are. You might recall this brand from the ad you saw months ago. This type of ad is an interruption ad, meant to get your attention and boost brand awareness.
On the other hand, let’s say that first scenario never happened. Instead, you are someone who is actively searching for linen sheets. You simply enter “linen sheets” into the Google search engine, and immediately see a number of Google Shopping ads for different linen sheets, complete with pictures, prices, and the retailer who sells them. Since you are actively searching for linen sheets, these ads match your intent. And remember what we said about intent ads? Higher conversion rates!
A person is far more likely to end up purchasing from your Google Shopping ads when they’re displayed on a results page for something they’re searching for, as opposed to being interrupted with an ad for something they didn’t seek out on their own.
How Does Google Shopping Work?
Now that we have the basics of Google Shopping ads for eCommerce out of the way, along with their benefits, let’s talk more about how they work and how you can set them up for yourself.
First, it’s important to note that Google Shopping ads work differently than regular search ads. Google Shopping ads rely on a special algorithm (the product feed) which includes important information about your products, like price, product name, etc. Based on this data, your ads will be displayed when users search for relevant queries. Additionally, their search query helps determine the information that’s included in the actual ad creation.
Here’s a straightforward example of Google Shopping ads in action:
(For this example, let’s say you sell custom dog houses)
- You enter your product data into the product field provided in the Google Merchant Center.
- Someone searches for “custom dog house” in Google
- Google’s algorithm will select one of the custom dog houses from your eCommerce store.
- Google creates a Shopping ad for that dog house, and that ad is displayed along with other dog houses for the person searching that term.
- Out of all of the ads, that person selects your dog house
- This link takes them to your products page where they may or may not make a purchase.
- You are charged for that click.
Pretty great, right?
How to Add Your Products to Google Shopping
And finally, we have to talk about how to add your own products to Google Shopping before we go. Here are the steps to follow to create a Google Merchant Center account and start listing your products.
Creating a Product Feed
First things first: you need to create a product feed so you have the information ready to use for Google Shopping ads. If you use big eCommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento or Bigcommerce, they have extensions, plugins, or apps that make it easy to create and export your product feed.
Alternatively, you can use a spreadsheet to create a list of your products, along with the information to enter into each of the fields that Google requires.
As far as the data you’ll need to enter, you can see a comprehensive list right here from Google itself. (While you’re there, it’s also worth exploring their other requirements, including shopping ads policies, landing page requirements, tax rate data requirements, and shipping rate data requirements)
Create a Google Merchant Center Account
Once you have your product feed set up, it’s time to set up your Google Merchant Center account. This will be your home base for Google Shopping ads, so it’s one you’ll want to spend some time getting familiar with.
Here are the basic steps you’ll follow when you create your account:
1. Enter your business information
First, you’ll need to enter some basic information about your eCommerce business. (If anything changes later, you can always go back and edit it) You’ll be asked to enter pieces of information like where your business is registered (your business address),and your business name.
2. Choose where your customers check out
Now it’s time to let Google know how your customers can check out if they choose one of your products. There are three options to select from: on your website, on Google (without leaving Google), or at a brick-and-mortar store. You can select one, a combination, or all of these options. For eCommerce businesses, you’ll usually select your website and on Google.
3. Choose your third-party platforms
In this step, you’ll link any of the apps, integrations, or third-party platforms you use. You can always go back and add or change these later on.
If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide for linking third-party platforms, Google has one right here.
4. Select your email preferences
Just before your account creation process is complete, it’s time to choose your email preferences. This just lets Google know how and when they can reach you, as well as any tips or tricks and other emails you’d like to receive. Like many of the Google Merchant Center settings, these can be changed at any time. Once you’ve picked those, you’ll need to accept their terms and conditions and your account can be created.
Choose additional settings for Google Shopping ads
Once your account is live, you can select other settings that will help you market your products. For example, there’s a shipping tab on the left hand side of your user dashboard. When you choose this option, you can enter information about your shipping rates, minimum orders, etc. Additionally, you can enter different shipping rates for different areas, as well as shipping rates based on providers like UPS or FedEx.
Another setting you can adjust, if you’re in the United States, is for tax settings. For example, you will likely need to charge sales tax rates based on the location of your fulfillment provider.
Uploading your product feed
You’ve made it this far—don’t stop now! It’s time to upload that product feed you created into your Google Merchant Center account. As we previously discussed, you can do this with the help of integration from the eCommerce platform you use (if you use one). Otherwise, you will upload your spreadsheet that lists all of the product specs.
Once your product feed has been uploaded (there may be a few hiccups along the way, here are some troubleshooting tips), you can begin creating a Google Shopping ads campaign.
Creating a Google Shopping ads campaign
Naturally, Google needs your payment information before they’ll begin running your ads. That’s why the next step is to create a Google Ads account if you haven’t yet. This is pretty simple, and you can click here to create an account. You’ll be asked to enter some information about your business as well as your payment information.
Once your Google Ads account is also live, you need to link it to your Google Merchant Center account. In the top right hand corner of your Google Merchant Center, you’ll select the three small dots and navigate down to Account Linking. Now you can add your 10 digit Google Ads customer ID and your accounts will be linked.
Finally, it’s time to create your campaign—just click the big blue plus sign. Now you’ll begin entering the specifics of your campaign, including its goal, as well as your ad budget.
Tips for Optimizing Your Google Shopping campaign
Of course, you want to optimize your Google Shopping ads to perform for you as well as possible. You don’t want to be spending money on clicks that aren’t leading anywhere. Or, perhaps even worse, not getting any clicks at all. With that in mind, here are some tips to optimize your campaign.
Consider your most valuable products
Generally speaking, it’s best to devote more of your ad budget to the products that are more valuable. For example, setting a $100,000 ad budget for a product that doesn’t bring you nearly that much revenue in a year might not be the way to go. Instead, consider creating separate product groups (i.e. for your most to least valuable products) and setting different ad budgets accordingly.
Consider your search terms
It’s good practice to regularly look through your search terms to see which searches are bringing up your products. If some of them are irrelevant, you’ll want to go and exclude these terms from your Google Shopping ads campaign. (For more on using negative search terms in ad campaigns, take a look at this post next)
Consider raising your budget
Another handy tool within your user dashboard is the bid simulator. This lets you see the potential impact of increasing or lowering your budget. Additionally, Google shares a “recommended” budget with you to help optimize your campaign. If you’re already getting the results you want, your budget is likely on track. But if you have more to spend and you want more conversions, consider putting that money toward your Google Shopping ads budget.
(By the way, we also share our top tips for eCommerce Facebook ads right here)
You’ll notice Google Shopping ads will also show website reviews. To import your own, you’ll need to use Google Customer Reviews or import your review from an XML file when you add a review feed to your product center. (Here’s how to do that) But if you don’t have many, any, or positive reviews, it’s important to work on raising those first. A user is more likely to click on a product from a five-star rated website as opposed to another product from a website with low or no ratings.
There are several strategies to employ to get more website reviews. For starters, you can include a simple call to action asking existing customers to leave reviews for the products they purchase. You can also let your customers know they’ll be entered to win a prize if they leave a review. This is often enough incentive to start rapidly increasing your website reviews.
We’re here to help!
There’s no question Google Shopping ads for eCommerce businesses are an incredibly powerful tool you should begin utilizing if you aren’t already. But they aren’t the only tactic you’ll want to use to grow your business. An effective digital marketing strategy is one that’s comprehensive and takes your unique business into account. When you work with Blue Water Marketing in Stuart, FL., that’s exactly what you’ll get.
From SEO to link building, PPC, social media marketing, content marketing, and everything in between, we cover all of the bases you need to grow your business online.
We help businesses of all kinds, including eCommerce, get the traffic, clicks, and conversions they simply haven’t been able to achieve before. We’re excited to do the same for you! Start today by learning more about our pay-per-click services, including Google Shopping ads, Google ads, Facebook ads, and more right here.