Google Shopping Ads help you meet customers who are ready to buy
Are you an e-commerce store owner?
If you are, then you probably know how hard it can be to generate genuine interest in your business and attract traffic with the right intent. After all, clicks and bounces don’t get you anywhere.
And in spite of investing in multiple avenues of online advertisement and innovative promotion, you still find yourself falling short of the mark you want to achieve. And while there are many ways of generating online sales, you're yet to find the best route for your business.
If this is the case with your business, then you should try your hand at Google Shopping Ads.
Also known as Product Ads, these are one of the most effective yet least used avenues of generating online sales.
And because they're so often overlooked, it means less competition to contend with. If you start early you can easily get that early bird advantage.
To enable you to leverage the power of Google Shopping Ads and Google Merchant Center, we’ve decided to create this ultimate guide that can, well, guide you to correctly utilizing the power of Google Merchant center and use Google Shopping Ads to generate revenue for your e-commerce business.
We’ll take a deep dive into the topic, take a look at how the ads function and how to use them to their full potential.
So, let’s get started.
Google Shopping Ads: what are they?
Even though you might not have heard of them before, you've certainly seen them during Google searches.
Shopping ads usually appear at the very top of the search results whenever a product is searched on Google. They show a snapshot of the product in question, together with a short description and the price tag. The ads also act as a link to the store where you can buy the product from. They are particularly effective as they incorporate all the necessary info about the product in an easy to digest format.
Also, as they appear at, or near, the top of the search results, these ads tend to grab the maximum amount of user attention. In fact, these ads help not only online but even offline stores.
Google Shopping Ads can be divided into the following two types:
Product Shopping Ads, which feature the details of just one product.
Showcase Shopping Ads, which display the details of multiple related products.
In order to create Shopping Ads, you’ll need to set up your Google Merchant Center account and upload your product information there.
Now that we know what Google Shopping Ads are, let’s take a quick tour of the Google Merchant Center and see what that’s all about.
Exploring the Google Merchant Center
Simply put, the Google Merchant Center is an online tool that allows you to upload your product details so they can be used with Google Shopping Ads. Google Merchant Center enables countless businesses around the world to reach out to their potential and repeat customers.
You can provide customers with up-to-date information about your products, but unless your Merchant Center account is properly optimized, your Google Shopping Ads have very little chance of being effective.
The best part is, you don’t have to pay any money to set up your Google Merchant Center account (do remember that you’ll have to pay for the shopping ads, however). All you need to begin is a valid Gmail account and you’re good to go.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at what you need to set yourself up with Google Merchant Center.
Your Google account
As mentioned above, the first thing you need in order to set up the Google Merchant Center (GMC) is a valid Google account. A single account is all you need to begin with, though GMC can be configured for multiple accounts as well.
A verified business
This one is a no-brainer. To set up on the merchant center you obviously need a verified business with a valid website and a Google My Business registration. This is required for both offline and online businesses. The process requires adhering to multiple Google guidelines such as address and phone number verification, tech-support setup and valid checkout process.
Complete product information
In this step, you must upload all your product information along with shipping info. Remember, this information must be uploaded in a format that Google can accept, such as text or XML files. If your e-commerce platform is compatible with GMC, your product data can be directly imported across platforms as well.
Once you have all this information set up, just visit the GMC on Google and follow the steps to complete the sign-up process.
And you’re done! After you’ve completed the setup process, you’ll be required to create a shopping feed containing a listing of all the products that you deal in.
Creating the shopping feed will supply Google with the necessary information to display your products using the ads.
Linking Google Ads with the GMC
Once you're done setting up the product feed, the next thing to do is linking a valid Google Ads account with your GMC account. If you don’t already have a Google Ads account, then you can set one up from inside the GMC interface. Then simply go to settings and link the two accounts.
After the linking process is done, you can then start creating your very own Shopping Ads Campaign from within the GMC dashboard.
Alternatively, you can also choose to set up your campaign using the Google Ads interface. The process is similar to setting up a regular ads campaign.
Remember to keep the bidding low at first. Then as you gather more campaign data you can choose to optimize your campaign spends accordingly.
Notice how we didn't mention anything about keyword research.
You’ll know why in the next segment.
Why Google Shopping Ads are not keyword dependent
Google Shopping Ads don’t rely on keywords to determine which ads to show based on the user's search terms. Instead, they rely on rich product data to determine the user intent and show the ads accordingly.
This means when you're advertising via Google Merchant Center, you aren't showing ads based on keywords, but rather product types. And Google, the intelligent search engine that it is, will determine the correct products to show based on its internal keyword data.
And of course, you can set up ads for individual products as well as showcase ads for a group of products that are related.
ROI improvement strategies for Shopping Ads
So, your ads are set up, and you're generating campaign data.
Now you need to improve your campaign performance to ensure you always get a positive ROI. In this segment, we're going to discuss some simple strategies that you can implement to improve the performance of your ads campaign.
Adjust your bids
As you already know, Google Ads is a bid-based system. It uses a complex combination of ad quality score, relevancy and bid value to determine which ads to show in response to a particular user search. And while the other factors aren't really under your control, the one you can directly influence is bid value.
In case you find that your ad isn't garnering enough clicks and conversions, then you can attempt to influence your ad visibility by increasing your bid amount. That'll give you a better chance to improve your ad frequency.
Focus on your image
The image that goes with your ad can play a huge role in attracting the right attention. If you feel you're losing out on clicks on account of a bland image, then it’s time to change the picture.
For ideas on what kind of image to use, you can do a survey of your competitors’ ads by searching for the relevant products. Just take a look at the ones that catch your eye. Try to determine what’s so special about them, what makes them tick. Understand how you can make your images stand out like theirs. Then implement the same in your ads.
Be ready to retarget
When you're using Shopping Ads, retargeting can be a great strategy for maximizing the return on your ad spends.
What is retargeting?
It’s simply tracking the customers who showed interest in your products but didn't actually buy them. You can do this by triggering a tracking pixel when users visit your product page. You can then follow them as they navigate the web and show them targeted ads.
As an example of retargeting consider the following scenario.
Suppose someone clicks on a shopping ad for a cell phone. Now you target that person and show them ads related to cell phones and accessories. Retargeting has a proven history of working, so you should certainly look into leveraging it for your business.
Optimize your product descriptions
Product descriptions are one of the most important parts of your Google Shopping Ads, and it’s imperative that you pay special attention to them. If your product descriptions can succinctly convey product information to potential customers, then you’ll certainly see more clicks than your competitors.
As in the old days, copy is still king, and words have immense power to convert leads into sales. So, make sure that you put in extra time and effort to craft that perfect copy.
Pump up promotions
If you're currently running any promotional offers, then make sure to mention them clearly in your ads. Putting emphasis on such extra benefits may be just the thing you need to rope in the right customers. It can also have a major impact on how people view your products and business.
For example, if you offer free shipping, make sure the offer appears on your ad. This one simple thing might be the differentiator that separates you from your competition and gives you that extra edge you need to succeed.
Flaunt ratings and reviews
Ratings and reviews from customers can be deciding factors in the success of your ads. A good rating can help tilt the buying decision in your favor, thus garnering you repeat customers and, of course, better ratings. So, make sure to include ratings for products in your ads.
Focus on top products
While running your ads, pay special attention to your analytics and make sure to use shopping ads for boosting your top-performing products. This will not only give your business the needed traction and generate interest regarding related products, but will also help to improve your quality score and give you better ad positions.
We hope that by now one thing is clear: if you're an e-commerce business, you can’t afford to give Google Shopping Ads a miss. By leveraging their power, you gain the ability to display informative and intuitive ads that make use of the right copy and images to convey information to the right crowd. And as they appear in the top position on Google, you can be sure to grab your target audience’s attention.
Granted, setting them up has a bit of a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to experiment with the many features of the platform. By doing so, you can be sure to hit upon the right combination for your business.