Introduction to Google Shopping Ads - an easy beginners guide on how to get your small business started.

What are Google Shopping ads?

Why doesn't every advertiser use Google's Shopping Ads?

Setting up your Merchant Center account and how to add your products to your Google Ads account

Setting up your Google Shopping campaigns

What are Google Shopping ads?

Shopping Ads by Google have always been an excellent and effective way of advertising products for eCommerce businesses. All data suggests that Shopping ads are a must have for businesses whose main goal is to generate revenue through the sale of products.

Shopping ads are the ads at the top of the search engine results page that display a product, title, price and brand. They are the first thing you’ll see when searching for a product on Google, grabbing your attention straight away.

Google Shopping Ads Examples - Inflatable Paddle Boards

Some of the main benefits of Google Shopping Ads over other ad formats are:

Attention grabbing - clear product offerings including images and prices to attract buyers making them more likely to click and land on your page.

Better quality leads - Shopping ads provide people with information on your product prior to clicking on your ads, reducing the bounce rate and increasing your chance of a purchase.

Higher conversion rates- compared to Search ads, Shopping ads have on average a 26% higher conversion rate and a 23% cheaper cost-per-click which in turn can give a major boost to your potential ROI.

Broader reach- more than one of your products can appear at a time, unlike with search ads where only one of your ads will appear.

Why doesn’t everyone use Google Shopping Ads?

Google Shopping campaigns have been available now for over 4 years, launched first back in early 2017 and have been a great hit since. With one exception, the setup process can be complicated and time consuming, I would say “short term pain, long term gain”. However, this is often too difficult for many small business advertisers who don’t have professional assistance.

The biggest hurdle to successfully setting up a Shopping Campaign is the product feed.

The product feed is as Google describe it "a feed is a file made up of a list of products that use groupings of attributes that define each one of your products in a unique way.” Putting together this feed of your products can be time consuming and unless done correctly can often lead to errors, not ideal if you’re a small business owner who’s time is precious enough as it is.

Fortunately for everyone, professionals included, as of 2020 Google has made “Website Crawling” possible for products allowing you to automatically extract a feed from your website, brilliant! Thanks to this update, Shopping ads have never been easier.

Next, I’m going to talk you through the now simple steps you need to take to get started and advertise your products with Google Shopping ads.

Getting started with your Merchant Center account and adding products to your account

Before we start there is one caveat that you should be aware of. In order for Google to create an automated feed for you, you will need what's known as Structured Data Mark-up in place on your website. If you're using eCommerce platforms such as Magento, OpenCart or Prestashop, Shopify and WooCommerce will come with structured data already integrated.

If you’re not sure that your site has the proper structured data, use the structured data Google Structured Data Testing Tool.

Step 1: Setting up a Merchant Center Account

The first thing we need to do is create a Google Merchant Center account. To get started you’ll first need a Gmail account and Google Analytics set up on your website. If you don’t have analytics set up then you can still create a Merchant Center account but you’ll need to verify your website using an alternative method.

Visit: https://www.google.com/retail/solutions/merchant-center/

Step 2: Sign-up/sign-in

Step 3: Enter your business details

Google Merchant Center For Google Shopping Ads - Enter Your Business Details

Select whether you agree to the terms and conditions and whether you would like updates from Google regarding Merchant Center. Next, select how you would like to have your products displayed on Google.

Surfaces across Google mean that your products can be show organically. However, as they are not ads they will not likely be displayed on the search engine results page.

Select this option in any case as it’s free! Be sure to also tick “shopping ads”.

Google Shopping Ads -  Objectives

Once you’re happy with the details, simply click “continue” then “create account”.

Step 4: Adding your products

Now that you’re all signed singed up you will need to first verify your website which you can do by going to:

Settings > Business Information > Website

Enter your Website URL here.

Google Shopping ads - Adding Products

Once verified you will be asked to claim your website. If you are signing in using the same Gmail account that you use to access your Google Analytics then should be able to claim the website straight away.

Google Shopping ads- Adding products

Next, it’s time to add products. Return to the home screen and select “products” in the menu on the left hand side, if you don’t have any feeds set up yet you should see the below:

Google shopping ads- adding products

Next select “Create Product Feed” on the list of feed options select “Website crawl”.

Google shopping ads- adding products

The website will then be crawled and all necessary information will be extracted. This can take a couple of day to complete, but once done, you’ll have an automatically populated feed, ready to link to your Google Ads account. You can link your Google Ads account but going to the settings section of the Merchant Center and clicking on “Linked Accounts” If you are signed in with the same email as your Google Ads account then your account should appear here, ready for you to click “link”.

Setting up your Google Ads Shopping Campaigns

Completing the merchant center sign up and creating your product feed is usually the most tricky, now comes the easy part (in theory), setting up your campaign.

Log into the Google Ads platform and navigate to campaigns and click the blue plus button to create a new campaign.

Google Ads shopping campaigns - setting up

Next, choose your goal, most likely “Sales”. Using a goal eases your decision-making when you create a campaign in Google Ads by guiding you to the specific features designed to help your campaign succeed.

For your campaign type, select “Shopping” and then select the Merchant Center account that contains your product feed.

Google ads shopping campaigns setting up

In the next steps you’ll need to fill in some campaign information, just like with any other campaign, including campaign name, budget and target location. Once your campaign has been created you will be able to make your Ads!

There are two ad formats available.

1.) Product Shopping - single product shopping ads (most commonly used).

2.) Showcase Shopping - multiple product ads, that allow you to advertise a range of products.

Product and showcase ads for Google Shopping campaigns

Once you’ve selected your ad format and chosen a name for your product ad group you’re pretty much done! As Google already has all your product details thanks to the product feed you have no need to upload images, write descriptions or select keywords.

If you don’t want all of your products to have ads for them or would specifically like to only advertise some of your products then you can specify which products you would like in your campaign. Simply go to the “Product Group” section of the campaign and select which products you would like to be excluded.

Google Shopping Ads User interface example

A great way of controlling your budget, and ensuring that your higher value products receive more exposure is to create multiple campaigns. Separating your products either by the product type, or by “High priority” or “Low priority” products. Setting up new shopping campaigns now should be easy.

So, get going and start using one of the most effective campaign formats for selling products.

Want help with your Google Shopping campaigns?

Reach out to us in the CampaignHero app for our support or learn more about Google Shopping ads on our webinar.

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