Google Shopping Ads: The Key to Unlocking E-commerce Success

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You’ve probably seen one of these ads before. You’re searching for something and products for sale appear at the top of the page, virtually impossible to ignore. These are known as Google Shopping Ads. Keep reading to learn the ins and outs of this advertising method to see if you can use them in your own advertising efforts! 

What are Google Shopping Ads?

When users on google search for a keyword or specific product, ads appear on top of the result page, just above text or search ads, if there are any.

Shopping Ads are also relatively easy to set up, given that you already have a linked Google Merchant Center account and have already set up both conversion value tracking and remarketing. If you’re just starting out, Google recommends using Smart Shopping campaigns

Before you start setting up Google Shopping ads, we’d like to note that Google Shopping ads might be most helpful for e-commerce sites rather than B2B or SaaS businesses. Because these type of ads show product images, price, etc., it might be difficult to consolidate relevant data to display shopping ads for a digital marketing agency, for example.

If you have an e-commerce site, though, here’s a quick step-by-step process for setting up your Shopping ads.

  • Sign in to your Google ads and choose “Campaigns” in the left-side menu.
  • Add a new campaign using the “plus” button on the upper left side of the “Campaigns page.”
  • Choose “Sales” as your goal and “Shopping” as the campaign type. 
  • Select your merchant center account and select your region.
  • On the next page, you can name your campaign, select your budget, and your bidding strategy, 
  • Then choose the products you want to advertise.
  • Save and your campaign is set!

Tip: While adding all of your products in one go is way easier, you can also choose to set a different campaign for specific groups of products. This is especially helpful if you have a different budget for different groups or have different goals. 

why should you use Google Shopping Ads?

Simple: reach, leads, and report.

With how things on the internet work nowadays, it seems anything Google equates to reach. No matter the Bings and the TikToks of the world, Google still holds the title of being the world’s top-ranked search engine. Brands have continued putting their money in Google ads because it produces results seeing as it has a market share of 83.84%, with a whopping 63% of people having clicked a Google ad. 

Using Google shopping ads also gives you better quality leads. See, if someone is already looking for a specific thing, and they take the time to search for the product on Google AND clicked an ad, you can reasonably assume that they are interested. Because shopping ads have a picture of the product, the price, and other details, interested customers are only clicking ads for products they like the looks of and a price they’re willing to pay. They’re already further down the sales funnel compared to someone who just saw one of your ads on a social media platform. 

Lastly, Google provides in-depth reports and comprehensive data to help you evaluate whether a particular strategy is right for your brand. It can tell you which products are well-received and which aren’t. Details that you want to see are easily customizable and can be compared to benchmarks also provided by the platform. 

How much does it cost?

Like most Google ad formats, your campaign will first go through an ad auction. Costs will vary depending on factors such as industry, keywords, target audience, etc. Google Shopping ads use a cost-per-click (CPC) pricing model, which means you only get billed when someone clicks on your ad. However, you’d be glad to know that most shopping ads cost less than a dollar per click, with an average of $0.66. Even the most expensive industry, Office and Business has an average of around $1.09 per click. 

Best Practices

To give you a headstart on Google Shopping ads, here are some best practices you can follow:

Go back to your product feed.

Remember the part where you connect your Merchant Center account? Since Google Shopping ads get your product data from the Merchant Center, which, in turn, gets data from your product feed, it’s important that it’s up to date. 

Make it visually appealing.

Human beings are highly visual. This means visually pleasing food is more appetizing or that 61% of people will repurchase an expensive product if it’s packaged luxuriously. In the same way, product images on the internet are an influencing factor in consumers’ purchasing decisions. Product-first images are beneficial because customers want to see what they’re buying, even through the screen and in the comfort of their own homes. 

Pay attention to keywords.

Since shopping ads operate by showing potential customers your products based on the keywords they searched for, it’s important that you’ve maximized the keywords you’ve used in your product description. When we say keywords, it does not mean you can “set” keywords for your ads. Unlike other ads, which allow you to do so, Shopping ads will be generated by Google based on your product data. So, ensure product data such as description, MPN, price, color, size, and other relevant information is present. 

Use negative keywords.

Speaking of keywords, while Shopping ads do not allow users to set keywords to trigger the ads, they do allow you to set negative keywords. Negative keywords mean you don’t want your ad shown when a user uses certain keywords to search for a product. If you don’t know which keywords are “negative,” you can look at the page for “search terms.” The page includes the number of clicks and the sales they generate. When clicks are high, but sales are low, the keyword isn’t as effective. 

Start small.

This is probably true for most ad campaigns out there. If you’re still testing the waters and not quite sure of what you’re doing yet, don’t blow your ad budget just yet! Start small to make room for mistakes, because there will be mistakes. Take this chance to make sure that your ads are doing well, focus on the quality of your ads over the quantity of people it’s shown. If you feel like you’re on steady ground, then you can increase your ad spend. 

Experiment with A/B testing.

Sometimes, small changes can make or break your ad campaigns. Should the jacket be worn by a model or should it be displayed by itself? Does the product tile need some tweaking? Test two versions and see which works better. But be careful to not make too drastic of a change! Shopping campaigns can be sensitive and making too many changes at once can set your whole campaign off-course. Making too many changes will also make it difficult which are actually working and which changes are irrelevant. 

Browse for related ads.

Scope the competition! Not to copy them, but maybe for inspiration on what works or for you to analyze what the top results or top selling products are including in their product data. For example, if you sell women’s dresses, then search for that keyword. See which products are first in the results. Analyze what their product image looks like. Is their product expensive or inexpensive relative to yours? Do they provide free shipping? How did they name the product? These details can help you optimize your own campaigns and make them more effective. 

Understand Performance Max Campaigns

In the steps to setting up your Google Shopping Ad, (after step 4) there is a prompt that allows you to choose between “Performance Maz campaign” and “Standard Shopping campaign.” We would recommend you choose the former. Performance Max allows you to maximize your campaigns by showing your campaign across Google’s multiple ad surfaces – YouTube, Display, Search, Discovery, Gmail, and Maps. Google Shopping Ads can also fall under Performance Max Campaigns. It’s automated! This means that you don’t have to manually set up each advertising channel because Google sets it up for you with details from one single campaign, in this case, a Google Shopping Ad campaign. If you want to learn more about Performance Max campaigns, check out our post on everything you need to know about Performance Max campaigns.

Running an E-commerce store can be very challenging. Considering the estimated 12-24 million sites around the world, to say the competition is tough would be a gross understatement. Running ads, especially on a platform like Google, would greatly help in increasing your sales. While the learning curve can be steep, and there are a lot of mistakes to be done, the process will become easier and more “automatic” for you as you get used to it. Later on, you’ll be experimenting on other tactics, all designed to increase the effectiveness of your ads. 

Give Google Shopping Ads a try! If you need help with starting, we can help you make your strategy for Google Shopping ads and other advertising channels. Just schedule a free strategy session with one of our team members!


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