Google Shopping adverts are those sponsored results you often see when you search on Google for a particular product.
Previously known as product listing ads (and in the distant past, Froogle) these can be incredibly effective for ecommerce sellers. However, many small businesses are put off by the complexity involved.
You shouldn’t be. These adverts generally get the best clicks – the ones from buyers who are looking to make a purchase. And because they’ve seen your photo and the price, conversion rates (and return on investment) can be very good.
Before you start
You need to make sure your website and product information is the best it can be before you start advertising.
- Good product titles and descriptions which are keyword rich but also enticing. Google uses these to determine when to show your item so be as detailed as possible.
- Top quality photos that look good at the size shown on the search pages. Clear product shots on a plain background work best.
- A decent conversion rate. Iron out any checkout and conversion issues before you start paying for traffic (see this article for common problems).
- Google Analytics installed including ecommerce tracking so that you can measure your results.
Your Data Feed
Google Shopping works from a Data Feed – this is a file containing all your product information.
The specification for this is detailed (and can be daunting) but luckily most ecommerce shopping carts will create a Google Shopping feed for you. However, you should still read the specification because there are some key rules for the way you show your products and if you break them Google will not approve your items.
For example, all prices must include VAT. And if there is a minimum order quantity then the price shown on the Shopping advert must be the price for that quantity and not the single item price.
Once you have your data feed you need to create a Google Merchant Centre account where you give Google details of your file.
This is straightforward to set up and you should be able to see any issues with your data here.
Then you need to link your Merchant Centre Account with your Adwords Account. If you don’t already have an Adwords Account, create this before you start.
The final stage is to set up your Shopping Campaign in Google Adwords.
Log into Adwords and create a new campaign with campaign type “Shopping”
You’ll then be asked to link to your Merchant Account (or confirm it, if it’s already linked) and set the other parameters for your campaign – locations, default bid etc.
So now you have your Shopping campaign set up.
At this stage everything will be lumped together in a single ad group – All Products.
You can subdivide this so that you can track and adjust bids by different product groupings and even individual products. Click on the little pencil icon to start breaking things down.
Monitoring and Managing your Campaign
Once you have your Shopping campaign up and running, you’ll need to monitor it carefully.
Google will show you a couple of figures to guide you – Benchmark CTR and Benchmark CPC. CPC (Cost per click) is the amount Google thinks you should be bidding. CTR (Click through rate) is the typical rate of clicks. These can be helpful but don’ take them as gospel.
Cost per conversion (and ultimately return on investment) are the key figures you want to track.
There is a really useful report in Analytics which lets you see details for your Shopping campaigns.
Adjusting bids up and down can have a significant effect. However, there is usually a point where raising the bid simply increases impressions without bringing more clicks or conversions.
The Next Level
Once you have your campaign up and running and are comfortable with how it all works you’ll want to look at optimising your campaign to get the best returns.
You may want to:
Start creating different Ad Groups to manage bids more creatively.
Add promotional text to your ads (which appears when users hover over the image)
Adding custom labels to your data feed to let you segment your data in different ways. Some stores label best sellers so that they can increase bids on these items.
Google Shopping is a great way for boutique ecommerce businesses to compete with big brands and get visibility at the top of Google. If you are not using Shopping, then consider it now.
If you’d like help with setting up Google Shopping we can do this for you. Call 0161 883 1655 for a quote.