Along with SEO, Google Shopping Ads are designed to help businesses drive relevant traffic to their websites that turns into leads or sales. For some retailers, Google Shopping ads account for over 60% of their paid clicks!
Google Shopping Ads experience high click-through rates because they serve customers at the end of the sales funnel ready to purchase products, so it's little wonder that 80% of all eCommerce businesses rely on them to boost sales.
Regardless of whether you're a new brand or an established eCommerce business, you should be setting aside some advertising budget for Google Shopping Ads. In this guide, we'll teach you how to create ads with a high ROI.
Google Shopping refers to Google’s comparison shopping network and to its advertising platform. When most talk about Google Shopping, they’re referring to Google’s comparison shopping engine (CSE) where shoppers can search for any product and compare prices and models from different merchants. This component of Google Shopping works as a product research and discovery hub.
The other side of Google Shopping is the search engine’s advertising platform. Google Shopping uses pay-per-click advertising. Pay-per-click or PPC is a model of advertising where the advertiser pays a fee each time one of their ads is clicked on.
For Google Shopping Ads to appear in search engine results, you can’t just pay more. Instead, Google Ads are subject to Ad Auctions—an automated process that Google uses to determine the relevance and validity of ads that appear in search engine results (SERPs).
In a nutshell, these advertisements appear to customers who actively search for keywords (on Google search) relating to what your business sells. Shopping Ads display product details like images, star ratings, promotions, local availability, and more. They can also be displayed on Google partner sites and properties like YouTube and Gmail.
Any online store offering products easily definable and which have several targeted keywords attributed to them can benefit from Google Shopping ads. Their targeted nature means your shopping ads will only appear to potential customers already searching for your products.
Research shows Google Shopping Ads generate 26% higher conversion rates and have a 23% lower cost-per-click than text ads. Part of why they return a high ROI and are cost-effective is because you only pay when a potential customer actually reaches your website. You also have complete control over your budget, spending as little or as much as you deem fit.
Google Shopping Ads are located at the top and side of Google search results pages (SERPs)—even higher than paid search ads! The higher your products rank in search engines, the higher your click-through rates. When your ads’ keywords match the product ads that searchers find, there is a good chance they’ll click on your ad and be redirected to your shopping page.
In a marketing context, “show don’t tell” means helping your audience see the value of what you do or offer. With Google Shopping Ads, consumers immediately see your products, prices, and reviews, i.e., the most important information, first. Remember, shopping is a visual experience, and shoppers browsing online rely on images and visual content to bring them closer to a purchasing decision.
Search intent is used to describe the purpose of an online search. Unlike traditional advertising that interrupts consumers, Google Shopping Ads only appear when your clients are actively looking for your products.
It falls under the inbound marketing methodology whereby a business attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. After all, anyone who does a search for your business or products hopes to find you online.
Not everyone who uses Google Shopping is at the bottom of the sales funnel; they may be at the evaluation stage comparing products and brands. An advantage of Shopping Ads is they can nudge these leads further down the sales funnel due to a better price or more positive reviews. If Google finds a person’s search term has a clear intention that can improve your bottom line, it will show your ads to the person searching.
According to the data, Google Shopping Ads produce 12% more revenue per click on average than normal search ads—and that’s in addition to $2 revenue for every $1 spend that pay-per-click advertising already offers. Traffic generated through PPC yields 50% more conversions than organic traffic. (Bear in mind though, that PPC is a short-term solution and should be used together with SEO.)
Now, you’re probably wondering what Google Shopping Ads cost. This depends on keyword bids, quality score, click-through rates and your competitors.
To give you a general benchmark, the overall CPC is $0.66 with an average conversion rate of 1.91%. However, depending on the industry, this can be as high as 5%. A few rare businesses may even achieve a CTR of 50% or more.
Comparatively, the average click-through rate for display ads across all industries is 0.35%. So, you can see that Google Shopping Ads offer roughly six times more value. While these statistics provide ROI estimates, the real performance of your ads is determined by your marketing approach.
All three types of Google Ads are pay-per-click. The difference is how and where they are displayed online. Each is used to strategically boost brand awareness and drive sales.
Google Display Ads are visual-based ads you come across while reading articles on your favorite websites, watching videos on YouTube or using a mobile app. They are served on websites and apps that belong to the Google Display Network (GDN), a collection of websites that have agreed to show Google Ads.
These text-based ads are shown at the top of Google’s search results pages to reach the maximum number of people interested in the products and services you offer. The benefit of search ads is they’re displayed in the same format as organic listings (except for denoting them “Ad”) and they’re keyword-based, meaning they correlate directly to search intent.
Google Shopping Ads are product-based ads that show up when someone searches for a product across Google and Google Shopping. They’re created using data from product information you submit in the Google Merchant data feed.
These ads are more than just text. They’re displayed as thumbnail images along with each product’s retailer and price. For instance, if your eCommerce website sells tables and potential customers search for “tables” on Google, they’ll be presented with Google Shopping results and ads at the top of the page, as well as a list of organic results (websites) that relate to sneakers beneath those ads in the normal search results.
Organic website listings are determined by Google’s algorithms. Similarly, Google Shopping displays products more useful and relevant to searches. Strategically placed Shopping Ads from your eCommerce store can also appear there, giving customers direct access to your store.
Google Shopping is easy to set up and manage. It seamlessly integrates with other Google products like Google Analytics, and with it, you can create ads and monitor the progress of your smart shopping campaigns all in one place.
To create a Google Merchant account, you need a Google account. Most businesses have one, but if you don’t, it’s super easy to set up. Once you’re done, go to Google Merchant Center and sign in with your existing Google account or the new one you’ve just created.
At this point, you’ll need to fill in information about your store. Enter your company’s name, your shop’s name (if there’s a DBA), and the country you’re registered in. Now, you’re ready to add your products and launch your campaigns!
Shopify’s Google channel automatically syncs your product and relevant store information with Google’s Merchant Center. Therefore, you can update your Google product listings directly from your Shopify admin. Eligible stores selling in the US can appear in relevant Google Shopping tab search listings for free.
To get your products to appear in Google Shopping (either free or as ads), you’ll need an app to connect your BigCommerce store to Google. You can use BigCommerce’s Channel Manager, or Google Shopping in the App Marketplace to find the best app. Once you’ve installed the app, go to Channel Manager and click + Create Channel. Under Ads and Social, click Connect next to Google Ads.
WooCommerce doesn’t provide a solution for generating feeds for Google Shopping. However, there are many paid and free plugins available that essentially take the products on your online store and export them in the correct file format to submit to Google Merchant Center. While every plugin varies in functionality, you’ll generally be able to configure different parts of the feed to suit your store’s requirements.
It’s worth mentioning Google Shopping isn’t just a paid ad-driven environment and has a free standard or enhanced listing option. This listing can either be submitted in the Merchant Center or via a structured data markup and will appear across Google Search, Google Images, etc.
Although the enhanced listing option requires more product data attributes and higher data quality standards, it appears in more places: the Shopping tab, YouTube, Google Search, Google Images, etc. Obviously, free listings have some benefits; however, the search engine provides paid ads with more visibility and consequently, a better click-through rate.
If free listings were as successful, there would no point in paying. Of course, this is not the case. While they’re better than nothing if your business is cash-strapped, their conversions are nowhere nearly as high.
Like all other aspects of digital marketing, optimization is required to truly maximize the benefits of Google Shopping Ads.
Shopping ads are powered by product groups instead of keywords to organize inventory and place effective bids Ad groups within a shopping campaign can have up to 20,000 product groups. You’ll want to avoid putting the same products into different groups as this will cause you to compete with yourself during bids.
Using Ad groups ensures your product shopping ads are as relevant as possible to the search query. You can choose which attribute to divide products by and also subdivide groups if you want more refined results. Once you’ve organized your ad groups, you should create the perfect landing page for each group to maximize conversions.
A good product image catches your customer’s eyes and makes a positive first impression. Google already has a strict set of image guidelines, which most merchants follow, so you really have to go the extra mile to stand out. According to Google’s image policy, you may not upload product images with watermarks, brand names or logos.
We recommend publishing images of your products from multiple angles and including lifestyle images too. The former allows customers to see products clearly, while the latter illustrates how they’re used in “real life.” Conducting A/B tests with several images will help you determine which visuals convert best.
There are four main reasons to use negative keywords in your shopping campaigns: to reduce advertising costs, increase click-through rates, direct traffic to the most appropriate ads, and keep ad groups and campaigns as honest as possible.
For example, if you sell men’s suits, your ad may be triggered by people searching for women’s suits too. In such as case, excluding the keyword phrase ‘women’s suits’ would be beneficial since you want to avoid paying for clicks from customers who almost certainly don’t want to buy those products from you.
To find unrelated keywords look at user queries that generate many visits but no transactions, then set them as negative keywords in the keywords tab of Google Ads.
Google Shopping titles are one of the most prominent parts of your listings, so the more relevant and engaging they are, the higher your click-through rate will be. When crafting your titles, we recommend:
To give you an example, a weak title would be “Nike Sneakers,” whereas “Nile Court Legacy Women’s Sneaker Black White” is far stronger.
The quality of your landing pages determines how many clicks turn into purchases and also affects how Google Ads calculates your Quality Score. The more relevant your landing pages are to your chosen keyword, the higher your Quality Score. Generally, a high Quality Score in Google Ads means a lower cost per conversion.
Furthermore, when a potential customer clicks on your ad, they expect to land on a page that’s relevant to what you advertised. If they don’t, they’re more likely to leave, which defeats the point of Shopping Ads.
Not all Google Ads yield favorable results. Weeding out and removing low performers is key to avoiding wasted ad spend. There are two types of unprofitable ads. The first gets a ton of traffic but no conversions and the second attracts expensive conversions.
The reasons for this are numerous; it could be because your Google Ads campaigns don’t match user intent, your landing pages aren’t optimized or your sales funnel isn’t clearly defined, or simply that you aren’t testing campaign variables enough. Either way, this emphasizes the importance of continuous monitoring and optimization.
Did you know you can adjust your bids by schedule, location or device? A smart bidding strategy starts slightly lower than what you’ve budgeted. Only once you begin collecting data, should you adjust your bids to improve performance.
Moreover, if you sell products in multiple locations, you can use geographic bid modifiers to increase your bid in lucrative markets and conversely lower it in low-volume or low-traffic markets.
You can also use a similar tactic and adjust your bidding strategy to accommodate different devices. For instance, if most of your conversions come from mobile devices, then you’ll want to focus your bids there and not on desktop computers.
Paying attention to the times of day when conversions are highest is also important. In this case, you should focus your bids on popular times to derive the most value for money.
According to Google, “a feed is a file within your [Google Merchant Center account] that contains a list of products you want to appear on Google. When you add your products, you assign attributes to each one, which your product feed uses to group products together.”
Many online store owners think that by merely listing products they’ll get the sales they want. However, you still need to optimize your feed to get better results. This includes your product titles, images, categories, offer prices, and website design.
The visibility of your Google Shopping campaigns depends on the thoroughness of your shopping feed. There is a direct correlation between the work you put in and the value you get out of it. The more detailed and accurate your feed is, the better.
Be warned, it is a time-consuming process, and it’s within your interests to conduct competitor research. Here are a few questions/observations to consider:
Google Smart Shopping campaigns take your existing campaigns and use AI to automate the bidding process and improve them. Then, the campaign intelligently places these ads across different Google interfaces using the smart bidding strategies you choose.
This campaign subtype suits vendors with smaller budgets and less time to manage a Google Ads account or who have no experience with PPC advertising. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t provide as much transparency about traffic percentages, so in the end, it’s better to run manual campaigns where you’ll also have full control over your budget.
A word of caution: If you’re running two separate ads for the same products or groups of products, Smart Shopping campaigns will take priority. Therefore, you should pause other campaigns as they’ll waste your ad spend and won’t deliver results.
The first thing you need to do to be able to run Google Shopping Campaigns is to create a Merchant Center Account. Once you’ve completed the registration, you’ll be directed to the Google Merchant Center dashboard where you can fill in your business and product details, as well as tax and shipping information.
We suggest familiarizing yourself with the Merchant Center guidelines to make sure your business is fully compliant before setting up your product feed and Shopping campaign.
There are two ways to create a product feed: manually or atomically. The manual set-up requires you to enter product data into a spreadsheet. In the Merchant Center, select Products > Feeds, then click the plus sign and follow the instructions.
Stores hosted on Shopify, BigCommerce, or Magento (Adobe Commerce) typically have access to the automated option where you can leverage the platform your online store is hosted on to integrate product information with your Merchant Center.
Once you’ve linked your Merchant Center and your Google Ads account, you’ll want to log in to your Google Ads dashboard, select Campaigns and then click the plus sign. From here, you can select Sales > Shopping to create your campaign.
The bidding and budget setting you choose will largely depend on your business. Some useful advice if you’re just starting:
We understand it’s a long, time-consuming process to create effective Google Shopping advertising campaigns that deliver a good return on ad spend. Comrade Digital Marketing creates powerful Google Ad campaigns for our clients, as well as websites and landing pages for eCommerce businesses that convert visitors into paying customers.
In addition, we build marketing campaigns and offer pay-per-click optimization to improve existing campaigns, so companies reach thousands of new customers every day. Give us a call at (312) 265-0580, or get in touch online, and we’ll show you the possibilities that a well-planned Google Shopping campaign brings.
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