Google Shopping – Tips for Beginners

Google Shopping is a great platform for online retailers to reach customers, but is often fairly misunderstood and underutilised. It works differently to Google Ads and organic search. You won’t be able to leverage the latest SEO hacks. And you won’t spend ages writing and optimizing text ads. You are targeting people who are specifically looking for your products and, when used correctly, Google Shopping can produce very high quality site traffic, higher click-through rates than search, and higher conversions due to the relevancy of ads to consumers.

Right, so here are some tips for when you get started:

Get your product feed ready

Once your AdWords and Google Merchant Centre accounts are set up and you’ve created a new campaign, you’ll need to upload your product feed. If you’re using a feed management tool such as Shopping Feeder, you’ll be able to integrate your accounts and your feed will automatically be adjusted for Google Shopping feed requirements. You can then easily make further adjustments to the feed via the tool. If not, you’ll have to ensure that your feed contains the required product attributes. Remember, if your product feed doesn’t match your website, Google will not show your product ads so, unless you have the time to upload your feed manually often, it is best to use a tool which will update every few hours.

Google Merchant Centre: data feed overview

  • Google Shopping doesn’t use keywords to determine ad relevancy – so make sure your feed copy is keyword rich but, more importantly, appealing and easily readable for your shoppers.
  • Images are key! No edited or watermarked images are allowed, they need to simply and beautifully display the product to meet Google’s criteria and attract customer’s attention.

Spend time creating your Ad Groups

Once your product feed is uploaded, you’ll choose Ad Groups to organize your ads. It is worth spending some time doing this initially. If your feed is small (200 products or less), you may choose to have just one Ad Group. Segmenting your product feed into different ad groups allows you to bid differently on each group (remember you aren’t bidding on keywords). Initially, your campaign will have 1 group containing “all products”, which you can then segment into smaller product groups – with a different bid per group. For example, you may want to segment all of your products into 2 “clothes” and “shoes” groups, and then segment those further into brand and style. i.e. Nike Running Shoes may have a different bid to Levis Mens Jeans.

  • Google will automatically place products that are not categorized into an “Everything Else” group, which is often included by default when adjusting campaigns – watch out for this!
  • While you can’t necessarily leverage keywords in Shopping, you can add negative keywords to Ad Groups– which excludes that group from searches with that term.
  • If you have a small data feed, it’s best to have groups based on item ID so you can set bids per product.
  • Once your campaign has been running for a while, segment your best sellers into their own group so you can keep a special eye on them.
  • You should bid lower that you would usually on a search network. It is recommended to start at $.50 – $1. Changing a bid is easy and should immediately affect product performance.
  • Give mobile ads a go, but do keep an eye on them. Many retailers find that mobile is not profitable for more expensive products ($100 or more).
  • Although Google Shopping gives some metric benchmarks as guidance, use these only as a guide and ensure you are continuously reviewing your own benchmarks, based on industry feedback and your own ad performance. Cost per conversion is the best metric to use but might take you a while to get your head around.

Remember, Shopping is different

Google Shopping is not like your other campaigns, and many retailers get frustrated at the lack of control they feel they have over campaigns. You cannot use the complex tricks and tools you’ve learnt for search, and you might need to unlearn some of your habits and relearn a strategy for Google Shopping. But don’t be afraid to experiment with Shopping. Products that didn’t stand a chance on search may surprise you, and making small segmentation and bidding adjustments may reap immediate, great results.

We’ll be creating a guide to explore Google Shopping in much more detail shortly. In the meantime, please get in touch with us if you’d like any further information on Shopping Feeder’s integration with Google Shopping and how it can benefit your online store.

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