You've probably noticed those eye-catching ads while searching for something on Google. For instance, let's say you're a coffee fan on the hunt for the perfect espresso machine. You type "espresso machines" into the Google search bar. Just like that, a line-up of sleek espresso makers appears right at the top of your search results. Clicking on the ‘Shopping’ tab takes you to even more options. If a product catches your eye and you want to learn more, you can select an advert to bring up more details, all without leaving Google. You can even compare prices for the same coffee machine from different vendors. Pretty handy, right?
That’s the power – and simplicity – of Google Shopping Ads (previously known as product listing ads.) Want to discover how you can boost your product sales using this tool? Keep reading our comprehensive guide.
What are Google Shopping Ads?
What makes Google Shopping Ads better at attracting traffic to your online store than your standard AdWords campaign? It’s their visual appeal. Right next to an enticing image are the essential details like price, customer reviews, and special offers. Think of them like window shopping but in the digital age.
Unlike AdWords, shopping ads do away with the complexity of keyword bidding. Instead, you put together a product feed, and Google's clever algorithm decides which keywords should trigger your products in searches.
Shopping Ads perform impressively. You can choose to start small and play around with what works, then easily scale up your ad campaigns. So, if you're after effective, budget-friendly ads with less hassle, Google Shopping Ads could be the way to go.
Setting up your Google Merchant Center
To get started, you'll need to set up a Google Merchant Center account. Don't worry; it's not as complicated as it sounds. Head over to the Merchant Center website, create an account, and verify your website. Once that's done, you can start adding your product listings.
Optimizing your product feed
Your product feed contains the information you give to Google to create your ads. The better you optimize your feed, the more successful your campaigns will be. To better track your order fulfillment, centralizing and syncing all order information across sales channels in one place is crucial. You’ll always know your order status to manage store operations effectively.
Below are some of the essential features of a high-performing product feed on Google.
High-quality product images
Shoppers want to see exactly what they’re buying. You don’t need to invest in professional photography or high-end equipment, but make sure your images are high-resolution and well-lit.
Photograph your products on plain, uncluttered backgrounds, and remember to include images from different angles and close-ups of any special details or features.
Detailed product titles
Product titles aren’t the place to show off all the singing and dancing features of your product, so keep it brief and to the point. At the same time, make sure you include an accurate description of your product and any relevant keywords.
For example, a title like "Red Leather Men's Sneakers – Size 10" tells shoppers exactly what they're getting.
While product titles should focus on the essential features shoppers are searching for, your product descriptions are where you can bring your products to life.
Tell a story about your product in the description, making sure to weave in the essential product data. Imagine you're talking to a friend about how great your product is – keep it casual and informative.
Nobody wants a nasty surprise when they reach checkout, so make sure your product prices are up-to-date and accurate. That includes being super clear about any discounts or promotions.
Don‘t leave your customers guessing when their order is likely to arrive. Include clear shipping information and be transparent about expected delivery times.
Creating your Google Shopping campaign
Now that your products are all set up, it's time to create your Google Shopping campaign.
Before you get started, think about what you are hoping to achieve with your campaign. Is it to drive more traffic to your website? Perhaps you’re looking to increase overall sales? Or is the aim of the game to promote specific products?
Additionally, you may consider incorporating an additional advertising campaign as part of your strategy to boost sales.
Google offers different bidding strategies. You can go for manual CPC (Cost-Per-Click) if you want to be in control, or let Google do the heavy lifting with automated bidding strategies like Target ROAS (Return on Ad Spend).
Geographic and device targeting
You can choose where and how your ads will appear. Perhaps you want to target specific countries or regions with your ads? Or, for example, if your data shows that a large number of your website visitors are using smartphones, you can fine-tune your strategy to cater to mobile commerce.
Negative keywords act like a filter, stopping your ads from appearing for irrelevant search queries. Why is this so useful? Well, you don't want to fritter away your valuable budget on displaying your ad to people who aren't interested.
For example, imagine you sell nz domain names. You would use negative keywords like "New Zealand wine” or "NZ travel tips," to shield your ads from showing up on those searches.
Optimizing your campaigns
Your campaign is up and running? Great! Now, let's optimize it for maximum sales.
Keep a watchful eye on how your campaign is performing. Is it bringing in the sales you hoped for? Look out for any underperforming products or keywords that might need tweaking.
If you notice that certain products are flying out the door, consider raising your bid for those items. On the flip side, if some products aren't shifting, reduce the bids to save money.
Tap into the power of seasonal marketing. Run promotions during the holidays, back-to-school, or any other relevant event.
A/B testing and ad scheduling
You're on the right track, but don't stop there. Take it up a notch with A/B testing and ad scheduling.
A/B testing: Think of this as a taste test for your ads. Create two versions of an ad with a slight difference – it could be the image, title, or description. You can see which one performs better and use this knowledge to improve your future ads.
Ad scheduling: Not all hours are created equal. Use ad scheduling to display your ads during peak shopping times. It's like opening your store just in time for the shopping rush.
Additionally, to further enhance your campaign optimization, consider integrating a point-of-sale system. This will help you streamline your sales process, track inventory, and gather valuable customer data in real-time. By using this system, you can make data-driven decisions and maximize the effectiveness of your Google Shopping Ads.
It's not only about timing but also about connecting with your international customers effectively. Imagine you run a worldwide online tech store catering to customers in various time zones. Displaying your ads in the middle of the night when search activity is minimal won't cut it. By using ad scheduling, you can precisely time when your ads appear. For instance, if you're targeting people in Brisbane looking to buy Australian domains, ad scheduling helps you ensure your services are showcased during the peak browsing hours of that specific region.
Remarketing and dynamic remarketing
Picture this: you were on the hunt for a remote desktop solution like RealVNC and explored some options online. Suddenly, ads start popping up everywhere, singing the praises of remote desktop solutions and their security features.
That's the magic of remarketing – it's that friendly nudge that gives potential customers a second chance, especially if they didn't quite make up their minds during their first visit. Data shows that remarketing can boost your bottom line, increasing conversion likelihood by 70% for returning website visitors.
Retargeted customers are up to three times more likely to engage with your ads. The beauty of retargeting is how seamlessly it syncs with Google Shopping, as it puts your Google Shopping Ads in front of people who've shown interest before.
Going a step further with dynamic remarketing, you show potential customers the exact products they viewed on your website with enticing visuals and prices. It's like whispering, "Hey, don't forget about this awesome deal!"
Analytics and data-driven decisions
Becoming a Google Shopping Ads expert isn't just about launching your ads and waiting around – it's about delving into the data. You need to understand what's performing well, what's falling short, and where some adjustments might be necessary.
Google Analytics is your trusty sidekick. It helps you better understand shopper behavior on your website, track their sources of origin, and identify what's hitting the mark or not. Want to gain more clarity over which specific ads are leading to actual sales?
Google Ads conversion tracking lets you do just that. When you know what's converting, you can allocate your budget wisely.
While Google Shopping Ads are a powerful tool, don't overlook other platforms like Microsoft ads, which can also provide significant traffic to your online store and can be a great addition to diversify your advertising strategy.
Your happy customers can be your biggest cheerleaders. So don't be shy about asking them to share their thoughts in reviews and put those glowing testimonials front and center on your product listings.
You can gather these positive reviews through various methods such as follow-up emails, incentives, or even by leveraging call center analytics reporting. In this approach, positive customer interactions are singled out, and automated post-call emails are sent, encouraging satisfied customers to leave reviews.
Dive in and keep learning
With more and more people turning to the internet to find what they need, Google Shopping Ads can be one of the most effective tools for boosting sales for your online store.
Just remember, online advertising isn't a one-size-fits-all deal. So don’t be afraid to jump in, try things out, and learn along the way with Productsup’s Advertising PX.