How Google Shopping ads offer unique value to brands & retailers
What’s the one platform you can use to list ads and get loads of impressions and clicks from users throughout the funnel? Google, of course. And Google Shopping is the advertising powerhouse that enables businesses around the globe to speak to Googlers. Whether you’re selling t-shirts, family trips, or used cars – even if you’re selling products at brick-and-mortar locations – Google Shopping ads can help. Plus, Google offers the analytics tools that makes managing campaigns (and quantifying returns) easy.
However, in order to list products on Google Shopping, you’ll first need to compile a Google Shopping feed and upload it to Google. That feed needs to follow Google’s unique requirements and also be fully optimized for Google users.
Let’s start with the feed, and then move on to campaigns and ROI.
What are Google Shopping ads?
Google Shopping ads are perhaps most known for appearing in the organic SERP listing of Google searches. They can be served in branded, unbranded, or even local searches. They also appear in Google Shopping and on Google Search Partner websites like YouTube.
In the past, they have been called product ads, Google Product ads, Google Product Listing ads, Google PLAs, and… that’s mostly it.
Where do ads appear on Google?
Google ads are most known for appearing in the SERP. When a user googles an item, the related product ads can appear either above the search results as images or to the side, separate from the text ads.
However, they can also appear in Google Shopping, in participating countries, and in Google Search Partner websites like YouTube.
Google Shopping feeds & specs
While Google Shopping makes it very easy to generate and deliver personalized ads, it does require one little thing to get started:
a tailored product data feed.
How do I create a Google Shopping feed?
Extract and compile product data from relevant sources, e.g. your shop system, Shopify, BigCommerce
Adapt your data Google’s feed requirements
Complete and optimize your data feed attributes according to campaign needs
Upload data to Google, and regularly upload new data to keep information up-to-date
If you’re a small retailer, you may adapt and enhance your feed using Excel. However, if you’re a larger business or have complex feeds, you’ll likely need to use software like Productsup in order to make bulk edits and maintain clear, reliable oversight of your many products. Solutions like this exist to help with Google Shopping feed automation and optimization.
To set up a Merchant Center account, check out the video below.
Your Google Shopping campaigns
You can create campaigns in either Ads or Merchant Center. In Google Merchant Center: you need only go to the Ads tab and click Create Shopping Campaign. From here, enter a campaign name, country of sale, and budget. Though the Merchant Center is the faster method, the real work will happen in Google Ads.
To start within Ads: just click + Campaign and then select Shopping. Here you can determine bidding, budget, locations, and other usual campaign settings.
Meet image requirements
It’s important to note that, especially for Google, not just any image will do. Be absolutely certain to follow their ad image requirements.
- Minimum size: 100 x 100 pixels*
- Maximum size: 64 megapixels
*For apparel products, minimum is 250 x 250 pixels
Google Shopping ad image rules
Don’t scale up images
Only use photos of the actual product
Only show one product per image
Don’t submit thumbnails
Don’t use borders
No watermarks or logos
No graphics or illustrations
No promotional text
Use gorgeous images
These strict rules are in place to ensure high quality and reliability among all of Google’s advertisers. Because the platform boasts such an incredible reach, it’s important to Google that ad images are clean and consistent. Never mess with these rules. Just take gorgeous, realistic photos, and let your products do the advertising.
Image quality matters. Users don’t click on an ad just because the title sounded cool. It was the image that compelled them to look, read, and then click. High-quality images are an absolute requirement for Google Shopping ads.
Choose ad type
You’ll need to choose an ad format before you can launch your Google Shopping campaign.
Product Shopping Ads feature just one product per ad. This is most useful when users are searching for more specific items.
This Google tool tracks what happens after a user has taken a specific, pre-defined “conversion action.” This could be clicking an ad, subscribing to your newsletter, making purchases in your app, or something similar. You can define Conversion Actions within Google Ads.
To determine whether your site needs Conversion Tracking enabled, answer these two short questions: will you be using enhanced CPC? Would you like to be analyzing user behavior after they engage with your ads? If the answer to either of these is yes, enable the Conversion Tracking tool sooner rather than later.
This process will involve installing the tag on your website or using Google Tag Manager. It’s very specific, so please check out the complete instructions here
Now, you should have your data feed ready and understand all your options on Google.
The next step is simply to start exporting. For more info, help, and tips, check out our suggested reading on the topic below.