How to Get Started with Google Shopping Ads

Shopping online is great – how many times a day do you pick up your chosen device to Google something you want to purchase? Whether it’s online groceries, clothing or a very particular type of battery for a children’s toy…off to Google we go to find what we need and get it conveniently delivered to our homes.

Over half of UK shoppers are now shopping online, and online retail is set to increase by almost 30% by 2024. There’s a huge opportunity for businesses to grasp and it’s vital to stay competitive – Google’s Shopping Ads are one crucial tool for success that you can implement right now!

Read on to learn everything you need to know to get started.

Google Shopping Ads – a brief overview

If you’ve ever searched Google for a product then you’ve likely seen that row of product images across the top of your search results page.
Shoppers can also click on the ‘Shopping’ tab just below the search box to open an entire page full of results and use filters to narrow down their search.
Google Shop is a bit like an online marketplace (think Amazon) that lets users browse for the products they want in multiple stores based on their search query.
When a shopper clicks on a link, it takes them straight to the retailer’s website to continue browsing.
Google Shopping is a branch of Google AdWords that’s designed for online retailers to advertise their physical products. Unlike text-based ads, you can show more information, product price and review ratings to help increase your sales.

As well as giving your store extra visibility in a competitive market, Google Shopping is proven to have 30% higher conversion rates.

How it works

Due to the pandemic, in 2020 Google announced that their Shopping listings would be free for all retailers, which was amazing news. But of course, paid Shopping ads are placed in first position and you have more control over how they are displayed.

Similar to Search Ads, you pay each time someone clicks on one of your Shopping Ads.
Google Shopping’s average Cost Per Click (CPC) varies across niches but the average is around $0.66.

Get Started

1. Set up a Google Merchant Centre account

Whether you want to set up free or paid product advertisements, the first thing you need to do is set up a Google Merchant Centre account, if you don’t already have one. It’s pretty straightforward and you can sign-up here. You’ll fill in details about your website, checkout process and add details about your products.

2. Create your Product Feed

Once you’ve created your Google Merchant Centre, you’ll need to set up a product feed. The product feed tells Google about the products available on your website. It’s necessary for displaying your products when shoppers use a particular search query.

You can upload your own spreadsheet (via Google Sheets) with your product inventory, or use the provided template. Certain information fields are required, like a product description, availability, image link, title and brand. You can find the specific requirements here.

There’s also an option to automate the process to make your life easier! For example, WordPress has plugins that send up to date product information, including stock levels, to your product feed.

3. Optimise your product imagery

Although Google Shopping uses your product feed to index search results, it pulls the featured image right from your website. Online shopping is a visual experience, so the listings on your own website must be up to scratch before you create an ad!

You can’t afford to get this bit wrong, because Google is all about giving its users a good shopping experience and will pull ads that don’t have good quality images or meet their guidelines.

4. Link your Google AdWords account

While Google Merchant Centre lets Google see your products, Google Ads determines how shoppers will see them. So you’ll need to set up a Google ad account to start creating your first Shopping campaign.

Once you’ve set up both a Google Merchant Centre and an AdWords account, you’ll need to link them so that your product data can be used for ads. You can do this via your Google Merchant Centre. Click the three-point icon in the top right corner to see the ‘Link Accounts’ option. Then open Google Ads to find the account information (ID number) you want to link. Confirm to link Google Merchant Centre to your Google Ads account.

5. Create your Google Shopping campaign

The next step is where you finally create your shopping campaign so you start advertising your products!

You can do this via your Google Merchant Centre, or through your AdWords account.
The first thing you have to do is give your campaign a name and set the country you want to run it in. This must match the country in your product feed. You’ll also need to set up a campaign goal – whether you want to generate sales, leads or website traffic. There’s also an option to list your products in a local shopping inventory, so the results will be tailored to people in your area.

Then you create a campaign subgroup. You can create a Standard or a Smart Shopping Campaign.

With Smart Campaigns, you can get more exposure as your ads will be shown across the display network, on sites such as YouTube and Gmail.
But if you want more control over your ad setup and you want to get more data about its performance, a Standard ad is better.

Whatever type of campaign strategy you use, we always recommend that you use conversion tracking so AdWords can track when your ads lead to sales on your website.

6. Set your bid, target audience and schedule

The next thing you have to select is your campaign budget and bid strategy. This means you need to decide how much you’re willing to pay for someone to click on your ad. Google has a pretty useful bid simulator tool to help you see how it works.

Unlike text ads, you don’t need to add keywords as Google uses the details in your product feed instead. But you can add negative keywords, if you know you don’t want to appear in certain search results. For example, if you sell furniture you can use negative keywords to make sure you don’t appear in searches for DIY materials, saving you ad spend. This option isn’t available with Smart Campaigns.

It’s a good idea to pick a small amount initially so you can test our different strategies.
You’ll also be prompted to decide who will see your ads based on demographics, and when you want to display them.

7. Build ad groups

Once you’ve set up your campaign details, you need to create an ad group. One campaign can have any ad groups depending on your strategy. They determine the type of ad you want to run and how you want to bid.

Product Shopping ads promote a single product. Showcase Shopping ads are a new format and allow you to advertise multiple products as part of a product or lifestyle ad that represents your brand or business. You can choose to advertise all of your products or specific listings.

That was a brief summary of how to set up your Shopping Ads, it’s possible to get way more detailed but we don’t want to make it seem too complicated. The important thing is to get started because the benefits can be enormous!

If you’re ready to start generating more sales with Google Shopping and you’d like some help getting set up, get in touch!