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Google Shopping ads are the ads that appear at the top or side of the page when searching on Google. Just in case you’re not sure, we’ve provided some examples below.

HI Shopping 5 1 HI Shopping 6 1

They allow advertisers to show an image or images of their product, along with the title, price, retailer name, and sometimes a star rating. This helps prequalify users as they can clearly see if they like the look of the product and if the retailer is price competitive.

This type of campaign is especially important for visual products, such as those sold in the home improvement industry. Users who are looking for home improvement products are more likely to click on an ad that is eye-catching and attractively priced. As you can see from the images above, many brands are advertising their products on Google Shopping and more and more are adding this type of campaign to their advertising mix every day.

In the UK, Google Shopping campaigns account for 82% of total retail search spend and are responsible for 88% of clicks. It is a staggering percentage which is only increasing. As more and more advertisers spend more money on Google Shopping campaigns, it’s important that you have visibility on this channel. In this blog, we’ll show you the key things you need to get ready to advertise on Google Shopping.

Product feed

The first thing you need is a feed of all the products you want to promote on Google Shopping. A feed is simply a product data file that includes the title, description, price, and other elements of each product. A list of all the columns that can be used can be found here, but the main columns you need to include are:

Product ID – an internal identifier assigned to the product
Title – the name of the product, as it appears on the site
The description– the description of the product, as it appears on the website
Connect – the URL of the product page where you want users to land
GTIN / MPN – identification numbers, usually found on the barcode
State – is the product new or used?
Price – how much is the product selling for? The most expensive product may be, excluding any wholesale or discounts
Availablity – is the product in stock?
Image link (s) – the image you want to use on Google Shopping
Mark – the product brand

This information should be relatively easy to obtain from the back end of your online store. This information can then be put into a Google sheet that will serve as a feed.

There are third party food companies that can do all of this for you. They grab your website and put all the product information in one feed. However, they do charge. If your feed is large, it’s worth using them, but if you only have a certain number of products, you can manage it manually.

Once you’ve set up your product feed in a Google Sheet, keep it safe. We recommend that you save it as a bookmark in your web browser.

Configure Merchant Center

Google Merchant Center or GMC is where your feed will be kept and is a necessity to make your products visible on Google. You can configure it here. Here you will add business information like company name and address, shipping information and also need to verify and claim your website. This tells Google that you are the owner of the website and can advertise that site. No other advertiser will be able to advertise your website once you verify and claim it.

We can now download our feed. To do this we navigate to the « Products » header at the bottom left and below we can see « News Feed » – click here. We then click on the plus sign to add a new feed. Once we have given it a name and selected the country of sale, we can link to the Google sheet that we have set up. It is that simple. Any changes that need to be made to the feed (price changes, availability changes) will be made in the Google sheet and transferred to GMC. It is worth setting up a daily recovery schedule, so that all changes made to the Google Sheet are transferred to GMC.

It is important that your GMC and Google Ads accounts are linked. This allows us to run Google Shopping campaigns on Google Ads, using product data that is uploaded to GMC. To do this, you must have set up a Google Ads account. You can find more details on how to do this on our blog « How to show ads to people looking for building materials ». When this has been configured we need to go to GMC settings and then to « linked accounts ». Under the Google Ads option, we can choose to “link account”. There we can add our Google Ads ID (which is at the top of the Google Ads window next to your account name) and send a verification request. This will need to be accepted in the Google Ads settings under the Google Merchant Center option in linked accounts.

Now that it’s linked and our feed is uploaded, we can set up a Google Shopping campaign, so we’ll have to go back to Google Ads.

Set up a Shopping campaign in Google Ads

Setting up a Google Shopping campaign is very easy. We just need to select the plus sign to add a new campaign, select the “Shopping” option and choose the correct GMC Account you want the products to be checked out from.

Then there is an option to choose “Smart Shopping” or “Standard Shopping”. At this point, you are probably wondering what is the best option for my business. The answer is that for some brands smart shopping works well, for others standard shopping is the better option. Our recommendation would be to test both options.

Smart Shopping uses automated bids and placements on Google Shopping, the Display Network, YouTube, and Gmail, which increases the reach of the campaign. However, we lose an element of control when using this campaign because it uses a lot of automation.
Standard Shopping allows us to set our own bids based on what works and what doesn’t. We can also see which search terms are triggering our ads to show, which is not available on Smart Shopping.

When you’ve set up your campaign (s), apply a budget and let it happen. Be sure to check them out every day or so to see their performance and make any changes to bids, budgets, or search terms.

Free shopping lists

In 2020, Google announced that free Google Shopping lists will be available in the « Shopping » tab of the results page. These don’t interfere with paid ads, so it’s still important to use paid campaigns for Google Shopping, but that’s another reason you should at least set up your Merchant Center account. All brands whose feed is uploaded to GMC will be eligible for these free listings.

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Considerations on Google Shopping

As we’ve discovered, Google Shopping campaigns are a great way to reach users who are looking for your products. However, there are a few things to consider before setting up these campaigns.

1) Make sure the prices are competitive. If you are selling the same products as another retailer, but are more expensive, it is important to consider your pricing strategy or to avoid advertising on Google Shopping. Users are savvy and will shop around, so if you’re not competitively priced, your campaigns won’t perform well.
2) Use high quality images. Failure to do so may result in your account being denied, but will also result in a bad user experience. It’s good to experiment with different images by editing them in the “image link” column of your feed.
3) Check diagnostics on GMC. This will alert us to any product or account issues. The issues should be corrected as soon as possible to prevent your account from being suspended and to get your campaigns back up and running.

Summary

We hope this guide gives you enough information to set up and manage Google Shopping campaigns for your home improvement brand. However, if you need more information or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Koozai team. We will be more than happy to assist you.

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