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Gain New Leads With Google Shopping Ads

By Mira Brody - Last Updated on 10/18/2019
For any business with an online store, getting new leads is essential. In recent years Google Shopping ads (otherwise known as Product Listing Ads) have become a powerful tool for business owners with an online store to reach more customers. Google Shopping ads are similar to Google display ads in that they allow your product to be shown ahead of competitors at the very top of search results.

Digital advertising is a great way to gain visibility for your products, but the digital advertising landscape  is very competitive. This is why it is important to understand who your intended audience for your ads is and create a campaign that effectively targets those demographics.

Google Product Ads:
  • Show at the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP)  above organic results
  • Allow you to include pictures of your products
  • Like other Google ads, you are able to add additional elements like prices reviews and promotional info
  • Can be used as a part of your digital marketing strategy as an effective sales funnel

U.S. shoppers spent a record $126 billion on online shopping during the 2018 holiday season, and most of these purchases were made between November - December. If you are looking to attract more customers this shopping season, Google ads is a great way to do that. If you are new to Google Shopping Ads and want to know how to leverage them for your business, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll take you through current best practice for your next ad campaign.

Google Merchant Center
Google Merchant Center is where you can create all of your campaigns. This platform allows you to build out and manage your product listing campaigns as well as run Local Inventory Ads and utilize Shopping Actions.

Local Inventory Ads — These can be used to let local online shoppers now that you have the items they are looking for at a physical location.

Shopping Actions — Google Shopping Actions is a platform that allows retailers to display a sharable list, a shopping cart and easy checkout across multiple Google platforms. This mean you can purchase a pair of shoes from Macy’s and Zappos from Google shopping results and purchase them in a single transaction. You can also display your products across Google’s different platforms, including shopping, images, YouTube and voice search.

Your Google Merchant Center Data Feed
To add products and product data to your campaign you’ll need to create a feed to submit this data to. This is required for every shopping campaign and once your feed is created you can begin adding products to it. We’ve outlined how to create your data feed in 5, clear steps.
  • The first step to adding a feed is to click the + button in the top right corner of your merchant account and select where you are selling your products and name your feed.
  • Next, select the Google spreadsheet option and set your upload schedule for how often your inventory changes. Click save.
  • A Google sheets template should open for your new data feed with some example product attributes included.
  • Delete the example data and begin to load your products. Give each of your products a row and be sure to not alter your column headings. Add your product details, each of the green columns is required.
  • Whatever option you have set for your upload schedule, google will pull your products from this spreadsheet updating your advertised products on that schedule.

Important tips for inputting your product data:
  • Make sure to use high-quality product images! 
  • Be sure to use your keywords in your product titles and descriptions, as shopping campaigns don’t use keywords like other Google Ads campaigns.
  • Add negative keywords to reduce unqualified traffic.
  • If you are promoting your products in different country you’ll have to setup a campaign for each country you are targeting.
  • Test a small selection of your products to see how they perform before diving in with your full inventory.
  • Use product extensions and merchant promotions to increase engagement with users.
  • Be sure to update your schedule settings appropriately for your campaign if your ads do not match the products on your site.

One important thing to pay attention to when setting up your Merchant Center account is shipping costs. The shipping costs you input into Merchant Center must be equal to or greater than the shipping costs listed on your website. You can select from different shipping cost options that Merchant Center fully supports including fixed rate, based on product cost, and third party carrier fees.

Google Merchant Center Promotions
Allow you to offer deals to users through your shopping ads. When applied to an add the promotion is shown at the bottom of the add or through a ‘special offer’ link. Once you’ve got your data feed in place, the next step is to link your Merchant Center account to your Google Advertisements account.

Linking Merchant Center & Google Ads
Linking your Merchant Center and Google Ads accounts allows your product data from your Merchant Center to appear in Google ads for you to use in your advertising campaigns. To successfully link the two accounts you’ll need access to your merchant account as well as admin access to the Google Ads account.
A holiday ad by the Gem Gallery.

    1. In Merchant center, select the 3 dot menu at the top of the screen
    2. Select Google Ads
    3. Input the customer ID from your Google Ads account. Select Link.
    4. Sign into Google Ads and click the wrench icon in the right corner.
    5. Select linked accounts.
    6. Select details under Google Merchant Center.
    7. Find the account you’d like to link, select view details.
    8. Select approve.

Creating Shopping Campaigns in Google Ads
Once your Google Ads account is linked to your Merchant Center account, you’ll be able to setup a Google Shopping campaign either in Google Ads or the Merchant Center. 

To start a campaign in Ads, navigate to the campaigns tab and select the blue plus button to start a new campaign. Establish your campaign goal. In a shopping campaign you can choose between: sales, website traffic, or leads. Be sure to choose the one that makes sense for your business. Make sure your proper Merchant Center account appears, and select your country of sale. You’ll have the option to select between a “standard" or “smart" shopping campaign — a smart campaign will require you to setup conversion tracking.

Next, you’ll set up your product ad groups. Ad groups are used to organize your campaign into categories, brands or any other grouping that makes sense for your campaign. If you have a smaller product feed, one ad group is all you will need.

Google Smart Shopping Campaign
A Smart Shopping Campaign allows you to leverage Google’s machine learning in your campaign. This allows Google to pull data from your product feed and use different combinations of product images, titles and descriptions aimed at presenting the option that is most likely to catch the eye of a user based on what Google knows about them. A smart campaign will also show your ads across Google’s different networks including search, display, YouTube and Gmail. A smart campaign also includes automated ad placement and bidding aimed at giving your campaign the highest conversion rate at your budget level.

Shopping Campaign Bidding
Campaign bidding is only available for standard campaigns. Shopping campaigns do not include keywords to bid on like other Google Ads campaigns, instead you can set the bid levels for each individual product or product group you are advertising. Set your bids according to the profit margin for your products and the level of online competition.

Product Groups — Within each ad group you can have multiple product groups that allow you to organize your products by bid level.You can have product groups for all of your ad group products or multiple within each ad group.

Launch Your Google Ads Shopping Campaign
Now that you have your ad groups setup and your bids in place you can launch your shopping campaign! Be sure to keep up on your campaign management, optimizing product info as you receive more data and keeping your bid levels at appropriate points for you.

Many businesses choose to hire search marketing professionals to manage their Google campaigns. If you’re interested generating new leads and promoting specific products to increase sales over the holidays, give us a call 406-586-7100, or fill out our brief questionnaire so we can get to know you better. If you’re interested in reading more business tips from us, you can sign up at jtech.digital and scroll down to the Monthly inbox insights section to subscribe.

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About Mira Brody

Mira Brody is an editor, writer, and marketing expert with 12+ years of experience. She has worked as a local news reporter, a writer/editor, and as a leader in large-scale branding strategy. Mira worked at JTech as the staff writer and editor for internal and client projects from March 2015 to December 2019.