Traffic and sales cannot exist without the other. So, marketers apply different marketing strategies like paid advertisements and search engine optimization. But, if you are looking to expand your efforts, Google Shopping is a great place to start.
What is it and how does it work?
Many online transactions start by inputting a search query on Google. Type the word “camera”. You’ll see lots of text-based results, and then there’s a row of relevant products. What is it? How can you display your listings there?
Google Shopping puts your items either in the main search engine results or in the Shopping tab. It displays several products from different sellers, allowing buyers to review and compare.
Do you need it?
The question now is why you should join if you already have a website. One compelling reason is that it can immediately capture customers. Google Shopping displays the product’s image and price. It makes it more convenient for shoppers rather than text-based results. Transactions from a shopping ad is also useful. Jumpshot reveals that conversions can occur within five days. Being able to display your items makes you stand out in text-heavy shopping results. Furthermore, you are more visible since you can show up as a website, text (PPC), and shopping results.
Driving sales through Google Shopping
Let’s find out how to start using this platform to drive ecommerce sales. Here is a step by step in getting started.
Google Shopping #1 – Register a Google Merchant Center Account
Google Merchant Center is where you’ll upload and manage your product listings. Every item you want to show in Google Shopping should be available in the Google Merchant Center. Joining Google Merchant center is easy. You will provide essential business information like website URL, location, and store name. You will then need to verify and claim your website URL. Once it’s all sorted out, congratulations! You now have a Google Merchant Center account.
Google Shopping #2 – Don’t upload your products yet
You have to keep in mind, shopping ad’s visual touch makes it different from other SERPs. Using low-quality images can impact customer shopping experience and sales. Worst, Google can suspend your account.
We recommend to relax, take a step back, and check the quality of your website’s images. If there are any adjustments necessary, you have to optimize first from your website. When editing photos, make sure to adhere to Google’s image guidelines. You will need a white background. Avoid using filters and effects. Also, show the correct and entire product image (close-ups or side views are not main images). You can skip this step if your product images follow Google’s standards.
Google Shopping #3 – Populate the Google Merchant Center
The next step is building your product data feed in Google Merchant Center. Head on over to your Google Merchant account and go to Products>Feeds. You will find a blue plus icon at the right panel. Click it. Then, set the country and language. Enter the correct details because Google will use it in determining demographics. Then, choose the best input method you prefer. You have four options Google Sheets, Scheduled fetch, Upload, and Content API.
For Google sheets, make sure that the data coincides with Google’s product attributes. Prepare columns for id, title, description, link, image_link, availability, price, google_product_category, and brand. The complete list of Google’s Product data attributes is available here.
You can also use the available template in Google Merchant Center. But make sure that product data correlates to the right column header. If you have thousands of products, you can opt for an automated feed. Google will perform a website crawl and dug up all the information that it needs. But, your website should have a readable and correct structured data and sitemap.
After entering product details, all you need to do is upload it to Google Merchant Center. Google will then populate the data to your Google Merchant account, and voila! You now have a product feed. You can check the product listings by going to the left panel. Then, click Products, followed by Feeds and Primary Feeds.
Remember only to upload the correct data. Google will display what you input in the Google Merchant Center. It will not view incorrect or low-quality data feed. But, it can suspend your account due to substandard product data feed. So, make sure all data is correct and conduct maintenance now and then. Google usually sends an email about product data violations. It entails not only a warning but also a list of items that you need to fix.
Google Shopping #4 – Connect your Google Adwords with Google Merchant
Why do you have to link Adwords and Merchant together? Google Shopping is a form of advertisement, which means you need to pay if you want your items in the results.
Go to your Google Merchant Center. Move your mouse to the upper right-hand corner at the three vertical dots. Click it, and you will see Account linking. Enter your Google Adwords account ID, and you are all set. In case you don’t have Google Adwords, you can click the Create Account option. You will need to join Google Adwords to adverstise in Google. Learn how to boost your ecommerce sales.
Google Shopping #5 – Create your first campaign
With Google Merchant account linked to Adwords, you can start your first campaign. One of the easiest ways is through the Google Merchant Center. From the account linking page, choose the Create Shopping Campaign. Input the desired campaign name, country, and the budget. Click the Create button, and you will then be able to manage the created campaign in Google Adwords.
Google Shopping #6 – Set budget and bidding strategy
No business wants to go over their marketing expenditures. To prevent overspending, you can set the campaign budget or bidding strategy. For bidding, you have Manual cost-per-click (CPC), return on ad spend, automated bid strategy, and Enhanced CPC. As for the campaign budget, it is the total amount of money you want to pay.
Google Shopping #7 – Launch the campaign
The next step is to adjust the campaign settings for targeting and scheduling. For Networks and Devices, you can skip these two since it tells you where your listing will pop-up. What you should focus on is on the campaign’s target location. Make sure only to select relevant areas and places that you ship to. Lastly, configure the duration of your Shopping campaign. Your ad will run according to the dates you’ve entered, so don’t skip this, or else your campaign will continue to run.
Google Shopping #8 – Have campaign ad group
There are two ad groups. First is Product Shopping ads. It is for promoting one single product. Showcase Shopping Ads allow you to have multiple items as a part of a group. It is an excellent option when you want to promote several product categories.
Driving traffic and sales are primary concerns for ecommerce business owners. If these are your goals, too, you need to find out what marketing strategies will work with your brand. Whatever route you choose, you need to have a plan and dedication. For more information on Google Merchant Center, you can review Google’s support here.