Surely you have heard more than once from colleagues, at webinars or from marketing bloggers about Google Merchant Center, Google Shopping or shopping campaigns. All this may seem like an incomprehensible tangle of names, answers to five main questions will help you understand: what, who, where, why, how?
- What is the Merchant Center, shopping campaigns?
- Who can use the tool?
- Where are these ads posted?
- Why is this for my business?
- How to create a campaign?
The Google Merchant Center is a platform where retailers can add information about their products and stores. This information will be available in different Google services: Search, Display Network / Display Network, Youtube, Gmail, Images.
It is with the Google Merchant service that the path of launching shopping campaigns and the ability to show the assortment of your online store to interested users begins.
Shopping campaigns and ads – ads in which the ad consists of an image, product name, price and store name.
The purpose of such a campaign is to increase online sales.
First of all, this tool is simply a must-use for online stores, but it may be beneficial for your business if:
- You have many SKUs and several target audience segments. Google Merchant Center will “make friends” them automatically.
- Your audience mainly uses Google services: from search to YouTube.
- Your product (price, uniqueness, appearance) can attract the attention of the buyer even at times when he is far from buying.
- You are ready to experiment and the product meets the requirements of the platform.
- Shopping ads appear on Google services:
- Google search (side and top of the main search and advertising results).
- Display Network, including YouTube and Gmail.
- In the Google Images tab.
Shopping ads, despite the seemingly complicated setup (more on that below), have important advantages:
- Visibility – Compared to classic text advertising, shopping ads require images and prices.
- Higher click-through rate compared to text ads.
- More interested customers – such an advertising tool allows the user to familiarize themselves with the product and its price in advance.
- Simultaneous placement with text ads increases the chances that your product will be more noticeable by 2 times.
- Ease of campaign management – the service itself generates ads (prices, name), information is taken from the uploaded platform feed.
- Relevance and concern for the user – product information must be constantly updated (at least once every 30 days), which means that your customer will be shown the most up-to-date information on product availability and price.
If you’re ready to give this tool a try, here’s the basic flow of running a Google Ads Shopping Campaign.
Stages of creation:
- Create an account in Google Merchant Center.
- Connecting/Linking to Google Ads
- Feed generation
- Shopping Campaign Launch
Shopping campaign requirements.
As with any platform, service or site, for successful moderation it is important to comply with all requirements and take into account recommendations. To set up in the Google Merchant Center, it is important to observe the following points:
- Linked accounts Google Merchant Center and Google Ads.
- Compliance with Google Shopping policies, which may differ from Google Ads. For example, you cannot post fake products, and restrictions apply to a number of categories.
- The presence of a secure https protocol on the site.
- Updating product data – at least once every 30 days.
- The presence of a basket with which the user can make a purchase.
- Availability of contacts – mail, physical address.
You can read more about all the recommendations in Google Help.
OK, but HOW to create a feed?
A Google Merchant Center feed (Google Shopping feed or product data feed) is a table with key characteristics about a product that is used to build and display an ad.
To generate a feed in the Google Merchant Center, select Products > Feeds from the left menu and click on the + icon to create a new feed.
At the preparation stage, it is necessary to take into account that the feed can be in text or XML format.
The text format is one of the most common and can be created using Google Sheets without involving developers.
The XML format is more complex than the first one. It is suitable for more advanced users and requires technical skills.
Important note: Google does not support XLS and CSV feeds. Must be converted to text format before uploading to GMC.
What is a feed made of?
- Item ID.
- Product Name.
- Product description.
- Product category.
- Link to the product.
- Link to image.
- Product availability.
After the prepared feed, to launch the tool, you need to create a shopping campaign in Google Ads, optimize it and monitor its effectiveness.
Shopping campaigns are another way to stand out from the competition, especially if you are an online store, especially if you need a new round of development for your advertising campaigns.
Despite the long chain of preparation for the launch, there are a number of advantages of using this particular tool. At a minimum, Google will take care of the main pain of an Internet marketer: to whom, where and when to show your product.
As a maximum, you will attract more interested customers and, in conjunction with text advertisements, reach more of the target audience.