Google Shopping: Explained
If you run an e-commerce website you are probably aware of the Google Shopping platform.
What is Google Shopping?
Google Shopping refers to the image based ads that appear at the top of the results when you search for a product to buy online. Below, you will see the Google Shopping ads that appear when I search for ‘Buy Shaver’ –
A few years after its inception in 1998, Google released a platform named ‘Froogle’. Froogle was free product based search engine which was converted to a paid search platform approximately 10 years later.
The paid search platform is now referred to as ‘Google Shopping’ and it combined two platforms –
- Google Merchant Centre
This is where you upload and manage your product feed consisting of the product name, description, image and price. A product feed can be created manually or automatically using a plugin, extension or app that exports product data from your site and formats it accordingly.
- Google Ads
Where you will setup and manage your campaign budgets, bids etc .
Having said this, the setup of a Google Shopping (GS) campaign is considerably different to a Google Ads campaign. Google Ads requires the setup of campaigns, ad groups and ads that target specific keywords. Therefore, you can accurately dictate when and where your ads will show. However with GS, Google determines when your product ads will show. When and where your product ads show, will be determined by your product feed, your website and the bids you’ve placed on your products.
Is Google Shopping a Good Fit for my Business?
To answer this question, you should carefully consider several factors including:
- Profit Margin
Just like most paid advertising platforms, if your profit margin is low, your advertising costs will consume or exceed your profit margin. For this reason, you should only consider Google Shopping for products where you have a reasonable or high profit margin.
- Search Volume
Google will not show your product ads unless there is a reasonable amount of search volume for them and there are other companies selling the same or similar products. Use the Google Keyword Planner to evaluate whether people are searching for your products within your target region.
How do I Make the Most of Google Shopping?
For the most part, if you focus and master the following factors you should succeed with GS –
- Feed Creation
Because Google determines when your product ads will show, Google Shopping can be likened to Search Engine Optimisation or SEO. If you can structure the different elements of your product feed correctly, Google will understand your products and show your ads for appropriate keyword searches.
- Campaign Creation
It’s essential that your product ads are visually enticing, competitively priced, and offer a unique, eye catching description to set them aside from your competition.
- Perfect your Bidding Strategy
Bidding for GS is similar to Google Ads – If you bid too high you will waste your budget, although if you bid too low your ads will not show.
- Monitoring & Optimisation
Just like any form of marketing, monitoring and optimisation is essential. Fortunately, Google offers detailed reporting which allows you to track the performance of your campaigns and optimise them accordingly.