A Quick (but Useful) Guide on Using Google Shopping Ads to Generate Sales and Revenue

shopping bags

There are many ways to generate sales for your ecommerce store.

One method that is often overlooked by many is the use of Google Shopping Ads (also known as Product Ads).

In fact, it is so overlooked, that Google Shopping Ads only amount to 20% of retail paid search clicks – so there’s plenty of opportunity there for you.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at how you can use Google Shopping Ads, in order to generate sales for your ecommerce store.

Download this cheat sheet to learn how to use Google shopping ads to generate sales and revenue.

We’ll look at how they work and how you can maximize their potential when using them.

By the end, you’ll have the knowledge needed to successfully create a Google Shopping Ad and to use it to boost the success of your online store.

Let’s begin. 

What are Google Shopping Ads?

You’ve probably seen Google Shopping Ads in the past.

They often appear within a search query for a product in Google.

Here’s an example of how such ads might appear, when looking to buy some “Jordan sneakers.”

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These ads are particularly effective, because they showcase a high quality image image on the product listing, as well as the price of the product in question.

Because these product listing ads tend to appear at the top of the search engine listings, your product ads are going to appear where searchers are going to be looking the most.

It’s because of these factors that some are seeing up to 130% higher conversion rates with these ads, when compared to normal shopping ads.

In fact, in 2015 retailers spent 47% more on Google Shopping Ads, than they did in 2014.

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Even if you’re looking to boost sales for your offline store, Google Shopping Ads can help.

Sears Outlet managed to boost their store visit rate by 122% and eventually got to the stage where they were earning around $8 in store for every $1 spent in ads.

Setting up Google Shopping Ads

Before you do anything else, you’ll need to create a Google Merchant Center account, if you do not already have one.

Having a Google Merchant Center account gives you the chance to provide Google with information related to your product types.

To set up a Google Merchant Account, visit https://merchants.google.com.

Then, go through the signup process.

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Once you’re finished with the Merchant Center account signup process, you need to create a  shopping feed that contains the products your store supplies.

To get that done, click on shopping feed in the left hand column.

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By creating a shopping feed, you’re giving Google the information it needs to display your product listing ads.

Setting up your Merchant Center feed is not too difficult, as all you need to do is fill in a spreadsheet provided by Google.

However, it can get a little bit complicated, at times, so I recommend that you watch this video ahead of time.

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Once you’ve set up your Product Feed, you then need to link your AdWords account with your Google Merchant Center Account.

To do that, click on ‘Settings,’ in the sidebar, and then select AdWords.

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Then, click on ‘Link Account.’

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If you do not have an AdWords account, you can set one up within your Merchant Center account.

Once you’ve set up an AdWords account, you have the option of creating a Shopping Ads campaign from within the Merchant Center.

However, it is better to set up a campaign through Google AdWords.

You can head over to this webpage and Google will walk you through the process of setting up a ‘Shopping Campaign.’

When there, just click on the ‘Guide Me’ button.

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For a quick overview, let’s just briefly look at the process of setting up Shopping Ads.

Log into your AdWords account and then click on ‘+Campaign.’

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Then, select the ‘Shopping,’ option.

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Give your campaign a name.

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Select the country for your campaign.

Important: Make sure that the country matches the country that you used in your Product Feed.

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Then, select the ‘Networks,’ you want your product ads to appear on.

Though I’ve selected ‘Include search partners,’ below, it may be better to initially experiment with just the ‘Google Search Network,’ at first.

This is due to the traffic being more targeted.

You then need to decide on a location for your campaign.

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Once you’ve done all of that, you’ll need to focus on the bidding options.

Pick a small amount that is under $10 or so and test the waters.

Once you have some results, perhaps after a week, you can then decide if you want to increase campaign spend, or if you need to make some campaign changes.

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Leave the delivery method as it is for now.

Note: Shopping Ads do not allow for you to pick keywords when creating your product listing ads.

Shopping Ads work by taking the product types in your Product Feed and then showing them, using Google’s own keyword data.

So, essentially, you’re advertising based on product types.

Because Google has great data feeds on the kinds of keywords people type in when searching for products like yours, your product ads will appear for the relevant keyword.

However, if you really want to, you can add negative keywords to a campaign.  This will stop your products from appearing when a searcher uses certain keywords.

Such keywords might include those that have low buyer intent.

Additionally, if you want to create campaigns for specified products, adjust the ‘Advanced Shopping settings,’ on the page where you initially set up your Shopping Ads campaign.

This can be a good idea if you want to have tight control over the Shopping ads shown for each of your products.

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If you look at the screenshot above, you’ll notice that there is a section called ‘Inventory filter.’

This is where you can select the products that are going to be advertised in your campaign.

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You can select product ads based on the following criteria.

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As you might have guessed, this information is going to be pulled from your Product Feed.

You may have also noticed an option titled, ‘Campaign priority.’

This is helpful if you’re running multiple campaigns that advertise the same product.

You can use this feature to give priority to certain products, so that they receive a higher bid, and ,therefore, more exposure.

Here is an explanation from Google, in relation to the Campaign priority feature.

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Once done, click on Save and Continue.

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You’ll then be taken to this page.

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Here you need to name the Ad Group and add some promotional text, if need be (more on this later).

Strategies to maximize revenue when using Shopping Ads.

Even if you don’t implement these strategies, you could still generate a 3x return, like Office Depot did.

But, if you feel as though your click-through rate and conversion results have plateaued, these tips might be worth considering.

If your product listing ads aren’t bringing you the best click-through rate and conversion results, consider adjusting the bids you have chosen.

AdWords is based on a bidding system, meaning that whoever pays the most or is willing to pay the most for a product listing ad, generally receives the most exposure.

So, if you find that your ad is not generating any clicks, think about raising the bid for your product listing ad.

When it comes to bidding for ads, it helps to know the lifetime value of a customer.

When you know that, you have more freedom to bid higher amounts, as you can be sure that you’ll be able to recover the cost.

If your ad is not generating a lot of clicks, then you may want to give it a new image.

If you want to change the image for your ad, you’ll need to take a look at changing the image that is being sourced from your Product Feed.

Images can have a massive impact, in terms of whether someone clicks on your product listing ads or not.

If you’re used to advertising on Facebook, then you’ll know this to be true.

Take a look at some of the other product images that appear when searching a keyword related to your product.

If there are any that stand out, question what makes them look so appealing and what can be borrowed and implemented into your own campaigns.

Retargeting is another great strategy you can use to maximize revenue, when using Shopping Ads.

With retargeting, what you’re looking to do is to trigger a tracking pixel when someone visits your site.  You’ll then show them ads using other Google Ad products.

Such Ad products might include YouTube Ads and Google Display Ads.

Ideally, you’ll want to create ads for specific products.

Let’s pretend that someone clicks on a shopping ad and looks at a particular pair of boots.

You make it so that the individual who looked at those boots now sees Display ads for the boots on Google Partner sites, as well as on YouTube.

Retargeting is definitely something worth trying, especially when you consider that research has found that 70% of those retargeted have been shown to convert.

You may also want to put some thought into optimizing your product descriptions.

If you can ensure that the name of your product accurately describes what you’re offering, you’ll be able to generate more clicks.

Copy always matters and, similar to what you’d expect with a normal AdWords ad, changing the words you use can improve conversions.

If you take a look at the ad below, you’ll see that the advertiser has gone through the effort to explain that the charger is ‘Genuine.’

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This is important, because it might be the key factor that causes people to buy a charger from one store, as opposed to another.

It’s also a good idea to mention any promotions that you might be running,

An example of this might be letting searchers know that you offer, ‘Free Shipping.’

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We touched on this earlier, when we were going through the process of setting up ads.

Mentioning such benefits in the promotions section can have a big impact on how people perceive your product listing ad.

After all, even if other companies do provide free shipping, the person viewing this ad doesn’t know that until they click on the other ad.

But, if you explicitly mention in the ad that you provide free shipping, you have an advantage over other companies, right from the get go.

Another thing that we touched on earlier is worth revisiting, is the exclusion of certain keywords.

To exclude keywords that are not benefiting your campaign, choose your campaign on the ‘All Campaigns,’ page.

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Then, click on ‘Keywords.’

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Once there, enter in any keywords that you want to exclude.

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You’ll notice that there is the option to exclude keywords based, at ‘Ad Group level,’ and ‘Campaign Level.’

Your method for excluding keywords here will depend on how you went about setting up your campaign in the first place.

But, what if you don’t know what keywords to exclude?

On the very same page, there is a link to a page known as ‘Search Terms.’

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When you click on this button, you’ll be able to see all of the search query terms that people have used, in order to come across your advertised products.

This data is valuable for two reasons.

First, it can be used to inspire some negative keywords that you want to exclude.

That’s because you’ll be able to identify any low performing keywords that don’t lead to a lot of revenue.

If a certain keyword is generating a lot of clicks, but sales are only rising by a small amount, then you know the keyword is not being effective as it should be.

Now, of course, there are more technical and in-depth ways of doing this.  But, if you’re new to AdWords, that should supply you with enough information.

Second, you can analyze the keywords used to find your products and see if they provide any insight into how you can improve your product descriptions.

For example, imagine you sell ‘waterproof outdoor jackets for the summer.’

But, your product description just says ‘waterproof jackets.’

It may be the case that a lot of people see your ad and click on it, after having searched ‘waterproof outdoors jackets for the summer.’

Knowing this, you should adjust your listing, so that it actually says ‘waterproof outdoor jackets for the summer.’

This has the potential to lead to better conversions, as your product listing is going to match exactly what people are inputting to their search query. This results in your product being positioned as the perfect solution to their needs.

Conclusion

If you run an ecommerce store, you should definitely take some time to study Google Shopping Ads.

Using them, you have the ability to show image and text ‘rich’ ads, right at the top of the search engine listings.  Here they’ll be seen by people who have a high level of ‘buyer intent.’

Setting them up can be a little bit tricky at first, but, once you get started, you’ll find that the process is quite logical.

Having run the ads for a short while, you’ll probably want to experiment with some of the more advanced tactics we discussed later in the post, such as retargeting.

Give Google Shopping Ads a go and see how well they work out for you.

What have you experienced when it comes to running Google Shopping Ads for an ecommerce store?

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