Sell Online Using Google Shopping
Google Shopping offers excellent return for webstores needing sales from Googlers looking to buy online. Here’s how we can use it to help your business:
The growth of Google Shopping
The continued uptake of Google Shopping can be largely attributed to new features being introduced by webstore platforms such as:
- Shopify & ShopifyPlus
There are numerous tutorials online for setting up and managing your own Shopping campaigns, though we highly recommend you outsource your setup and management to a certified Google Shopping agency like Clickthrough, or attend one of our Google Ads training courses.
Getting the setup wrong or not optimising your feed and landing pages properly can be quite wasteful.
What is Google Shopping?
Google Shopping was invented by Craig Nevill-Manning, a New Zealand computer scientist, as a product comparison web service in 2002. He originally called it Froogle.
Since then, Google Shopping has evolved to become a pay per click advertising service that enables customers to search for, view and compare the price of products, which are displayed in Google’s search engine results page or under the shopping tab.
For example (see image below), the Google Shopping image ads appear at the top of the search results when someone enters ‘buy plants NZ’ into Google.
How does Google Shopping work?
Google Shopping is an AdWords product. Payment is on a CPC (cost per click) auction basis, made each time a Googler clicks on your product image.
However, unlike Google Ads, Google Shopping uses two platforms: Google Ads (AdWords) and Google Merchant Center. Your product data (price, title, etc) sits in your Google Merchant Center and is received via a feed from your pages or a spreadsheet (see next section). Whilst your campaign settings are managed via the Google Ads interface.
Setting up the Google Shopping feed is critical
The feed setup with Google Shopping is the key to success, as it directly influences which search terms your products appears for and what your ads look like in Google’s results.
Your product feed is essentially a file that contains unique information about the products that you want to sell, formatted in a way that Google Shopping can read and understand e.g. product name, image and price.
Unlike Google Ads, you can’t pick the keywords your Shopping Ads show up for. With Google Shopping, Google crawls your feed and the content of your landing page to determine if any of your products are relevant enough to appear for a search query (see ‘buy plants NZ’ example above).
There are essentially two ways to setup your shopping feed.
- It can be done manually, via the Google Content API for Shopping ads, by entering product information into a spreadsheet that follows Google’s specifications.
- Or you can use an extension, plugin, app, or service that automatically imports product data from your e-commerce platform.
Bear in mind if the information on your spreadsheet differs from what is on your product page then Google will suspend your Shopping ads. For example, if the landing page on your website displays a price that is different to the price on your spreadsheet, your campaign will get suspended.
As such, we support Google’s notion to rather not use the manual spreadsheet approach outlined in 1 above, unless you only have a few products and the product details (e.g. price) seldom change.
An automated feed between Google Shopping and your e-Commerce platform is the best practice way to go, though does need specialist support to setup and manage. Especially if your site has hundreds of products it wants to advertise on Google Shopping.