How to: Dominate on Google Shopping

by Caroline Byrnes Avenue Digital

What is Google Shopping?

Google Shopping is a service provided by Google that allows searchers to browse advertisers’ online or in-store inventory. The goal is that the user will go to the site or perform a local action (such as to get directions to the shop).

Products are called Shopping Ads (formally Product Listing Ads or PLAs) and are prioritised on bids and relevance of the product to the search term.

How does a Google shopping ad appear?

A standard Google Shopping Ad uses a photo of the product plus a title, price, and store name. There is the possibility to add a promotion (shown for Dai below), a price drop shout out (as seen for Dorothy Perkins), or a sale price annotation (not seen below).

Some Comparison Shopping Services (not available in all markets) will also show relative information when hovering over the product, such as Swoop in the below.

How does Google Shopping work?

Google reviews product feed data to match search queries to your products. All eligible ads will then take part in the auction; advertisers will rank based on the auction results. The auction happens for all the advertiser’s product feeds, and Google collects all the information in less than a second!

What are the benefits of Google Shopping?

Unlike Google Search Ads, Google will automatically show searches with ads, meaning no keywords are needed. With Google selecting the keywords algorithmically, there is also the possibility to find new, unthought-of keywords.

Where users view the product before clicking the site, shopping ads usually drive a better quality of traffic with higher on-site engagement. Higher engagement is as a result of reducing the on-site journey (viewing the product), so the drop off rate reduces on-site.

How do I advertise my products on Google Shopping?

All advertisers need to have a Google Merchant Centre account and have a product feed that complies with the requirements and policies. Once the feed is set up and approved, the Merchant Centre Account needs linking with Google Ads.

Advertisers need to create and set up a campaign which will then allow Google to create ads across its search network.

How should I set up my campaigns?

When thinking about how to set campaigns and ad groups, categorise separate products into ad groups by on-site category, but if this is not required, there is no need to separate for the sake of separating. There is always the opportunity to report on these metrics via Reports in Google Ads.

Once an ad group/campaign strategy has been decided, product group segmentation is needed, which will decide how products are grouped together and what bid they should be given. This shouldn’t be too granular, and actionable insight should be collected from each product group created.

Any ad groups created should be duplicated to show showcase shopping ads with lower bids.

Then duplicate all campaigns created. Set the original campaign to be a medium priority – this will be a generic campaign – and the other campaign to be a low priority – this will be a brand campaign. Then exclude all brand terms on phrase match from the generic campaign.

If you want to get really smart with this you could create a script which negatives anything that does not contain your brand term or product name (this should be something very niche rather than red top) from the brand campaign, and to exclude any term which does include your brand or product name. This will allow for enhanced bidding tactics to increase bids in the best performing areas.

How do I dominate the Google shopping landscape?

There are a few easy way to dominate the Google shopping landscape. To do this you need to first set up campaigns to target brand and generics as mentioned above. Then we have a few choices on which audience we dominate the landscape for:

  1. Everyone
  2. New Users
  3. Returning Users

Returning users are usually the most lucrative and our suggested audience to dominate first. When focusing on returning and new users we differently suggest setting up mirror campaigns targeting new users and returning users.

To dominate the landscape, either set up a Search Ads 360/Search Ads bid strategy to target impression share, or do this manually until enough data is gathered to start focusing on bestselling products. Once there is enough statistically significant data, we suggest focusing on maximising reach for the best performing products for all users to increase awareness and scale your business.