How To Seriously Drive Sales With Google Shopping

Google’s first shopping engine was called Froogle and it used Google search algorithms to scour the web for the most relevant shopping information. It didn’t only search the web for products, but it also enabled merchants to import their feeds in order to improve the accuracy of their product listings. Froogle was later renamed as Google Product Search and it brought simplified interface that matched Google search’s look. Google Product Search changed to Google Shopping back in 2012 and it changed the free listings into paid listings.

Google Shopping ads are one of the first things you see when searching for almost any type of product on Google. It is very clean, neat, and useful for people who want to see deals on a single product that they are interested in. It has taken a while for these ads to find its place in the market, but they are becoming increasingly popular in the online shopping world, partly due to the fact that ads will appear high on Google’s search engine.

Google Shopping

Google Shopping is a great source of new potential customers for any online store. Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) are one of the best spots for online store owners to advertise their products at just the right time when customers are searching for them. Good news for you is that Google Shopping Ads amount to only 20% of retail paid search clicks, meaning that you can jump on board and start advertising as this is an untapped source of good traffic. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be looking at Google Shopping ads because it takes only a few minutes to set them up and we can see from past data that all stores can benefit from the exposure.

Customers are guided by information presented to them and most of it comes from an online search. You must make your company visible on various platforms because you don’t know where your potential customer will be when they are searching to purchase something.

Paid search is still the king of advertising online so it is best to create your marketing strategy around it. Spending marketing budget on ads for shopping has been on a rise and it is known that Google Shopping is one of the best places to bring in new customers. Also, stores that are using Google Shopping ads can see better results when they use AdWords to send traffic to those particular Google Shopping listings. So, you can either use them separately or both together.

What Are Google Shopping Ads?

These are ads that appear on Google when you search for a product. These ads are really effective for online stores because they showcase an image on the product listing and the price as well. They also have an added benefit of appearing at the top of the search results page and this will get you the most clicks. Google Shopping is one of the most important channels for online retailers and it accounts for 52% of click share and for non-branded keywords, Google Shopping ads take 75% of clicks. Mobile traffic on Google Shopping ads is rising rapidly as well.

Retailers are reporting up to 130% higher conversion rate with Google Shopping ads, when compared to other shopping ads. If you would search for bow ties, here’s how the ads might appear:

Google Shopping Ads

To take advantage of Google Shopping ads, you’ll need to use Google Merchant Center and AdWords. Why both? Because your product feed is located in the Google Merchant Center, and if you are not familiar with it, it’s basically the details of all your products in a certain format that Google uses. You will use AdWords to create and manage your actual shopping campaigns.

With Google Shopping ads, Google will consider your product feed, your website, and your bids to determine when your ads will show up and for which search query. Here are the three areas that you need to look at:

  • Creating and optimising your feed
  • Bidding
  • Analysing and Optimisation

Setting Up Google Shopping Ads


You will need to create three separate accounts on these platforms: Google Analytics, Google AdWords, and Google Merchant Center.

First, you’ll need to create a Google Merchant Center account. This will enable you to provide Google with information about your product types and also set tax and shipping rules. Click here to create an account and go through the process. You will need to verify that you own your website and the fastest way to do this is by logging in your domain registrar and giving Google access. You’ll also need to set up tax and shipping settings before you can advertise. You can find both of these options under “General Settings” in Merchant Center. Setting up sales tax information is easy, you just need to pick the states you charge sales tax in and Google will calculate the rate automatically. Shipping settings require you to choose between a flat rate, specific carrier rates, or based on rules.

Google Merchant Centre

When you’ve finished creating the account, you’ll need to create a shopping feed with the products that you sell. Some key attributes of your product feed are the title, description, product type, price, availability status, etc. You can do it manually by creating a spreadsheet with your product information or by using an extension or app that will pull data from your store and sort it into a format that Google uses. To create a shopping feed, click on “Feeds” in the left-hand column. The last step is to link your Merchant Center to your AdWords account (it’ll also give you the option to create one within your Merchant Center if you don’t have an account). Just click “Settings” and “AdWords”. Note that you can create Google Shopping Ads from within the Merchant Center but it is much better to create them through AdWords.


Creating Google Shopping Ads in Google AdWords

Let’s create a new campaign in AdWords. We won’t go into too many details but we’ll give you the essential steps for getting your basic Google Shopping campaign running. To start, log into your AdWords account and click on “Campaign” button and select “Shopping”.

Adwords Ads

On the next page, you just have to give your campaign a name and be sure to select the country that you use in your product feed. You’ll have the option of setting campaign’s priority to low, medium, or high but this is important only if you have multiple campaigns running so you can leave it at default.

Next, select the Networks where you want your product ads to appear on. Search partners include websites like YouTube and AOL and you can keep it on as the results from it are usually pretty good. Don’t forget to choose the location for your ads below it as well.

Adwords Shopping

One of the last options is bidding. You should select “Manual CPC” and set the default bid at something small, just to test the waters. $0.1-1 is a good starting range but this will vary depending on the product price and competitiveness of your products. Also, you should choose “Accelerated” delivery because this will get your products showing quicker, thus giving you more data faster.

Run this for a few days or a week and check your results and adjust from there. One of the main differences between Google Shopping ads and AdWords search ads is that Shopping ads don’t allow you to pick keywords for your ads. Rather, you are advertising based on product types and Google will make your products appear for the relevant keywords that people type in when searching for products. On the other side, you have the option of using negative keywords where you will stop your products from appearing for certain keywords.


Optimisation and Google Analytics

There are several reasons why you’d want to link Google Analytics to your AdWords account. The first one is conversion tracking. Google Analytics is a great tool that can give you an in-depth conversion data of your campaigns. With it, you can effectively track the buyer’s journey and see if they came directly from the ad or if they clicked on the ad but didn’t buy right away. You can see if they clicked the ad and then came back after a few days to make the purchase.

The second reason is that you’ll get customer engagement data. You need to track long-term data and not only conversion metrics. In Google Analytics, you can see the exact amount of time visitors are spending on your website, bounce rate, the average pages viewed per session, and much more.

Search query report is very useful as it shows the keywords that people are typing into Google when they see your products. You can also view this report in AdWords but we recommend to use Google Analytics. To see this report, click on the “Acquisition” tab in the left, next click “AdWords”, and finally on “Search Queries”. Here you can choose the date range and see which ads are performing the best.

You can also run a product performance report to see which products are selling and which aren’t. In this overview, you can see what products are selling in specific campaigns. You can see this in the “Ecommerce” tab under “Conversions”.

Getting The Most Out of Your Ads


Bidding is one of the main components of any PPC campaign. They will determine when and if your ads will show up and they have a direct impact on the profitability of your campaign. Bidding too little will leave your ads stagnant and bidding too high will blow through your budget. It’s important to find the sweet spot and get the optimal bid.

The first thing that you have to look at is the price of the product. A huge mistake that a lot of people make is setting the same bid for all price levels of their products. It makes no sense to use the same bid for a $3 and $300 product. You also need to know your profit margins. See how much actual profit you are getting per sold product and then bid accordingly. The conversion rate is also one of the key factors so check your Google analytics reports to see where you are at.

You can calculate your max bid by calculating your potential profit per sold product. Next, take that number and multiply it by your conversion rate (e.g. 5%) and then you’ll get your max CPC. Finally, to get your initial CPC bid just multiply your max CPC with a number between 0.4 and 0.75.


When to Raise or Lower Your Bid

Bidding is a game of bidding up and down. If your ads are not getting any impressions (or if they are really low), it is very likely that you need to bid more. Keep it simple and bid a few cents more per ad until you start seeing more impressions and clicks. Initially, it takes some time for Google to show your ads as it is evaluating how people respond to them. As time goes by, Google will check your metrics like CTR and start showing your ads more frequently. Don’t be afraid to set your budget a bit higher because if you set it too low, like $3 per day, and your bid is $1, Google will have a very limited budget to work with, thus showing your ads not too often.

Setting your bids lower will usually result in your products being shown for longer tail keywords which are not too competitive. This is a not bad thing since these keywords can convert better because they are more specific, plus your budget will go further. Competitive terms and good position will require you to bid higher.

A good way to get more sales out of a product that is performing well is to bid higher. This will get you even more exposure for more queries which will probably result in more sales. On the other hand, if you are getting clicks but no sales, try to reduce the bid so you show for a different set of keywords.


It is the right time to get your hands dirty with Google Shopping ads. It is a highly effective marketing tactic for advertising your products alongside your AdWords ads.  If you own an online store and you haven’t launched your Google Shopping ads yet – what are you waiting for? Data clearly shows that they usually outperform text ads and they have lower click costs as well. This will result in a greater return on ad spend for your store. These ads will help you dominate the prime spots on Google search results page since you can use both standard text ads and product listing ads at the same time. ROI of 300-1000% is nothing surprising with Google Shopping ads so it is one of the most effective ways to reach potential buyers.

Managing an effective campaign that produces a good ROI is all about analysing data, figuring out what works, and scaling it until the sales stop. Reviewing your campaign’s performance should be your daily task. Even if you think that your shopping ads are doing well enough, there’s always something that you can do to optimise them even further and get more sales. This could include changing your bidding strategy, testing more images, or adjusting your product groups. You’ll never know what works the best unless you test everything. Also, don’t forget to manage your product data feed so it’s always up to date.