After reviewing what Google Shopping consists of (operation and history), we offer a complete tutorial from creating your Google Merchant Center account to designing your Google Shopping campaign from Google AdWords.
1 Google Shopping, what is it for?
Google Shopping is a Google service accessible directly from the search engine. It is a sort of search engine for physical products, quite similar in its operation to a comparator of products and prices. A Google Shopping block appears directly in Google search results for e-commerce type queries, such as “running sports shoes”:
By clicking on the “Shopping” tab, you access the complete comparison, with filtering options and the list of all the products associated with the query:
The Internet user can filter the results using many criteria: new / used, price, category, color, gender (men/women), merchants (decathlon.fr, priceminister.com, etc.). If you are an e-merchant, being present on Google Shopping allows you to considerably increase the visibility of your products and ultimately increase your turnover. Unlike Adwords ads, Shopping “ads” provide very detailed information about a particular product: the name of the product, a description, the price of the product, the price of delivery, any promotions, customer reviews, etc., etc. Not to mention the image which considerably enriches the ads.
This level of precision allows you to attract much more qualified traffic than average to your e-commerce site. A user who clicks on a Google Shopping link is much more likely to convert (and buy a product) than a user who clicks on a text-only link (natural or Adwords) in search results.
Be careful, however, to dissociate:
- Sponsored ads (in red): The ranking of these results is established on the basis of the number of advertisers’ bids combined with criteria of relevance. By clicking on one of these products, the Internet user is redirected to the corresponding e-commerce site.
- Products that you can buy directly from Google (in green): Google ranks these results by relevance only and earns commissions from merchants on sales made. By clicking on one of these products, the Internet user can buy this product without leaving Google Shopping:
Google Shopping offers a much more suitable display for physical product ads than AdWords ads.
Before explaining to you how to make your products appear on Google Shopping tutorial, let’s quickly go back to the origin of this service, which has undergone several changes …
# 2 A brief history of the service, from Product Search to Google Shopping
Google Shopping was born in 2010. It is the successor of the Froogle service, renamed Google Product Search from 2007. The main characteristic of Google Product Search, which differentiated it at the time from other comparators, was it’s free. GPS was completely free. Google Shopping replaced Google Product Search in 2010. Google Shopping became chargeable in 2012. Search results in Google Shopping are now both determined on the basis of relevance criteria (including taking into account descriptions, titles , technical data, images, customer reviews) and by the amount paid by e-merchants. Google Shopping uses the same system as Adwords (auctions + CPC). We will also see that the configuration of Google Shopping campaigns is done from the AdWords interface.
Google Search Products, the (free) ancestor of Google Shopping:
Like AdWords, Google Shopping uses:
- An auction system. The one with the highest bid appears first in the results.
- A CPC model (cost per click). As a Google Shopping user, you are billed by Google each time an Internet user clicks on your ad (on “See offer”). You can set a daily budget that should not be exceeded. Signing up to the Google Merchant Center and simply viewing your products on the Shopping platform is free.
Google Shopping was initially launched in the United States, it is now present in more than 40 countries.
# 3 How does Google Shopping work?
Google Shopping ads are very different from regular Google Ads. First, Google’s algorithms process a special file called a ‘product feed’ (we’ll get to that later) which contains all the data relating to the products in your store (titles, descriptions, images, prices, etc.) .
Google uses this data to match your products to relevant search queries and to create the ads themselves.
Internet users will see ads that match their searches, along with a product image, price, and additional information (such as reviews).
If someone likes what they see, they click on your ad, which brings them to your website.
In return, Google charges you for that click.
Here’s a simple example: You sell cell phone accessories and launch a shopping campaign to increase your sales.
- # 1 You provide Google with data about your products in a product feed
- # 2 Someone searches for “iPhone 11 wireless charger” on Google
- # 3 Google’s algorithms select an iPhone 11 compatible wireless charger in your store, create a purchase ad for that charger, and show it to the finder along with other ads.
- # 4 The searcher sees the ads and clicks on yours
- # 5 The searcher is brought to your products page
- # 6 Google makes you pay per click
# 4 Create an account on Google Merchant Center
Creating an account on Google Merchant Center is very easy and will only take you a few minutes. As with all other Google services, you must have a Google Account to register with Merchant Center. If you use a Gmail or Google Analytics box, you must have one.
- Contact details of your company.
- Choose where your customers will finalize their purchase: On your site, on Google, in-store.
- If you are already using Shopify or Paypal you must indicate this.
- Accept the conditions of use of the service
So you have 3 options:
- “I have access to my server” (right): The easiest method is to import an HTML file on your site’s server. You will need to leave this HTML file on your server to maintain owner status.
- The “Google Analytics” method (on the left): If you are already using Google Analytics to analyze the statistics of your e-commerce site, you just have to copy and paste the asynchronous Google Analytics tracking code in the header of your site.
- The “Google Tag Manager” method (in the center): Just add the GTM container extract to your website.
You can skip the verification/claim step and do it later. You will then have to go to the Google Merchant Center interface in Settings> Website verification. Regardless, we recommend that you verify and claim your site right away, especially if you’re planning to start a Google Shopping campaign right away.
Once these steps are completed, you are redirected to the Google Merchant Center interface. You must now enter several information about you and your company in the “Settings” menu. In particular, you are invited to indicate your delivery methods and to configure the taxes (amount of VAT). Complete your account information as much as possible.
5 Link your e-commerce site to Google Merchant Center: create a product feed
Now that you’ve created and configured your Google Merchant Center account, you need to import all of the products in your catalog that you want to be displayed on the Google Shopping platform. Let’s say it right away: this is the most complex and longest step.
For this, you need to create a product feed. The product feed is the heart of your Google Shopping campaign, it is a tabular file that summarizes all the information about the products you want to appear on Google Shopping tutorial. Each row corresponds to a product, and to each column an attribute (product name, price, color, etc.).
There are several ways to create a product feed for Google ads, we will show you the two most efficient and stable options: either by using the API of an e-commerce platform or by manually creating a spreadsheet. calculation.
Need help with Google shopping tutorial?
Solution 1: Use an API
If you’re on one of the major eCommerce platforms (Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, etc.), you can download an app to speed up your product feed setup.
Note that Bigcommerce allows you to directly import your catalog and automatically update your product file. If you are using Prestashop, Magento or WooCommerce, be aware that there are plugins available to do the same. Type “Google Merchant Center” in your CMS app/plugin store. Some plugins/extensions are free, others pay.
Solution 2: Create the file manually
To create this file, you have several solutions. You can import a table in .xml or .txt format, or you can use Google Sheets. You must access the “Feed” menu of the Google Merchant Center interface to create your product feed.
Some of the attributes in your product table are required, some are optional. The attributes will be used in the display of your products on Google Shopping. Using optional attributes will allow you to enrich the information that will appear in Google Shopping. Here is the list of mandatory attributes for all products:
- The identifier: it must be unique for each product. If you use multiple product feeds, you cannot reuse the same ID in your different files. Most e-merchants use the article code to define the identifier.
- The title: this is the name or designation of the article. The title appears in Google Search or Google Shopping results. The title should be explicit, meaningful. It is possible to mention in the title the size, color or other important characteristics attached to the article. On the other hand, it is not possible to integrate promotional messages in the title.
- Description: this is a very important element, for the Internet user of course, but also by Google which will analyze its content to display the results. It plays an essential role in the referencing of your products in Google Shopping. Think about SEO optimization (keywords, etc.). You are limited to 5,000 characters.
- The link: this is the landing page to which Google will refer if the Internet user clicks on “See the offer”. You can configure this URL to be able to track it later on Google Analytics.
- Image link: this is the URL of the main image. Note that you can also add secondary images. For the main image, choose good quality photos with optimized weight.
- Condition: this is to indicate whether your product is new, used or reconditioned.
- Availability: this involves specifying whether the product is in stock, not available or on pre-order.
- The price. Remember to respect Google’s nomenclature: “20.45 EUR”.
- The brand: if you are a reseller, you must indicate the name of the brand of the product and not the name of your resale company.
- The Gtin: this is the bar code of your product. In Europe, the EAN code (GTIN-13), 13 digits is used.
- The manufacturer’s reference, allowing the manufacturer to be identified.
- The category: be careful, these are not your own product categories but those used by Google. Check out Google’s list of categories here. You cannot choose two categories for the same product.
- Delivery: you must indicate in this field the number of shipping costs and the type of delivery.
To learn more about mandatory attributes, click here. The easiest way to create your product table is to use a Google Sheets spreadsheet (Google’s online software very similar to Excel). By using Google Sheets, Google provides you with file templates that will save you a lot of time (by clicking on “Add-ons”). You can also use Excel, but you will need to save your table in .txt format because Merchant Center does not recognize Excel (.xls) format.
Your product feed will need to be regularly updated in the event of price changes, changes in delivery, change in availability, new product, etc. Moreover, your feed remains active for a month. If you don’t do any updates for a month, Google will send you an email asking you to do so. You should therefore do at least one update per month.
Add a product feed to Google Merchant Center
If your store’s platform is connected to the Google Merchant Center via its API (this is the case if you are for example on Shopify), then you do not need to add your data feed because the data is automatically sent at GMC.
If not, you have to do it manually. Click on “Products” then on “Create product feed”.
When you add a product feed to Google Merchant Center, Google asks you for several pieces of information. Here are some details on the subject:
- Import mode: Choose “Content API” if you used solution # 1, and “Google Sheet” or “Upload” if you used solution # 2
- Target Country: Indicates the country in which your Google Shopping ads can appear. If you choose France, your descriptions must be in French and you must use the euro as the currency (logical…).
- Content Language: This is the language used in your product file.
- Name of the feed: as the name suggests, this is about giving your feed a name. This will help you find your way around if you are using multiple feeds.
Once your feed is registered, you can follow the import status of your products from the “Products” tab of the interface. In the event of problems encountered importing your product catalog, go to the “Diagnostics” tab. Forgetting mandatory attributes is a frequent source of errors.
You can create several product feeds. This is particularly interesting if you want to promote your products on Google Shopping in several countries. Each flow will correspond to a specific target country (and a specific currency if applicable).
6 Connect Google Merchant Center to AdWords
Once you’ve created your product feed, you’ll need to link your Google Merchant Center account to AdWords to create your Google Shopping campaign.
Linking Google Merchant Center to AdWords allows the data contained in your Merchant Center account (= your product feed) to be transmitted to your AdWords account. The principle is simple: you will have to send a request to link Merchant Center to AdWords from your Merchant Center account.
Go to the “Google Ads” tab, then Google automatically displays the associated accounts, you can also add others under the “Other Google Ads Account” section.
Finally, approve the request to finalize the association of the two accounts.
7 Create ads on AdWords and set the budget
We will quickly go over this last step, which has already been largely described in the article which explains how to create an AdWords campaign. Creating a Google Shopping tutorial campaign is not much different than creating a regular AdWords campaign. In particular, you must choose a CPC and set a daily budget.
To create your first Google Shopping campaign, click on “+ Campaign” in the Campaign menu.
Several options are available to you, choose “Create a campaign without a goal’s guidance”, then “Shopping” in the menu below.
You must then choose between:
- “Smart Shopping campaign”: Smart Shopping also serves advertisements on the Display network. This means that they can appear as banner ads on other sites or even on YouTube. A bidding strategy that automatically optimizes your CPC rates through machine learning to increase your conversions.
- “Standard Shopping campaign”: You can set the maximum CPC for each product.
The following section invites you to enter as much information as possible in order to personalize your campaigns. In particular, you can determine the priority of your Google Shopping tutorial campaign by clicking on Campaign priority. This is useful if you run multiple Shopping campaigns (with different bids) promoting the same product.
By default, all Shopping campaigns are assigned “low” priority by Google. More interestingly, you can filter the products affected by your Google Shopping campaign. Each filter (or condition) corresponds to a specific attribute in your product feed.
Creating your first Google Shopping campaign might seem a bit overwhelming. But once you’ve created your first product feed and familiarized yourself with how AdWords works (if you haven’t already), you’ll find that things will go a lot faster. Google Shopping campaigns are clearly an opportunity if you market physical products and plan to promote them on Google. for any help related to , get in touch with us