Beginners Guide: What You Need to Know About Google Shopping Ads

Google Shopping Ads (GSAs), formerly known as Product Listing Ads, are an effective way to drive sales for your business by making your products visible to Google users. Unlike Google Adwords, which place text ads at the top of search results, GSAs use product visuals to hook customers actively looking for products like yours. Businesses are quickly catching on to the power of GSAs: According to Search Engine Land, GSAs made up 43 percent of all retailers’ paid search clicks from Q4 of 2014 to Q1 of 2016. So what do you need to know about GSAs? Today we’ll look at who can best benefit from GSAs discuss best practices, mobile optimization, keyword research, and how you can get the most out of your paid search efforts.

What are Google Shopping Ads?

Google Shopping Ads show users a photo of your product alongside a title, price, and store name. Highly visible, the ads display at the top and top-right corner of search results. They are targeted by product name and product category rather than keyword. Using product specs you provide (size, color, price, brand, etc;) Google determines which products are relevant to users in Google searches. Google Search AdWho are GSAs for? Ecommerce merchants can see an impressive return-on-investment (ROI) from GSAs, which have been shown to outperform other ad types by 2x. “Your success as an online merchant hinges on your ability to attract new customers at an acceptable cost,” Shopify explains in their Google Shopping eBook “Google Shopping ads are one of the leading traffic sources that can give you an edge in a competitive landscape.” As powerful as they are, GSAs still require effort to work effectively. You’ll need stellar data, keyword research, and mobile optimization to be truly successful. With proper implementation, GSAs can make a nearly-immediate impact for eCommerce merchants. Outside of eCommerce, other websites can also strategically use GSAs to bolster their bottom line. For example, consider the marketing needs of a lifestyle blog. Let’s say you ran your own fly fishing blog and your ad budget is split at about 70 percent on pay-per-click advertising, 20 percent on Facebook/Instagram ads, and 10 percent on Twitter ads. That doesn’t take into account email marketing and optimization for organic search. If you had the capital for the investment, you could drive traffic to your blog by selling branded merchandise you promote through GSAs, thereby increasing what you can charge for in-article ads, product sponsorships, and so on. Koozies, shirts, keychains, and other knick-knacks fly fishermen can’t live without are stellar blog merchandise options, all of which could raise awareness through GSA traffic. While eCommerce isn’t the blog’s primary focus, you can use eCommerce and GSAs as powerful tools to meet your goals. Anyone else can do the same thing — online merchant or not.

Leverage GSA Campaign Data in Content Marketing

Beyond directing users to product-specific landing pages, marketers can use keywords to raise brand awareness and establish themselves as an authority in their industry. When you pull data from a comprehensive GSA campaign, you can see what customers are searching for when finding and buying your product through a GSA ad. For example, if people are searching for “fishing lures” and converting to sales on that keyword, you can use that keyword more frequently in blogs and emails to drive brand awareness and present your site as the go-to destination for fishing lures. Fishing Lures Keyword If used intelligently and strategically, the data you’ll pull from your GSA campaign will unquestionably aid in content marketing efforts.

Best Practices

Now that we’ve gone over who benefits the most from GSAs, let’s take a deeper look at best practices. You can find a comprehensive list of 10 best practices here, but I want to focus on just a few of them.

Test Product Titles

First off, you need to test your product titles to determine which titles convert customers. While testing their GSA campaigns, Andreas Reiffen took two product titles and ran A/B tests to see how tweaks as small as two words impacted their traffic. The original product title was “Lipsy Lace Panel Body Conscious Dress – Navy.” When pulling GSA data for that listing, they found their Lipsy product had 419 clicks. However, when that GSA was pulled up in a search and users had the choice between the “Lipsy Lace Panel Body Conscious Dress – Navy” product listing and another brand’s product, the other product garnered 18,552 clicks. That’s an alarmingly huge disparity, leading them to pull data to see which queries resulted in the most sales for that particular Lipsy dress. The data showed the phrase “party dresses” led to the most sales. With that in mind, they amended the product title to read “Party Dresses Lipsy Lace Panel Body Conscious.” The difference between clicks and traffic? The updated title garnered 4,023 clicks, compared to the previous 419. That’s the kind of valuable, direct-sales growth you can expect if you put the time into optimizing your titles. Product title optimization is arguably the most important best practice when creating GSAs. You should also make sure to use remarketing lists, push your inventory through Google Shopping, and as always, check on your prices. Details on these best practices can be found in the article linked at the beginning of this section.

Go Mobile

Newsflash: Our phones aren’t going anywhere. From Jan. 1 2015 to March 1, 2016, GSA mobile impressions grew more than 200%. You’ll need to ensure you’re optimized to handle mobile traffic and convert that traffic to sales. Here are some first steps to take:
  • Create mobile-only landing pages for every GSA in your campaign
  • Contact info is key — make it incredibly simple to get ahold of your company if a user has questions regarding a product. Adding your phone number is a great way to accomplish this.
  • Make sure to modify your advertising bids for mobile. While the cost of mobile ads versus desktop ads isn’t the huge disparity it once was, it still pays to do this.
According to a Think with Google study, more than 50 percent of shoppers are open to buying from new retailers. GSAs put your products in front of them as a direct answer to their search queries. Yes, building a successful GSA campaign requires effort, testing, and strategic implementation — but when done right, GSAs are an efficient, affordable way to connect open and interested customers with your brand. ]]>

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