How to Use Google Shopping to Increase Retail Sales

June 5th, 2019 by Leslie Williams

It’s more important for retailers, now more than ever, to capitalize on the internet as an additional revenue source for their businesses. The vast majority of internet users in the U.S. are expected to shop online this year, with Statista estimating that 80% of all internet users in the country are expected to make at least one purchase online during the 2019 calendar year. Compound this fact with the matter of Google being the most used search engine worldwide with over 1 trillion searches taking place on the search engine per day, the importance of utilizing Google’s shopping tools to boost profitability can’t be overstated.

What Are Google Shopping Ads?

One of the most important Google tools that online retailers can take advantage of is Google Shopping Ads. Google Shopping Ads are product listing ads that are featured across Google’s Search and Shopping results. These ads differ from Google’s paid search ads in that they feature product pictures, while paid search ads do not. There’s also no need to set up text ads or bid on any keywords with the use of Google Shopping Ads, which is another key difference between the two popular ad types.

Person using credit card to make purchase on Google Shopping

Online retailers can use Google Shopping campaigns to promote their local and online inventory, and boost traffic to their websites and local stores. Shopping campaigns also give retailers the benefit of being able to find better qualified leads for their product offerings. By featuring detailed product information directly within your shopping ads, online retailers better help shoppers make well informed purchasing decisions, which in turn leads to increased conversions and purchases. In addition to including detailed product information within your Google Shopping Ads, there are several other key areas of importance that retailers must focus on in order to achieve success with a Google Shopping Ads campaign.

Your Product Feed: The Key to Campaign Success

One of the most important areas to consider when taking on a shopping campaign is the proper setup and optimization of your product feed. For context, Google Shopping is powered by two platforms: AdWords and Google Merchant Center. Google Merchant Center is where your product feed lives. Your data feed is simply information about the products that you want to sell formatted in an organized way that Google can read and understand. As we previously mentioned, you don’t bid on the keywords your Product Listing Ads show up for. Google instead crawls your feed and determines if one or more of your products is relevant for a particular search query. In this regard, Google Shopping has similarities to SEO. You need to structure the various elements of your feed so that Google can make sense of it and find it relevant for the appropriate search queries.

The three most important elements to consider when building your product feed include the product title, product description, and Google product category. First and foremost, your product title should be accurate, descriptive, and include top keywords as well as the name of the product. Important information about the product should be frontloaded in the title, and additional descriptors such as make, model, size, or color are all helpful keywords to include in the title of your product.

Secondly, product descriptions should follow the same guidelines as product titles. Ensuring that your product description accurately describes the item at hand, while also including relevant keywords and important product information at the beginning of the description all help increase the chances of your ad being shown for relevant search queries.

Lastly, choosing an appropriate category for the products in your shopping campaign is an important (and required) step to getting your products to show up for the right search queries. Google has created a fairly exhaustive list of categories and subcategories that your products might fall under, which can be found here. There are currently over 6,000 categories and subcategories to choose from on Google’s list. Only one category per product can be selected, so it’s important to choose the most relevant category for the product at hand. This will help Google understand exactly what your product is when deciding to display your ad in response to consumer search queries.

Carrying shopping bags after a lot of retail spending

Getting Your Bidding Strategy Correct

Aside from your product feed, your shopping campaign bids are the most important part of your ad strategy. Your bids will play a key role in determining which queries your ads show up for, along with the overall profitability of your campaign. Shopify suggests taking into account your product price, profit margin, and online conversion rate to calculate your initial cost per click bid. Once your initial bid is set, be sure to adjust your bids if you find that your ads aren’t gaining enough impressions, clicks, and conversions. Increase bids slightly—by $.05 to $.10 at a time—until the ads begin to generate more impressions and clicks.

You’ll also want to be mindful of your daily budget, and monitor this metric closely. It’s very likely that a new campaign won’t hit their maximum daily budget in the first days and weeks. Over time, as your click-thru rates improve, and as Google gains more data on how users respond to your ads, they’ll begin to show them more frequently for relevant queries. Once this trend shifts, you’ll want to review your daily budget to allow for more impressions and clicks for your campaign.

Campaign Performance Review & Ongoing Optimizations

After your campaigns are set up, and you’ve settled on a successful bidding strategy, it’ll be time to track your success and review your campaign for optimization opportunities. Reviewing the amount of clicks and impressions for the products in your product feed can help you in deciding next steps to further boost the performance of your campaign.

For example, products with a high amount of clicks but low conversions may benefit from a thorough review of their product page on your site. Could your product images be clearer? Does the page showcase product reviews? Think of the onsite page optimizations from a consumer standpoint, and make adjustments accordingly.

Another report worth reviewing regularly is the search query report. Reviewing keyword performance will give you insight into whether adding negative keywords, changing up your product feed, or reducing certain product bids would be an effective optimization.

When you partner with our team at Search Influence, we will handle every detail of your campaign to make sure it performs effectively so you can focus on growing your business. Our online advertising services can help you reach your target audience and make continuous improvements to your advertising strategy. Get started today by requesting a proposal online.