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How to successfully advertize on Google Shopping

August 24, 2020

Looking for tips on how to successfully advertize on Google Shopping? Channable is here to lay out everything you need to get your ads online and in front of your target customer. This article explains what Google Shopping is, what type of retailer and customer is the best fit, and breaks down the setup of the shopping search engine.

Google shopping

What is Google Shopping?

Google Shopping is a product search engine service provided by Google and is not an online shop. Offering customers the opportunity to search, view, and compare items that link to the product pages of the advertized online shop. As a branch of Google Ads, it enables retailers and online businesses to advertize their products across Google’s search network. These ads can appear in the main search results on Google or under the specific ‘Shopping’ tag.

Unlike Google Text Ads which is based on keywords, Google Shopping is built on ‘product feeds.’ Meaning the ads on Google Shopping are generated directly from the information provided in your online shop. This connection allows shoppers to view advertized items you would like to sell directly in their searches and to purchase products directly from your online shop, hence the term ‘Google Shopping feed.’

Advantages of advertising with a Google Shopping feed

Google Shopping is the largest comparison shopping engine in the world, with an ever-expanding list of supported countries. Advertizements on Google Shopping include a photo, title, price, and the name of your online shop. More product relevant information is displayed at the top or right side of the Google search results – above the normal text ads and organic search results.

google shopping feed
Why is Google Shopping such a high conversion driving marketing channel? Below are just some of the advantages of advertizing with a Google Shopping feed, along with how they are relevant to your strategy:

  • Multiple touchpoints – Advertising on Google Shopping allows your products to be found in multiple places on Google’s Search Engine. If your online shop is search engine optimized, your products could be found in multiple ways such as traditional search, PPC text ads, and Google Shopping ads.
  • Visual appeal – Customers like to see what they are buying and visual content has proven to have a major impact on sale conversions and customers’ decisions compared to text-only ads. In fact, Google Shopping Ads can have up to a 30% higher conversion rate than Text Ads.
  • Higher qualified leads – As a retailer on Google Shopping, you have the opportunity to reach more of the lower-funnel customers who have a high intent to buy, leading them straight to the POS via their search terms. With product information connected directly to your ad via your data feed, Google Shopping ads are very informative and result in a higher conversion rate from prospective buyers.

What type of advertizer is a Google Shopping feed most suited for?

Google Shopping is a platform focused on fast and easy conversions. Not so much on creating awareness for a product or brand. Meaning Google Shopping should not be the only channel a brand or company focuses on. Rather a complementary channel to facilitate quick conversions from customers with a high intent to buy.

Successfully setting up your data feed for Google Shopping

To start advertising on Google Shopping you will need to set up your Google Merchant Center account, upload your products using a data feed (online shop), and set up your Google Ads shopping campaigns.

Now to successfully advertize on Google Shopping, you need to ensure you send certain Google approved mandatory fields. You can send this product information to Google Shopping using an automation tool like Channable in two ways: via a live API connection or with a feed:

  • API – APIs allow for a real-time updating: Data can be sent at any time. When something is wrong with the data that is being sent to Google Shopping, the export channel (Google Shopping) can instantly send feedback to the exporting system (Channable). This information can then be given to the user, allowing them to make the changes.
  • Data feed – The advantages of a feed-based system are that it is easy to implement and does not require the sender or the receiver to use special tools or advanced API formats. Meaning even a simple spreadsheet with your product data can be used. The downsides of this system are that there is no good way to continuously update the receiving party about changes.

Further differences between the two types of connections can be read in our help center article. To send the right information, you can easily get an overview of the mandatory fields within Channable under either ‘Finalize’ (for Google Shopping feeds) or ‘Build > Item’ (for Google Shopping APIs).

Providing your product information to Google properly is critical and must be in the right format to be accepted. Certain information can only be processed by a Google shopping feed in a specific way. The following section breaks down what you’ll need to send, to successfully advertize on Google Shopping.

Tips for every mandatory field you need to successfully advertize on Google Shopping

Pro tip: The chart below contains all of the mandatory fields that Google requires for you to successfully advertize on Google Shopping. Organizing this information in the correct format can be very time-consuming if done manually. Using a data feed management tool can show you where errors occur and pinpoint the missing data fields. Not only that, but Channable has the capability of fixing those errors for you, using an if-then rule system. Whether or not a data feed automation tool is used, this chart will give you everything needed to create a clean product feed.

Necessary infoWhat exactly?
Image LinkImages are very important for Google Shopping and selling online generally. We recommend you create a filter rule when you first start making rules, to exclude any items that do not have an image. For more information about specific dimensions and picture quality accepted by Google, read about it in their help center.
AvailabilityThis mandatory field needs to be sent to Google Shopping in the form of either: ‘in stock’, ‘out of stock’, or ‘preorder’. You don’t need to send actual stock levels but the value you set must match the value on your website. To include this information into your feed, simply use Channable’s ‘set to value’ rule and set a newly created field to one of the three options depending on the actual stock level.
*GTIN/EAN
* You’ll need at least one of these, as Google requires you have 2 of the 3 pieces of info: Brand, GTIN or MPN. There is still hope if you don’t, please check this help center article.
GTIN is the umbrella term for unique identifiers such as EANs, UPCs or ISBNs and is basically the barcode of an item. If you don’t already have this information, you can easily purchase them online or ask your distributor for them. Making them up won’t help, you can’t outsmart Google.
TitleThis mandatory field ought to be easily found in your feed already. Make sure it describes your item well. You can even include things like the color or size with Channable’s ‘combine value’ rule.
DescriptionSimilarly to the title, this information should already be easily found in your import. Alternatively, you can always build a new description by combining relevant information from your feed.

Make sure your description is free from HTML jargon by using our strip HTML rule.

LinkThis field is the URL of the products. Simple.
BrandThis information may already be in your feed, but it is VITAL for becoming Google Shopping approved, in conjunction with either GTIN or MPN. See the other descriptions below.

If the brand doesn’t have its own field but can be perhaps located in the description, you can easily search for the ‘value’ (specific brand name) and pop it in a new field.

ConditionThe condition of a product needs to be listed as either ‘new’, ‘used’, or ‘refurbished’ in Google Shopping. Google will default set all condition’s to new if you don’t specify, but if in fact, you do sell used or refurbished items you’ll have to communicate this to them. If this information isn’t in your feed yet, you can easily implement it with the ‘set value’ rule. Simply create a new mapping field from the settings and then ‘set value’ to the applicable condition.
CategoryThe second stage of creating a Channable feed/API is categorization (NB: with the API if you send known EANs, Google Shopping will automatically be able to categorize the items). The options from the drop-down menu are the specific categories Google has. So, you simply need to allocate which groups of items belong to which Google product category. When you map the fields (in the finalize stage or build stage in Channable) remember to use ‘Category (internal)’. More tips on categorization can be found in Channable’s help center.
PriceThis information will be in your feed. Do not try to modify it, as the price shown in Google Shopping should match your website.
Shipping PriceYou’ll most definitely know what the shipping price is if it isn’t already in your feed. If it’s missing, simply create a new mapping field and set the value. For example, if you offer free shipping for items over a certain price you can make a simple rule to set shipping price to zero. Simply create a rule such as “IF price is greater or equal to 50. THEN take shipping price and set to value 0”. You can always set shipping options within your Google Merchant account, more information can be found in Google’s Support article.
*MPN/SKU
* You’ll need at least one of these, as Google Shopping requires you have 2 of the 3 pieces of info: Brand, GTIN or MPN. There is still hope if you don’t, please check this help center article.
A stock keeping unit (SKU) or a manufacturers number (MPN) is a more internal method of identifying items. If you don’t have this number, but you do have a GTIN you can still advertise with Google. If you have neither, you can still send your items to Google Shopping. To find out how, check out useful rules for Google Shopping help center article.
**Shipping CountryIf this information isn’t already in your feed, you should know where your items will be shipping from. As it’ll probably be a fixed country, you can go ahead and make a new mapping field and then just set a country name as the shipping country.
**IdThis information can be any form of number/combination that uniquely identifies each of your items. Note the word, unique.
***SizeFor clothing items, it’s important you send the size to Google Shopping. If this value is perhaps at the end of the title, you can simply use Channable’s split text value.
***Age groupThe age group is only applicable if you want to advertise clothing items with Google Shopping. The specific groups they accept are: ‘newborn’, ‘infant’, ‘toddler’, ‘kids’, and ‘adult’. With this list in mind, you could use a rule such as search for value (search for specific sizes) and then use the replacement value option. So, any clothing item with the size 0 – 9 months can be assigned to the age group ‘newborn’ by searching for it and replacing the value with ‘newborn’.
***ColorThe color of an item is only applicable for fashion items. Luckily Google Shopping doesn’t specify color names, so feel free to use the values you have in your feed. If you don’t have them in a specific field, simply create a new field and search for the value.
***GenderThis information is only needed for sending fashion items to Google Shopping and needs to be either unisex, female or male. If you sell only fashion items for one gender, this field can be easily provided by creating a new field and setting the value to the ‘Google recognized’ gender you sell to.
****CurrencyThis is only necessary for using Channable’s API connection with Google Shopping. You can either choose from ‘EUR/GBP/USD/CAD/NOK/SEK/DKK/CHF’ from Channable’s built-in drop-down menu or implement it into the feed with a new field and ‘set to value’ rule. Make sure this value is true to what is displayed in the URL link of the item.

** Mandatory for feeds only (because when you create an API connection you already specify in the first step what the unique ID per item is)
*** Mandatory only for when fashion is selected as ‘Type of market’ in feed settings

****Mandatory only for Google Shopping API

Finally, if you decide to use an automation tool to manage your product feed, it’s recommended you create, what Channable defines as a ‘Filter rule’ first. This rule will simply exclude any items that would otherwise be automatically rejected, or you do not want to sell. For reasons such as a missing image link, or the price is 0. Channable rules work in descending order. So, starting with a filter will ensure that the rules that’ll follow will only be applied to items worth advertising. While this list may seem quite overwhelming or contain a lot of information, using an automation tool can get you up and running in no time.

Next steps

Now that you have all the information needed to successfully advertize on Google Shopping the next step is getting started. If you want to connect to Google Shopping with Channable but do not already have an account, sign up for free.

Build your connection to Google Shopping in your own time and only choose a subscription when you’re ready to go live. If you experience any Google Merchant Center errors that aren’t mentioned above, you’re always welcome to contact Channable’s technical support team to get you going.

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Vanshj Seth
Sales & Marketing US