Everything you need to know about Google Shopping Ads

February 9, 2024

American retailers now spend a staggering 76% of their search ad budgets on Google Shopping Ads, cementing its position as an indispensable platform for eCommerce brands who want to reach highly-motivated shoppers, advertise their products, and drive conversions.

Shopping campaignsGoogle

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Everything you need to know about Google Shopping Ads

In this guide, we'll give you an overview of Google Shopping Ads and explain why they can be an asset to your multichannel eCommerce strategy.

We'll cover everything from setting up campaigns to product feed requirements and optimization tips. By the end of this article, you’ll be well-equipped to use Google Shopping Ads to drive more traffic to your product pages and increase sales.

What are Google Shopping Ads?

Google Shopping Ads are a type of online advertising that allows businesses to promote their products directly on Google's search results pages and other platforms. Shopping Ads typically appear at the top of search results and are more visual than traditional text ads, making them more effective at capturing attention and driving clicks.

Google Shopping Ads display a product image, title, price, store name, and other relevant information such as your shipping policy, shipping costs, and an average rating based on customer reviews.

How do Google Shopping Ads work?

how Google Shopping ads work

Unlike traditional PPC ad campaigns, you don’t need to bid on specific keywords to run Google Shopping Ads. Instead, you just have to upload a detailed product feed to Google Merchant Center.

This feed includes all the information about your products, like titles, descriptions, images, prices, and other relevant details. Google then uses this feed to create visually appealing ads that match your products to relevant search queries and product searches.

When setting up a Google Shopping Ads campaign, you still need to define your target audience and set your bidding strategy, indicating how much you're willing to pay when someone clicks on your ad.

Your Google Merchant Center product feed can also be used to create Performance Max Campaigns. Performance Max Campaigns include auto-generated ads based on assets provided by advertisers and in the Merchant Center feed.

Unlike Shopping Ads, Performance Max campaigns can be used in a wide range of Google Ads formats such as Display Ads, Text Ads, and YouTube Ads.

Wondering if Performance Max campaigns are right for your business? Check out our ultimate guide to creating a Performance Max campaign.

Google Shopping Ads: 4 benefits

Google Shopping Ads provide a convenient and informative shopping experience for users, helping them quickly find the products they're looking for. That’s why Shopping Ads can be a better option compared to other ad formats. Here’s why:

1. Attract high-intent leads who are ready to make a purchase

Shopping Ads let shoppers browse through images, compare prices, and make informed choices before they even click on your ad. By the time a shopper has landed on your website, they have already compared your products with competitors and are more likely to convert into customers.

2. Increased visibility

Your Shopping Ads are displayed in prominent positions alongside text ads and organic search results, giving your products more chance of being noticed by potential buyers. If you have similar products, then more than one of your Shopping Ads can show up for the same search query. You can also combine Shopping Ads with Text Ads to reach a wider audience.

3. Retail-first campaign management

Instead of relying on keywords, Shopping Ads use the detailed product information you provide in your Merchant Center data feed to match your products with relevant searches. That means you can access your inventory directly within Google Ads and organize your products into groups for targeted bidding. For instance, you can create groups for discounted products, limited collections, or high-stock items.

4. Advanced analytics

The Google Ads dashboard provides granular insights into how your products or product groups are performing. For example, if you sell t-shirts, you can easily filter to see how many clicks and impressions each specific product (SKU) has received. You also have access to benchmarking data which allows you to measure your performance against your competitors.

How to set up a Google Shopping Ads campaign

how to set up Google Shopping ads

Before you can launch a Google Shopping Ads campaign, you need to make sure that you’ve created a product feed and uploaded it to the Google Merchant Center.

Product feed requirements for Google Shopping Ads

The easiest way to create a product feed is by exporting your products from your eCommerce platform into a CSV or Excel file. To ensure your product feed complies with Google Merchant Center's standards and gets approved, it must include all mandatory product attributes:

  • ID [id]
  • Title [title]
  • Description [description]
  • Link [link]
  • Image link [image_link]
  • Availability [availability]
  • Availability date [availability_date]
  • Price [price]

You can find a full list of product attributes and formatting guidelines here.

Creating a Google Shopping Ads campaign

Once your product feed is approved, your products will be listed on the Google Shopping tab for free and be eligible to be used in ads. Before you can create Shopping campaigns, you need to
link your Google Ads account to your Merchant Center account.

Already linked the two accounts? Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating your first Google Shopping Ads campaign:

1. In your Google Ads account, click the “+” button, then click “New campaign”.

2. Choose your campaign objective: “Sales”, “Leads”, “Website traffic“, “Local store visits and promotions”, or “Create a campaign without a goal’s guidance”.

3. Select “Shopping” as your campaign type.

4. Select the Merchant Center account that has products you want to advertise.

5. This is optional but you can select an additional product feed if you want to advertise specific products or products eligible to be sold in a specific country. You can assign feed labels in your Merchant Center account.

6. Create “Standard Shopping campaign” as your campaign type.

7. Choose your campaign preferences:

  • Campaign name: Enter a descriptive name for the campaign so that you’ll be able to find it later.
  • Bidding: Choose “Maximize clicks” if you want to drive traffic to your store, “tROAS” if you want more return on your ad spend, or Manual CPC if you want to control the amount you pay per click.
  • Daily budget: Choose how much you’re willing to spend per day.
  • Networks: Choose if you want to advertise on Google’s Search Partners as well as the Search Network.
  • Devices: Target all devices or specific devices.
  • Locations: Choose the countries where you want your ads to be shown.

8. Click “Save and continue”.

9. Create an ad group:

  • Ad group name: Enter a name for the ad group, such as “Winter collection - EU - Q1”
  • Bid: Enter a bid depending on how much you want to spend for the ad group.

10. Click “Save”

Splitting your products into multiple ad groups is a smart way to manage your Google Shopping Ads campaigns. This gives you more control over your bids, so you can increase your bids for important product categories (such as best-sellers) and optimize your ad spend for the best results.

Optimize your Google Shopping Ads with Channable

A dedicated feed management tool helps you whip your product data into shape so it speaks Google's language, turning messy product feed spreadsheets into ads that actually work.

Here’s how a feed management tool like Channable can empower you to streamline the entire feed optimization process:

Relevant and up-to-date product data

Getting your product data in the right format can be tricky, especially if your source data formats differ. For instance, the format of your product titles or product attributes like colors and materials might vary from Google’s requirements.

Channable's Google Shopping API and feed connection make it easy to format your data correctly and deliver all the mandatory fields to Google. Plus, our rule system filters out irrelevant products and outdated info, keeping your feed up-to-date and accurate.

Smart categorization

Optimize Google Shopping ads product feed

Channable’s built-in smart categorization lets you categorize your products in only a few minutes with the help of AI, reducing the time you would usually spend optimizing your Google product feed. Without the need for manual product categorization, you’ll be able to get your Google Shopping Ads up and running in no time.

Performance-based campaign optimization

Thanks to our Google Shopping API, you can see how all your products listed on Merchant Center Next are performing in Google Shopping ad campaigns, directly in the Channable dashboard.

You can get real-time insights on key metrics such as click-through rate and conversion rate, allowing you to make data-driven decisions to optimize your campaign performance, such as boosting top sellers or creating more visibility for low-performing items.

If you want to learn more about Channable, sign up for a free trial account.

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