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Google Shopping Basics

Updated: Dec 12, 2022


I’ve just completed the Google Shopping basics course and thought I would put this blog post together to show the topics covered and give you a summary of each one. The Google Digital Garage is a great source of free short courses to help with your digital marketing, to improve your skills and assist your business.

Grow your retail business with Google

We all face many challenges in business and Google is here to support us and provide the best experience for our customers with their tools. With Google you can accelerate your business with insights, tools and data. Connect with shoppers at each stage of their journey and drive action by providing the most convenient solution.

We have all seen the customer journey change with convenience being a high priority point, faster delivery, more demanding needs and a requirement for personalisation. Google has advanced technology to help you stay in touch with these demands and accelerate (increase profitability), connect (increase traffic and acquire new customers) and drive action (increase sales).

Reach more customers with shopping campaigns

Utilising Google shopping and campaigns enables you to give your product catalogue a boost and be seen by more people online. The campaigns and ads can drive traffic to your website for a customer to make a purchase or drive them to your local store to purchase. Shopping ads show a photo, title, price, store name and product description so your customer knows at a glance what is suitable for them. Google shopping ads appear in the Google results at the top of the page, on the right, in their own tab, on mobile and Google shopping property.

Shopping campaigns can offer you the following benefits:

  • Better engagement – customer can view and interactive with attractive campaigns to give them a better understanding of the product.

  • Better qualified leads – by adding product information in your ad the customer is better informed for when they visit your site.

  • Easy, retail-centric campaign management – Shopping ads use product attributes rather than keywords to show your ads.

  • Broader presence – more than one ad can display for a search and you can have shopping and text ads running at the same time.

  • Powerful reporting and competitive data – you can monitor how your products are performing at many levels.

As well as shopping ads you can also utilise smart shopping campaigns. These campaigns can help simplify your campaign management, maximise your conversion value and expand your reach. A smart shopping campaign combines standard shopping ads with display remarketing which helps to reach the whole of Googles network including search, display, YouTube and Gmail.

Drive shopping instore with local product ads

Google ads not only promote your online store but they can help to drive traffic into your physical store where they can make a purchase. There are times when people can’t or don’t want to buy items online and want that personal face to face service before making a purchase.

Local inventory ads appear for people searching when they are nearby your store or looking to purchase in your location. The ad will show your products plus the location details of where your store is and contact number. The ads are visual and mobile friendly as a lot of people may be on the move whilst doing this search. You can see the main view of the product store, click into a product for detail and see a map view of where you are based.

Promote your brand with showcase shopping ads

Customer will use broader search terms in Google when they are at the earlier stages of the buying journey and conducting their research. Google offers showcase shopping ads to help customers explore your brand, grow awareness of your brand and offering and provide that introduction.

Showcase ads allow you to guide the customer down the purchasing funnel. The ads appear within the search results page and when clicked on, the ad expands to show more of your catalogue and offering. The customer can browse this on Google and when ready click through to your website. The ads contain more information than a normal shopping ad including - header image, headline, description, URL and a product category.

Grow your business with Google ads

So many people now rely on Google to find information, do their shopping and learn. We’ve all heard someone say ‘just Google it’. This means its increasingly important to ensure your website is visible. If your site isn’t ranking in those top results organically you have the option for Google ads to push you to the top of the list and showcase your offering.

All types of advertising campaigns whether that’s offline, online, social or search ads should be based around your business objectives. Google ads help achieve your business objectives and goals by driving sales, getting leads, increasing website traffic, influencing people’s choice, building awareness and promoting apps.

Google ads is built around 3 key principles:

  • Relevance – helping you connect with the right people, at the right time and with the right message.

  • Control – control over your budget, how much you spend and when you spend.

  • Results – their measurement tools allow you to only pay for clicks on your ads or calls from the ads.

There are different campaign types within Google that can be used to help your business objectives these include search, display, shopping, video and app.

Search ads are text ads that appear within the Google results page and on partnering websites. They allow you to add headlines and description and target customers based on the keywords they search for.

Display ads are visual and help increase awareness. Display ads appear across millions of websites and display for a customer if they have recently shown interest in your website, product or offering.

Video ads allow you to capture the attention of your audience. You only pay when people choose to watch your video and can really help to bring your business story to life.

Shopping ads allow you to appear in Google search or the shopping tab when your audience is searching for your specific products. These ads are great for when people are ready to purchase and can drive sales conversions.

App campaigns run across search, Play and YouTube. App campaigns can help increase engagement, app installs or even in-app actions.

Increase efficiency with automated bidding

Your bidding strategy is determined by the type of campaign you are running and what you want your audience to do. This could be generating traffic to your site so you want click thru rate, video views, app downloads or impressions.

Getting the right bidding strategy is essential as it can determine the success of your campaign. I would also suggest using Googles automated bidding as this uses machine learning to set your bid, saves you time, gets you in front of the right audience and cross analyses for you.

Within the automated bidding process, you have different strategies to choose from. Let’s take a look at the options available and what they might be used for.

  • Awareness based bidding strategy – if you are looking to raise awareness of your brand you may use a target impression share. This helps your ads meet a specific impression share for a location or search result.

  • Consideration focused bidding strategy – use a maximise clicks to generate as many clicks as possible for a certain budget. This is when you want to drive volume to a site and is normally at the top of your conversion funnel.

  • Conversion focused bidding strategy – your goal here is ultimately conversion and you have three options to select from. Maximise conversion drives as many conversions as possible for your budget. Target cost per acquisition automatically sets bids to increase conversions. Enhanced cost per click automatically adjusts your bid with the likelihood of conversion.

  • Revenue focused bidding strategy – target return on ad spend automatically sets bids to help you get as many conversions as possible at the target return on ad spend you set.

Increasing conversions with performance planning

For any of your digital marketing campaigns to be successful it requires planning to get the right message, to the right people, at the right time. Planning can also ensure you are spending your budget wisely and effectively and utilising your own time efficiently.

Google advises to plan your ad budget in advance to help you with the following elements:

  • Understand future potential and when to spend.

  • Take advantage of seasonality changes.

  • Set optimal budget for ROI and maximum performance.

  • Find new opportunities of growth.

The performance planning in Google ads is a forecasting tool that uses machine learning to help you understand the potential performance in the future. It gives you suggestions for how to optimise your campaigns and the changes can quickly be made whilst in the Google ads platform. You will determine your budget whilst also improving your return on investment.

You may have seen the recommendations option in Google ads and now thinking what is the difference? The performance planner gives you suggestions and recommendations for the budget of your campaigns whereas the recommendations look a lot wider.

It’s advised to check the performance planner every month to look for fluctuation from market share, seasonality changes and competitor changes. When you use the performance planner it is best to have a separate plan for each marketing objective you have. This can give you a more focused campaign to help drive conversion rather than just awareness.

Google shopping summary

The Google shopping basics course gives you a good understand of how your customers can find you whether they are looking for information before purchasing, shopping online or trying to find local stores to visit. We’ve looked at the different type of ads available and the benefits behind each one plus how to optimise campaigns for your business goals and utilise your budget well.

I hope you find this article useful and as ever if you have any questions please feel free to contact me.


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