If you are an eCommerce store or any online retail shop, your product or service must be on Google Shopping period. Why? Simple, Google Shopping accounts for nearly 65% of all clicks on Google Ads – including 89% of non-branded ad clicks on Google Search.
As an online eCommerce store, you can no longer avoid listing your products on Google Shopping Ads that have transformed online retail search marketing in recent years.
Besides being listed on popular eCommerce sites like Amazon, your online store can now generate valuable ad clicks through this Google platform. Essentially, Google Shopping acts as a platform that displays all your products – and prices – and your online campaigns to shoppers even before they land up on your website.
Having said that, Google Shopping does not allow you to create your marketing campaigns or devise a keyword strategy – to direct all your incoming traffic from Google search ads. This is where Google Merchant Center plays a role in operating the product feed that displays the shopping ads on Google.
In other words, Google Merchant Center (or GMC) is the essential backbone behind every successful ad campaign on Google Shopping. What is the Google Merchant Center? And which are the 12 Google Merchant Center tips that you must try for a successful ad campaign? Keep reading on.
What is Google Merchant Center?
Google Merchant Center is a tool that allows you to create and upload your product information – and make it available on Google Shopping Ads and other related services. To put it simply, GMC puts all your product information on the Google platform – thus making your products available for online shoppers.
On GMC, here is what you can do:
- Upload data about new products.
- Modify information about existing or listed products.
- Manage the online ads for any of your products displayed on Google Shopping.
Google Merchant Center is essential, a complete dashboard that shows all your product data. In other words, you could have thousands of products organized in one central place – making it easy to create/ modify product specifications and seamlessly integrate them with any Google marketing tools.
Now that we know about GMC let us learn where GMC product data (or product feeds) are used.
Where are product feeds from Google Merchant Center use?
Apart from the primary Google Shopping platform, there are different types of feeds that you can use, depending on your needs. For instance, you would need a different feed if you are a local store catering to selling in a local community.
Listed below are the avenues where your GMC product feeds are used:
Google Merchant Center Feed
This is the main or primary feed that contains all your product catalogs and information – created using Google Merchant Center. This feed is recommended if you are selling physical products (for example, apparel or fashion products) on your online store.
Typically, this feed requires you to submit product-related information, including a unique product ID, product name and description, product image, product price, and current availability.
Google Promotions Feed
This Google feed is used for product promotions or showing the best bargain deals on the search engine results page. To optimize your product feed on this platform, you should consider adding promotional text or keywords to your product listing ads on Google Shopping. As a retail merchant, you can utilize this feed to increase the Click-Through Rate (or CTR) for your listed ads.
Apart from entering the mandatory product information, you can optionally submit promotion-related information, including promotion dates, redemption code, and promotional price for each product.
Google Local Inventory Ads Feed
This feed is typically used to keep your ads limited to the local community or place. For instance, they can be used by brick-and-mortar retail stores to increase footfalls to their local stores. This feed is important as 84% of all online shoppers search their products on local stores located close to them.
Additionally, this type of ad targets shoppers who like to browse online for products before picking them up from the local stores – thus not having to wait long for local deliveries from the stores. Among the main requirements, your business (or store) needs to be in the country where you are advertising – and in a location that shoppers regularly visit.
In addition to the product ID and price, you need to mention the local store’s unique code.
Products Ratings Feed
Most online shoppers rely on online product reviews and ratings (for example, 5-star rating) to decide which brand to opt for. This is where the Product Rating Feed can help build your brand trust with buyers and increase your sales.
This feed shows a listing of similar products (for example, coffee machines) with the best ratings, price – or even a product feature that can be a unique selling point. As a merchant, you can qualify for this feed if you have at least 50 product reviews to be displayed on Google Shopping.
Dynamic Remarketing Feed
Statistics have shown that the business cost of retargeting existing customers is much lower than acquiring new customers. Therefore, this remarketing feed is so effective in online shopping. Be it, shoppers who have previously visited your product page or abandoned a shopping cart, this feed shows relevant ads to past visitors.
You can create a dynamic remarketing campaign using attributes of specific display ads such as ID, title, and the URL of your landing page.
Google Manufacturer Center Feed
Finally, this feed is specifically for product manufacturers or manufacturing firms that make their products. This feed’s main idea is to give manufacturers more control over how they want to promote their products on the Google Shopping platform.
For the best results, this feed recommends you provide complete information of your manufactured products – including your GTIN, product title and description, image link, product category, and a description of its features.
Using different types of feeds – as listed above – is necessary to increase your ad reach on Google Shopping and satisfy your business requirements. Now that you know the kinds of product feeds you can use let us see how best you can use the Google Merchant Center platform.
12 Google Merchant Center Tips
Now that you know how Google Shopping works let us move on to the best GMC tips to transform your Google Shopping campaigns. Here are 12 of the most effective Google Merchant Center tips:
Include GTIN in all your products
For a start, you should include the GTIN – or the Global Trade Item Number – for all your products. What is GTIN? A unique number is used to identify every individual product. Typically, you can locate the GTIN in the product barcode. If not, you should get the same from the product manufacturer.
This unique number Is now mandatory for all products on Google Shopping. The problem is there are many products without GTIN – such as antiques, customized products, or single-store products.
How does the GTIN help your business? Shoppers looking for exact products in their Google searches get a listing of the products with GTIN information. This means your products could be displayed in searches with keywords like “Best” or “Leading” or “Top.”
Form your Product Titles properly – and include Product Category and Brand name
Product titles are the key to optimized product searches – making your Google Ad relevant to users. For the best search results, include your product category (or product type) along with your brand name in your product title.
Here is a brief guideline you can use to form your product title:
- For clothing and apparel: Add a brand name, gender, product category, and specific attributes like color, size, and used material.
- For Electronics items: Add the brand name along with product type, model number, and other related attributes.
To optimize your product title, include at least one keyword after determining which keyword works best for your brand. Additionally, use the same product title and description from Google Merchant Center on your website landing page to maintain consistency.
Include specific product information like size and material
The more specific you are about your product, the more your potential customers learn about them. Even if they are optional, try to include as much information specific to your product or product type.
Here are some examples of specific product info:
- For apparels: gender, color, size, and material used.
- For automobiles: engine power, number of seats, color, the service warranty
- For smartphones: processing power, storage, operating system, weight, battery life
The list of specific product features could be long – but the more you add, the more informed will be your customer. If possible, try to include a few of these attributes in the product title itself. This will also boost the overall CTR of your promotional campaign.
Optimize the color attributes of your product
When it comes to clothing or apparel, most shoppers are clear about the color of the product they want to buy. So, it makes good sense to include the color in the product feed – like, for instance, “blue” or “light blue” instead of saying “sky color.”
Try to include at least one primary color and two secondary colors in your product color attributes to make it more appealing to online shoppers. For some product categories, you can try combining the “color” with the product “material” (example, silver platinum ring). Similarly, for visual appeal, include only high-quality images for products with color attributes.
Besides matching the color in the product image to the color mentioned, make sure your landing page also fits the same set of colors (in the product feed).
Use dynamic repricing within the data feeds
According to DataFeed Watch, dynamic reprising by eCommerce retailers has multiple benefits, including increased sales, price control, and reduction in unsold inventories.
What is dynamic repricing? It is a marketing strategy used to dynamically change product prices based on market demand and competitor pricing. A February 2018 study of American retailers regarding their price strategy concluded 58% of retailers want to keep pace with their competitor prices.
As a practice, you can use price watch tools to check out how competitive your product prices are – and merge this data into the product data feed on Google Shopping. For example, you can set custom price labels – that mention the high, low, and average price of your product for the day. This way, Google Ads can bid higher on lower-priced products or bid lower on higher-priced products.
Optimize your product images
Most shoppers prefer to look at visually appealing products that look better than competitor products. As a rule, always include the best quality images of your products on the Google Shopping platform. This can create a lasting impression on any online user – and improve its sales.
Here are some rules that you should follow using uploading product images:
- Make sure your uploaded images offer a complete view of your product from all dimensions.
- Only upload original pictures of your products rather than copying them from online sources.
- Optimize your images using any image editing tool.
- Make sure all your image variants match the original product.
- Check for any watermarks or manufacturer seal over each product image.
- Reserve the best quality images for smartphone users.
Use merchant promotions in your ads
Merchant promotions are known to influence buying habits and increase CTRs for your ads. For example, promotions in Google Ads can increase conversion rates by 28%.
Including merchant promotions in your Google Shopping ads can help in differentiating your products from other promotions. With Google Merchant Center, you can easily add promotion codes for sale discounts, offers, or free shipping – that can garner more clicks from online shoppers.
You can add merchant promotions – using a unique promotion code – to either local inventory ads (to lift your local store sales) or to the Google Promotion feeds (to advertise all your online promotions).
Use custom labels effectively
Custom labels are an effective way of optimizing your Google Shopping product feeds. Google Shopping allows you to add up to 5 different custom labels that can further create product sub-categories.
For instance, you can use custom labels to indicate a clearance sale or as a best-selling product in a specific category. Here are some common custom labels that you can use:
- Label “Seasonal” with the values “Summer, Winter, Fall, Season” to indicate a seasonal product.
- Label “ReleaseYear” with release year as the value – to indicate when the product was launched.
- Label “PriceRange” with values for minimum and maximum prices – for customers looking for products within a price range.
How do custom labels help? It can improve your product bidding by offering products at different prices but at the same acquisition cost.
Find the right product category on Google
Thanks to the Google Taxonomy process, it can automatically assign a product category to each product you list on Google Shopping. Even if the product category is now an optional field, it makes good business sense to select the right category. Product categories enable Google algorithms to determine the search text that would display the product in Google Shopping search results.
For instance, to gain maximum visibility and traction, you want to choose a product category with the most search volumes and conversions. This is similar to placing your product in front of the maximum eyeballs. Check out the entire list of over 5,500 Google product categories first before picking the right one for your product.
Maximize your bids on high-priced products
In other words, allocate your maximum resources on products that impact your business performance the most. By increasing your bids on the most successful products (or product ads), you can improve its visibility – that is, most users will see your best product ads.
At the same time, you can save costs or resources by decreasing your bids on your least successful product ads. This also eliminates any budget waste. By backing your most successful products, you can raise your advertising campaign’s impact along with your investment returns.
Make sure your Google price drop is genuine
Among the best online shopping strategies, Google Price Drop is one feature you can use to increase visibility and conversions. While price drops are effective in increasing CTRs and sales, it does not simply work by adding a “price drop” attribute on GMC. For instance, it does not work to have an “eternal” online sale – where you can offer a 50% off on a particular item.
To make it a “genuine” price drop, see that your product with the “regular” price is listed for a long period – before announcing the price drop. Also, try adding a “sale price” to your product feed to get a better shot at getting a Google price drop tag on your shopping ads.
Choose the best Product Feed Management Tool
The final tip is to select and start using the right Product Feed Management tool to handle all your product feeds. These tools effectively send your product data to online marketplaces, comparison sites, and affiliate networks. Moreover, this product feeds are sent to online advertising platforms like Google, Amazon, and Facebook, providing a comprehensive view of all your marketing campaigns.
The right product feed management tool can save a lot of money and time spent on creating your product feeds and maximize your ROAS or Returns On Ad Spend, which is a business metric used to measure your business revenue for every dollar that you spend in advertising.
In today’s times, online advertisers can no longer ignore the Google Shopping platform’s immense potential in gaining more visibility and user clicks. We have discussed 12 of the tried-and-testing Google Merchant Center tips that can be used to set up the right product feed attributes on Google Shopping Ads.
Hope this article is informative and helps you to get your product feed right using GMC.