The history of Google Shopping began in 2002 under the name Froogle which was a platform where users could compare different products from multiple retailers with ease and this soon became Google Products Search in 2007. 

In 2012, this service was relaunched as Google Shopping as we know it today and provided retailers with a paid advertising option on the platform. It is today an online e-commerce service that stands side by side with other e-commerce giants such as Amazon and eBay in terms of popularity and reaches. 

However, there is one key difference as Google Shopping is more of a paid advertising platform for retailers to display their products rather than an e-commerce platform itself.

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What are shopping ads?

Google Shopping requires retailers to pay for advertising space on the platform and these shopping Google ads, sometimes referred to as Product Listing Ads (PLAs), allow customers to be connected to the sellers website if they are interested in a product or service. 

These listings or ads are made available to Google users based on their search queries. Customers can then easily compare the pricing and other details of a wide number of products under one digital roof.

Where do Google shopping ads appear?

Google Shopping ads have evolved tremendously in the last few years and retailers can enjoy far wider reach and greater benefits by advertising on the platform today than they would have done a decade ago. These ads appear on a number of different online platforms some of which have been described below.

a. Google Search Results

As always, your Google Shopping ads will appear when users search for the product or related key terms via Google search and this will allow potential customers who are looking for the particular products or services that you are selling to easily connect with you. 

b. Shopping tab on Google SERP 

Any ad that you choose to list on Google Shopping will automatically be visible under the separate Shopping tab of Googles Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) in response to relevant or related search queries.

c. Google Shopping App

Google Shopping also has its very own mobile application that can be accessed on both Android and Apple iOS devices and your ads will appear on both these versions of the app as well.

d. YouTube and the Google Display Network

YouTube is Googles own video streaming and sharing platform which supports paid advertisements and therefore, your shopping Google ads will be placed on it as well. 

In addition, the Google Display Network helps place your ads on a vast collection of websites and mobile apps that show and display advertisements.

Benefits of Google Shopping

a. Helps you be in the Google Shopping spotlight

Google Shopping can be the best way to advertise your product since it works by allowing customers who search for particular keywords to view your listings. This means that most of those who do view the product is already interested in it or something similar. 

Since the products are placed above the organic search results on a massively popular search engine like Google, there is a great increase in the reach and visibility of your brand as well.

b. Performs better than text-based ads 

Since Google Ads feature attractive product images as well as customer ratings, your listing is greatly enhanced when compared to simpler text-based ads. 

Moreover, your ads are only shown to those who are interested in what you are selling which means you get a better return on investment, lower cost-per-click, and a much higher sales conversion rate than text-based ads.

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c. Helps you get better-qualified leads

Since a lot of your product information is already visible on the Google listing itself, most of the consumers who then visit your website or e-commerce platform are already familiar with your products price, customer reviews, and the products look. 

Therefore, these customers are less likely to leave your website at first glance and are more likely to spend time viewing additional product details. This is why Google ads generally offer better-qualified leads than other ads.

d. It is easier to manage 

Traditional text-based ads require you to provide the keywords that are relevant to your product whereas Google eliminates this process entirely by automatically deciding what keywords are relevant to your product. 

You can just use your Google Merchant Center account to upload product listings and Google will do the rest for you, making this a much easier option in terms of ad management.

e. You can get a much broader reach

Since Google uses a much smarter search algorithm, you will be able to connect with customers who search for similar or related keywords to your product that you might not have been able to guess beforehand. This greatly broadens your reach irrespective of the keywords that users use on the search engine.

How to set up your Google Shopping ads?

Google Shopping ads today are extremely retailer-friendly and are easy to set up and manage even if you do not consider yourself tech-savvy. Follow the steps below to know how to quickly set up your very own Google Shopping product listing.

1. First, you will need to set up your Merchant Center account 

If you want to set up a product listing on Google Shopping, you will need to sign up for a Google Merchant Center account which will be the home platform for you to manage all your listings and product information. This is a fairly simple process that does not take much time.

2. Verify and claim your website URL 

Since any Google Shopping listing will usually link the customers to your website if you wish to make the most of the ad features you will need to verify the URL to your website that you want to be linked to the listing. This process will allow Google to verify that you are the authorized owner of the website and link it to your Merchant Center account.

3. Set up your tax and shipping preferences 

For Google Shopping to be able to properly display the accurate price of the product that you are trying to sell, you must enter the taxes that you will collect and also the shipping costs for different regions and products. This can be done by accessing the Tools and settings menu of your Merchant Center account.

4. Make sure your store complies with all the requirements and policies for Google Shopping Ads 

Google has a number of policies with respect to shopping ads on the platform and you must make sure that you meet all these requirements. These policies cover the restricted and prohibited practices such as the sale of counterfeit or dangerous goods for example as well as technical and editorial quality standards.

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5. Create your Product Feeds 

Once the above steps are completed, you can go ahead and create your product feed by clicking on the Products button in the Merchant Center and then clicking on Feeds

Click the plus (+) button to add your first feed which will need you to enter details such as the country of sale, language, the name of the feed as well as the input method for the product data that is to be submitted. 

Choose Google Sheets as your input method if you want access to a product information template which will help you enter all the required data about your product such as name, the description, pricing, brand, availability, and the Google product category.

Try using apps for product feed that will help elevate sales and make your job hassle-free.  

Once you have created a product feed, you need your products to be made visible to shoppers online. This is facilitated by Google Ads which is a paid service. Therefore, you will need to link your Merchant Center Account to your Google Ads account to be able to advertise on Google. 

This can be done by clicking on the three vertical dots on the top-right corner of the Merchant home page and then clicking on Account Linking. If you do not already have a Google Ads account, you can easily create one from this page itself.

7. Set your country of sale

Once the Google Ads linking process is completed, you will be able to set up campaigns that will help you advertise your products via the Create Shopping Campaign option on the Account Linking page. 

The first thing that you will be required to do is mention the country of sale. This will decide the geographical serviceable limits within which your ads will be displayed to users.

8. Set up bidding strategy and daily budget 

Under the Google Shopping settings, you will be allowed to decide the bidding strategy for your campaign. You can either choose a simple, manual cost-per-click strategy or an automated return on ad spend (ROAS) or enhanced cost-per-click strategy that will require your conversion details to track sales and revenue. 

You can also set your daily budget for your ads and Google Shopping will ensure that your monthly expenditure will be your daily budget multiplied by the number of days in that particular month.

9. Set up your Campaign Priorities 

If you have the same product being advertised on multiple Google Ad campaigns, you will be given the choice to set campaign priorities to decide which campaign will be bid when that product is searched for. 

By default, all products are at Low priority but this can be changed to either Medium or High. To do this, go to the Campaigns page from your Google Merchant Center Account, and click on the Settings button of the relevant campaign to which you want to make priority changes. 

Under these settings, click on the Campaign Priority section and choose your preferred priority setting; Low, Medium, or High.

10. Add promotional feeds/special offers

From your Merchant Center account, you will be able to enhance your conversion rate by adding promotional feeds and special offers on your products from time to time. 

You can customize a promotional feed by mentioning the duration of the promotion, the cut in pricing, the bonus offers being provided, and so on and this will then reflect on your Google Shopping advertisements.

11. Use product reviews to boost sales 

Google keeps track of the ratings that your customers leave as an average Google Sellers Rating and if you receive enough positive reviews, they will be displayed alongside your product listing on Google Shopping. 

Most people trust products with positive customer review more than other products and if you are able to maintain a healthy star rating, you will surely be able to boost your sales and the number of visits to your website.

12. Success! Your Google Shopping ads are now live 

If you have completed all of the steps listed here, congratulations, you now have your very own Google Shopping advertisements that can be viewed by thousands of potential customers. 

If you have taken due care to put up quality product listings, you can rest assured that you will see a spike in your returns from your e-commerce website. 

Make sure you stay in the loop with all of Googles new features and tools being added regularly to help make your merchant experience easier and smoother.

Success with Google Shopping by doing 3 simple things

1. Creating a well-optimized feed that is used to obtain the data for Google Shopping ads 

As explained earlier, unlike other forms of advertising where you will be asked for a set of keywords linked to your ad, Google scours through your product feeds with your product information and automatically determines which keywords are related to your product. 

Therefore, optimizing the key elements of your Google Shopping ads such as the product title, product description, product details, pricing, brand, sales tax, and shipping and other such aspects are extremely important to ensure that you will receive maximum coverage and reach from your listing. 

Including all the imaginable and related keywords could also help boost reach although Google does most of this work for you.

2. Creating an effective campaign structure 

You must be able to ensure that all your campaigns get the traction that you want and that you are paying for. An effective campaign structure would be one that fits your budget and ensures that you have a bidding structure in place that can help you reach more potential customers. 

A bidding strategy that is automated and makes use of Googles smart bidding algorithms would be ideal if you do not have major budgetary constraints and a ROAS (return on ad spend) structure gives Google the freedom to make bidding decisions based on how likely a customer is to buy your product. 

This will also require you to give Google permission to track your sales conversion data. If you are on a tighter budget, you can opt for a cost-per-click strategy or a free listing, commission-based approach to greatly reduce risk.

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3. Gathering data to make decisions 

Google Shopping gives you access to Shopping Actions insights that will allow you to evaluate how your product is faring against the competition online and with the help of the conversion tracking data, you will also be able to see how many sales you make through the ads you have listed.

When you gather this data, you will be able to better understand how you can improve your ads and further optimize them to boost your sales and broaden advertisement reach.

Google Shopping FAQs

1.  Is it safe to shop on Google Shopping?

Google has a strict and comprehensive policy when it comes to commercial activity carried out with the help of Google Shopping. 

Any products that violate these policies such as counterfeit, stolen or dangerous goods, illegal substances, and so on will be taken off the platform. 

It is important to note that Google Shopping is not in the e-commerce business as it does not sell products. It merely acts as a platform for merchants to advertise on the platform and improve their reach.

2.  How do you use Google Shopping?

Google Shopping works wonders for both customers looking for a product to buy online or for sellers who wish to market their products. 

A simple search on the Google search engine for what you are looking for will help you find a massive list of related products on the Google Shopping tab and in your search results. 

On the other hand, merchants can also post advertisements on Google Shopping via Google Ads by creating a Merchant Center Account.

3. How good is Google Shopping?

Google Shopping provides a very convenient option for those who wish to compare the prices and details of different products that they are interested in all under one webpage. 

Customers can easily click on a product to be redirected to the sellers website where they can make the purchase. 

Google Shopping is also excellent for established and new sellers who are looking to boost sales and revenue as it grants massive reach to their product listings.

4.  Do you have to pay for Google Shopping?

If you are a customer who is looking to buy certain products on the internet, you can use Google Shopping free of cost to be linked to prospective sellers. The sellers who want to be featured on Google Shopping, however, do have to pay a predetermined fee to Google for visibility and advertising.

5. How do you rank on Google Shopping?

The best way to rank higher on Google Shopping as a seller is to accumulate positive customer ratings and display them along with the product listings, to include a wide range of keywords in a well-optimized product feed, and to assess ad data to determine where the reach and conversion rate can be improved. 

6. How do I start selling on Google Shopping?

To advertise on Google Shopping, you will need both a Merchant Center Account as well as a Google Ads account which needs to be linked to one another. 

You will then need to create a product feed with all the details that Google requires to create an advertisement and later choose a bidding strategy and daily budget when you create a campaign. This process has been explained in detail in this blog.

7. Where do Google Shopping ads appear?

Google Shopping ads appear not only as part of the basic search engine results on Google but also under the shopping tab of the Google SERP. 

In addition to this, the ads also appear on Youtube and websites and apps on the Google Display Network as well as the Google Shopping mobile applications on Android and iOS.

8. Does Google Shopping use keywords?

While traditional advertisements require you to submit a list of keywords, Google Ads creates a list of related keywords from the product information that you submit while creating your product feeds and your campaigns.

These keywords are automatically generated based on this product information. 

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We hope that after reading this article, you now have a clear idea of how to use Google Shopping and Google Ads to enhance and boost your revenue. The entire process is highly customizable and thereby has the ability to cater to a wide range of sellers, irrespective of the size and reputation of the business and the advertising budget that you are working with. 

In a few simple clicks of a button, you will be able to propel your business to far greater heights with the help of this useful and extremely popular advertising tool. If you still have further queries, you can always visit the Google Merchant Help Centre that has detailed guides on how to set up and manage your Google Shopping ad campaigns.

This detailed and in-depth guide by AdNabu can also be very useful if you are looking for more resources to help you get started on your Google Shopping journey. We wish you happy selling!


CEO and co founder of AdNabu. Exploring the intersection of data and marketing