Google Shopping For Shopify: The Ultimate Guide

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google shopping shopify

If you already have a store on Shopify then your next logical step would be to get more customers and more traffic running through your site. Google Shopping these days has grown to be the most powerful tool to acquire more customers. In 2018 76.4 percent of retail search ad spending was through Google Shopping and it beat the long-popular PPC Google text ads. 

This profitable marketing channel is now at the forefront of businesses of all sizes. This is made possible by Google’s efforts into improving the visibility of listings through the use of rich media ad formats that capture the attention of customers with the most relevant information that ends in a conversion. 

Regardless of whether your budget allows it or your time constraint to actively manage campaigns, there is no reason why you shouldn’t have google shopping Shopify for your store. 

With a 300% to 600% return-on-ad-spend, Google Shopping allows you to acquire customers at an acceptable cost. You can also benefit from free placements, reach your shoppers at the right time with the right message, and grow continuously while staying ahead of the competition. 

If you aren’t quite sure how to get started then this post is all about what Google Shopping ads are and the right steps to be taken to set up and get going. 

Basics about Google Shopping Ads 

What are Google Shopping Ads? 

Google Shopping Ads or what is formerly known as Google Product Listing Ads is a great way for ecommerce stores to drive traffic that converts. It is the most profitable search engine marketing opportunity available for all ecommerce businesses including those who offer downloadable products. 

What makes it special is that it appears above all search results including the Text Ads and organic search results. The Google Shopping Ads is designed to be catchy for a prospective customer as it displays the most relevant information they would be looking for such as images, price, ratings, and other essential information. 

Benefits of Google Shopping Ads 

1. Helps you to get Highly-Targeted Traffic 

Regardless of the size of your brand, appearing at the top of the search engine page results is the idea behind the whole thing which helps customers find you easily and increase purchase. 

Google Shopping Ads are visually engaging with your ad being information-rich throughout. Therefore prospective customers don’t even have to know your brand and yet they will find you through their search keywords. 

What also makes it so good at matching customers with your brand is that you are displayed on top of the search organically through keywords. Therefore optimizing your product feed ensures that it is only displayed to the highly targeted traffic who are already interested in your offering. 

2. High Potential Customer Reach 

Google ad campaigns can significantly increase the potential customer reach by displaying your products in more than one type of search query. If your offering is a shampoo by a specific brand, your ad will appear in all search queries related to every shampoo and associated product of that brand. 

With all the relevant information offered, the quality of your leads is also increased. The shoppers who search for your product are already there to make an informed purchase and the Google Shopping ads lands right on your page if your offering matches the search query precisely. 

This is also the reason why Google Shopping ads generate nearly triple the click-through rates compared to text ads.  

3. High ROAS 

ROAS is the return on ad spend. It is a good indicator of how much sales they have had which came as a result of their ad campaigns. Google Shopping Ads have a conversion rate higher than 25% and a cost-per-click lower than 23% compared to text ads. 

A higher return on ad spend is not only good for businesses but an expected result and ad spending can have uncertain results. However, Google Shopping Ads give better returns because your ad money is focused on getting you only those with the highest buying intent. If the shopper isn’t looking for your offering then it just won’t be shown to them.

4. Can Manage and Optimize easily

Google Shopping Ads works differently from Text ads as there is no bidding involved over keywords marketers want to target. 

Google Shopping Ads makes it simpler by eliminating this process and instead the search engine decides the relevant keywords based on the product data feed that you have uploaded. 

The data feed can be strategically customized from your Google Merchant Centre account so that your ad contains exactly what the customers are searching for. 

The product data can be uploaded in various ways such as manually or automated data collection or through the use of apps that makes the task way easier for you. 

5. Better Data and Reporting 

Google Shopping Ads now use a better data and reporting system to offer you more accurate results. You can check the performance of your campaign and generate a report based on various metrics. 

It’s easy to filter and segment data for categories you wish to have based on attributes such as product type, brand ID, item ID, or any custom labels. 

How to Create Profitable Google Shopping  for shopify stores

Requirements for Google Shopping ads  

  1. For your shopify google shopping, you need two platforms set up and merged together. The first is the Google Merchant Centre which is the host for all your inventory and the product feed. Second is the Google ads which you will need for the advertising and bidding part of your Google Shopping ads. This is also where all your campaigns are managed including bid management and setting budgets. Once you have them set up, they need to be linked together.
  2. Make sure you follow Google shopping ads policies and Google ads policies. These include four broad categories of areas: Prohibited content, Prohibited practices, Restricted content, and Editorial and technical standards. These areas contain subcategories which you need to look out for and ensure that your products meet the terms and conditions. An example is the prohibition of the sale of counterfeit goods
  3. Up-to-date Product data feed for profitable Google shopping campaigns is essential because your product data feed consists of all the attributes of your products that help Google display your offering in the right search.  Having it up-to-date will reduce errors in terms of price changes, discount availability, and other parameters that can change and affect the listing. 

Step by step process 

Phase one – Set up Part  

You can do this part manually or using Shopify Apps like Adnabu for Google shopping helps you to do it easily.

  1. Create or login to your Google merchant center account. If you are signing up you will have to give basic information about the name of your store, your county of business, and your website URL 
  2. Add your Tax information, especially if you are selling in the United States. This article by Google Merchant Centre Help will guide you through the exact process. 
  3. Set up Shipping. Every product must contain shipping information or it will not show on the searches. You can set up account-wise shipping rules or you could also set this information for the individual products by uploading it to the product attributes. This shipping set up guide by Google Merchant Centre Help gives the full details. 
  4. The next step is to verify and claim your website. This process could get a little bit tricky and there’s scope for mistakes, so tread through it carefully. You have to verify and claim your website domain to complete the set up of your Google Merchant Account. There are a number of ways to do this with the merchant center but the easiest way is to download an HTML file from the merchant center and upload it to your site. To upload you will have to access the domain registrar and if you’re unsure about how to do it, contact your web host for help. This article by Google support also gives you a detailed explanation of the process. 
  5. Link Google ads account to your merchant center account once you are done setting up the Merchant center account and verified and claimed your website domain. Log into your Google Ads account or set one up if you don’t already have it. To link them you must be logged into both. Go to the Merchant Centre and open the drop-down menu by clicking on the three dots and select ‘Account Linking’. If you’re logged into both the Google Ads account will show up automatically. Click on ‘Link Account’ to finish the process.
  6. Add your products using product data feeds. Data feeds are critical and the channel through which Google gets to know all the product attributes to be displayed in a search. The data feed can be SEO optimized so your offering has a better chance of beating the competition. You can do this with four options 
    1. Google sheets that have your product data:

The Google sheets with your product data fall under the manual approach to uploading data. It is time-consuming but recommended for beginners and those who have smaller inventories. Typically you will have to extract data from a software system in the form of a Google Sheets file or type the data yourself. The feed template contains a number of essential data such as the product type, price, brand, gender, attribute, availability, etc. 

  1. Scheduled fetch from your server: This option allows you to upload a file that is hosted on your website by you for the Merchant Centre. The file has the entire product data and the daily updates needed by the Merchant Centre. It can be scheduled to be fetched automatically at any time. Enter the feed name and set fetching times according to need as daily, weekly, or monthly. It is essential that you allow Google to access the file by providing appropriate login information if the file is protected. The size of the file also cannot exceed 4 Gigabytes. 
  2. Upload feed data directly to the merchant center: The upload feature is another route for you to update your feed where the information is fetched by Google from a file saved on your computer. This file needs to be uploaded regularly to the Merchant Centre through Google Cloud, SFTP, or FTP. The file can also be manually uploaded. 
  3.  Using any Feed creation apps from the shopify app store like Adnabu for Google shopping: Content API makes it much easier for merchants to upload data to their Merchant Centre by allowing the app to directly interact with your website to extract and upload data directly to Google. This is recommended if your store is big with sizable inventory for which the data cannot be manually uploaded or when the product information fluctuates periodically. Since these apps are also the source of data for your Merchant Centre, it can deliver data reliably to Google. 
Phase two – Campaign Creation part 
  • The campaign creation occurs in Google ads therefore sign in to your Google ads account.
  • Then click on the Campaigns tab on the left-hand side of the menu.
  • Click the plus button, and then click New campaign.
  • For “Campaign type,” select Shopping and click Next. Since your Merchant Centre account is already linked, select it in the provided field. You can choose between a Smart Shopping campaign or a Standard Shopping campaign. Click the Standard Shopping campaign for now and finish it with Continue. 

Choose your advertising preferences

  • Enter a name for the campaign. Your name should be such that it can be identified easily by you or your team. This will come in handy when you begin to run more campaigns in the future. 
  • Select the Merchant Center account that has the products you want to advertise.
  • Select the country where your products will be sold and shipped to. Remember to take into consideration the local and laws and regulations of the country you are shipping to as there will always be product categories that are prohibited. Also, ensure it goes with Google Shopping ads policies. Once a campaign is created, the Merchant ID and Country of Sale setting cannot be changed.
  • Select Inventory filter. You only need to adjust this setting if you want to limit the number of products used in your campaign. There could be a number of reasons why you would want to do this but commonly the inventory filter is used by merchants to remove poorly performing products from the product catalog or the feed. It is also good for highlighting the products that are doing well while pulling back on the underperforming ones. 
  • Bidding is a good way to decide what you will pay for the clicks. Select which type of bidding to use in your campaign. You can set your own CPC’s manually or choose one among Google’s Smart Bidding options. If you are a beginner, disable Enhanced CPC and stick to Manual CPC. You can use Google’s Bid simulator to preview how your campaigns will perform before placing a bid. Generally, the good ones hover around the 300% mark. 
  • Select how much you’re willing to spend on this campaign. Budget is all the money that goes into your whole campaign in a day. You can control how much you spend on ads by having a daily budget. Or you can use Google’s budget forecasting tools for everyday budget setting. However, remember that Google can sometimes overshoot the daily budget, but try to never exceed your 30-day total. In the long run, you can also automate your bidding and optimize it by using enhanced CPC bidding. 
  • Campaign priority decides which campaign’s budget will be used when you have the same products overlapping in your campaigns. This is often a confusing element for newcomers and it is divided into 3 levels of priority: low, medium, and high. When you are running more than one campaign at a time, the priority setting controls which campaigns run through the budget before any others do. When you set a campaign to high priority, it will always run first compared to others. 
  • Select Networks, Devices & Locations where you want your ads to be shown. These are the Targeting settings for your campaign. 
  • Networks: Networks basically make your ads appear on all platforms owned by Google. Ideally, it is good to have them on all platforms such as Search, YouTube, Discover, and Gmail. However, for beginners, it’s recommended to keep it only to search as it can burn through the daily budgets quite quickly. 
  • Devices: The device section’s default is typically to allow ads on all devices such as computers, mobile phones, tablets, and even TV screens. These can be modified after campaign creation through bid adjustments. 
  • Locations: Locations as it sounds are the region where you want to run your campaign. The settings allow you to get very specific about where you wish to target and optimize or keep the reach to an entire country. It is essential to know the limits of your shipping logistics and not advertise in areas where you cannot ship to. 
  • Click Save and continue.
  • Next, choose what kind of ad group you want to create. Ad groups enable you to separate important aspects of your campaign and put them together into unique parts to better optimize your reach. For example, in Shopping Campaigns ad groups enable you to make separate sets of different products and then manage and optimize these sets based on your goal or product attributes. In Shopping Campaigns, you can build two types of groups:   
  • Product Shopping ad

Product shopping ads are the most common with retailers and produce the singular PLA units that often show up on Google. This is the ad group recommended for beginners. 

  • Showcase Shopping ad

Showcase Shopping helps businesses that are building a brand as it allows them to group related products together and present them as a brand. For now, it is only available in 20 countries including the UK, US, and Australia. This category is relatively new to the scene therefore not recommended for beginners at first, although it has much potential for bigger brands getting on board. 

  • Create your first ad group by entering the following information
  •  The ad group name that is unique to your product set to make it easily identifiable by you and your team.
  • Bid: The Maximum CPC you set for this group will be set for all products and the group only spends that many on the clicks.
  • Click Save.
  • You’ll be taken to the product groups page, where you’ll see one product group “All products” that contains all products in the campaign. 

Conclusion 

Summarizing the article, getting Google Shopping Ads for your Shopify store requires you to set up your Merchant Centre and Google Ads. At the heart of your Google Shopping ads is the product data feed which is your most powerful tool to optimize your product listing and get the most return on your investment. 

Once you are set, try to find that sweet bidding spot that works for you. It is important to understand that it is not a one-time effort activity but an ongoing process to optimize your listings and your campaigns. 

Big and small companies alike are channeling more of their marketing budgets into Google Shopping Ads and to stay relevant in the trends with your competitors, you must revamp your marketing efforts. 

You will eventually get better at running ads and see how your strategies pay off.

About the author

Karthik Ramachandiran

Helps Shopify stores to easily set up their Google Merchant Center & Create Google Shopping Feed with a few clicks & without any errors & run Google Ads.