Like eCommerce itself, Google Shopping saw a massive boom in 2020. And with the rollout of free product listings, Google search engine has somewhat leveled the playing field, giving merchants of all sizes greater access to the eyes of the buying public.
Whether you’re taking advantage of free listings or focusing on paid Shopping ads, you’ll need to manage your efforts carefully to drive visibility, boost sales and increase your bottom line.
First things first - if you want your Google Shopping ads or free product listings to convert to sales you need a transparent and trustworthy eCommerce site. Customers buy into brands, not just products, so make company information and contact details clearly visible.
Your Shopping Feed sits at the centre of your campaigns. Along with your website, this spreadsheet gives Google the information it needs to determine ad relevance in response to a search query, so it needs to be on point.
Make sure your feed contains critical information like product ID, title and description, images, pricing, stock levels and active landing page links. If this information is missing, inaccurate, or doesn’t correspond to your website’s live data, your Shopping ads won’t make the cut.
Check out Google’s Product Data Specification page for full guidance. Uploading product data in the correct format is crucial for both paid ads and free listings.
Any errors relating to your Shopping Feed will be reported in your Merchant Centre. And since your feed dictates your performance, regular check ins here are an absolute must.
Look out for things like incorrect imagery or pricing and 404 errors. You should also bear in mind the frequency with which your feed is updated. If you’re turning over high volumes of stock and only sending one feed every 24 hours, you’ll likely encounter problems.
The best way to overcome this is to work with an eCommerce platform that generates the feed for you, and set it to do so at regular intervals throughout the day.
Google Shopping works in a different way to its AdWords search campaigns. Instead of choosing the keywords you want to target, you bid on Product Groups. Google then sources relevant keyword matches from your product title and description fields.
With that in mind, it’s vital to structure product titles accordingly and write descriptions that utilise search terms your target market is likely to use.
In Google Shopping, ads are often triggered in response to broad match search terms.
For example, you’re selling a pair of blue running shoes. Your ad will likely show for the term “blue running shoes” (assuming your bid and other factors are high enough). If you’re bidding high though, Google will also show your ad for the term “red running shoes”, because it’s matching the phrase “running shoes”.
It’s a basic example, but this practice can send irrelevant traffic to your site and cost you money in the process. So it’s important to focus on which search terms you don’t want to trigger your ads.
Keep tabs on your own search term report and use it to add negative keywords to your Shopping campaigns, preventing costly, low value click throughs.
In conjunction with a negative keyword strategy, segmenting your campaigns will ensure the most relevant appearances of your Shopping ads. You want to split your products into multiple campaigns, logically arranged by product type.
As an example, a furniture retailer may create campaigns by room type, segmenting sofas for garden, living room and conservatories. By adding the negative keywords “conservatory” and “garden” to their living room campaign, they target a more specific search term, resulting in relevant, high value click throughs.
To bring maximum return, it’s important to assess your bidding strategy on a regular basis and monitor ad performance against spend. It’s not the easiest of tasks, but it’s vital to the success of any campaign.
Google’s bid simulator can help give a better idea on ad spend by estimating past performance had you set a differing bid level, but there’s no exact science to a winning formula, so you’ll need to experiment to find what works best for you.
Google Seller Ratings make a huge difference to your Shopping campaigns. Consumers look for trust signals in companies they buy from, and they’re 17% more likely to click on an ad with a Google Seller Rating attached to it. They also save you money. Increased click through rates improve your Quality Score, which leads to a lower cost per click.
To get a Seller Rating, you’ll need to collect company reviews through a Google Licensed Partner. If you collect 100 reviews of 3.5 stars or above in a 12 month period, Seller Ratings stars will appear next to ads and organic search listings - reducing costs, increasing sales, and improving the trust that potential customers place in you.
It's simple. The only way to get seller ratings is to collect reviews for your business. Once you have 100 reviews of 3.5 stars or above in a 12 month period, Google can start to show Seller Rating stars below your ads. Your company rating will also appear in the Compact Listing.
A successful Google Shopping strategy needs to focus on on-page conversions. That’s where product reviews come in. When a customer lands on a product page, they want to hear what other users have to say before they make their purchase decision.
Providing social proof through user generated content keeps buyers on your site and gives them the confidence that what you’re selling hits the mark. You’ve worked hard to get them there, so make sure you prompt conversion with authentic product reviews.
Alongside reviews, Q&A’s give buyers more detailed information on your products, like size queries, fit or suitability. The more informed a visitor is, the more likely they are to become a customer.
They’re also a great way to set yourself apart from the competition, particularly if you’re selling similar items, and your competitors are relying solely on standard manufacturer information. Answering a customer's question before they’ve even thought of it themselves is a brilliant way to make sure your Google Shopping ads end in a purchase.
The prominence of Google Shopping only looks set to increase as consumer behaviour continues to move online, so it’s essential for eCommerce retailers to get on board now before the competition becomes too hard to beat.
The above list is far from exhaustive, as every strategy needs to be based on specific objectives. That said, any campaign should focus on all of the above as a basic starting point.
If you’re not already doing so, now’s definitely the time to focus on your Google Seller Rating and building trust with potential customers. As a Google Licensed Partner, REVIEWS.io can help. Try out our free demo period or check out one of our contract free pricing plans.