Updated on August 3, 2023 | 7 minute read
Google Shopping is a PPC advertising platform that allows retailers to display the products available on their ecommerce websites.
These products are displayed on a carousel at the top of the search engine results page (SERP), meaning they’re usually the first thing a shopper sees after they’ve performed a search.
Google Shopping helps to drive more traffic and sales for your business by displaying ads in front of interested shoppers, and it’s part of the most-used search engine in the world.
With your ad showing on the Shopping carousel, you increase the visibility of your products and brand name to shoppers - specifically those who are actively searching for similar products.
Depending on how you bid on Google Shopping, be that manually in-house, with an agency, or with an automated solution, you can make sure you target only the most interested shoppers, helping you minimise wasted ad spend.
Google Shopping is a bit of a beast, particularly if you choose to manage your bids manually: there’s a lot to learn and many details to take into consideration. But don’t let it overwhelm you - the benefits of the channel far outweigh setting up your ads.
Check out our comprehensive guide to using Google Shopping ads - it has all the information you need to successfully implement Shopping ads.
Google Shopping is a PPC platform. Advertisers pay a bid price to Google once their ad has been clicked, and this is how Google makes money from the platform. The CPC is determined by how much the advertiser wants to spend on bids.
Retailers who place their ads as organic listings in the Shopping tab don’t have to pay for clicks. While it may sound appealing, advertisers appearing here earn fewer impressions and welcome less traffic to their website.
Actually setting up Google Shopping for your products is where it might get a little confusing, but our step-by-step guide to creating Google Shopping ads will keep it simple. Good luck!
The final section of your Shopping campaign set-up will allow you to target and/or exclude locations.
By clicking ‘location options’, you have the options of targeting and excluding locations, so you can make sure your ads are only showing in regions relevant to your audience.
Looking to select or exclude destinations in Google's Display Network? Check out our Merchant Center guide to excluding destinations in Google Ads.
The two main factors Google ‘considers’ when displaying Shopping ads in the carousel are relevancy and CPC.
If your competitors are bidding more than you for a search query, they’ll appear before you, pushing your ad further to the right, and further down the list.
But making sure your keywords are included in your product title and description for each product helps, as relevancy will help your ad rank higher.
Using negative keywords and bidding more aggressively for high-intent search terms helps your ads appear for the most relevant searches, helping you to beat your competitors and take a prominent place on the Shopping carousel.
Some key things to consider when optimising your Shopping campaigns:
There are some common issues that retailers face when using Google Shopping, and it’s important to address these to make sure the platform works for you.
Some problems you might be facing:
Advertisers are only charged when their ads are clicked by shoppers. This cost is based on competition, as you’ll typically want to increase CPC for search terms that you’re trying to compete on.
Depending on your strategy, and since there’s no maximum or minimum bid amount, you can pay what you want on the platform.
Technically, advertisers can place ads on Google Shopping for free. However, with the amount of competition, your ads are unlikely to show up in a prominent place on the carousel.
Google Shopping can be managed by an agency. Since the platform can be time-consuming for retailers to manage in-house, some retailers may employ an agency to manage their campaigns.
A CSS enables advertisers to place ads on the Google Shopping carousel. To use Google Shopping, all retailers need to work with at least one CSS. You might even want to work with two or more CSS! Read more about using multiple CSS, or learn more about cost comparison services, and how they can help boost your performance.
From within Google Ads it’s possible to add star ratings to your Google Shopping ads. This shows shoppers how reputable your products and brand are, increasing your reputation and making your ads more attractive.
The Google Ads extension ‘Seller ratings’ pulls review data from your domain which can then be shown as part of your ads on the carousel.
When it comes to Google Shopping management, you’ve got a few options:
Google has retired Smart Shopping campaigns and has replaced them with Performance Max campaigns. Get up-to-date information on Google Performance Max campaigns here.
Olivia is a Google Shopping specialist within the marketing team. She creates content to simplify the Google Shopping experience, and help our clients discover if Google Shopping is the right channel for them.