Google Shopping is a proven way of acquiring new customers for ecommerce businesses. According to the 2020 Sidecar Google Shopping Benchmarks Report, Google Shopping has seen more than 7% YoY growth in ad spend between 2018 and 2019, while Google Paid Search has seen a decline of almost 8% during the same period.
Previously, Google Shopping ads only appeared at the top of Google search queries. However, the ads now appear on the Shopping tab, iOS and Android price comparison Shopping service, Google Display Network, YouTube, and Google's search partners. The expanded reach is a welcome change for retailers as it affords the room to advertise to more shoppers without breaking the bank.
What are Google Shopping ads?
Google Shopping ads are the product advertisements that appear in Google search results. The ads are particularly effective because they appear whenever people search for the product in question, and the advertiser can display high-quality images, the price of their product, and often ratings. This makes it easier for the searcher to find what they’re looking for and improves the online shopping experience which leads to a quick purchase decision.
Are Google Shopping ads worth it?
Many buyers start the customer journey with a product search on Google. So, retailers can hardly do any wrong by making their products visible at the top of these search queries. Still, a lot of marketers wonder if Google Shopping ads are worth it. Or at least if they're a better alternative to text-based search ads. Below are a few benefits you'll get from investing in Shopping Ads.
Broaden your reach
As already mentioned, Google Shopping ads can be a great way to increase your brand's reach because your products show up on multiple platforms. Here's a comprehensive list of where Google Shopping ads currently show up:
- Shopping tab on the Google search result pages
- Google images and next to regular search results on Google search
- Websites that are part of the Google search network (optional)
- Google Display Network, including Gmail, YouTube, and Google Discover.
Moreover, Google recently included free organic results on their Shopping platform. Thus, if you own a Google merchant center account and upload relevant product data, your products can appear on organic search results even if you're not paying for Google Shopping ads.
Drive traffic and sales
Google Shopping ads deliver almost immediate results. Once you've set up your campaign, you'll have to wait for 12-24 hours for your ads to be approved. Afterward, you'll observe a boost in your website traffic and conversions as long as the campaign is appropriately set up and optimized. In essence, your ad can start driving traffic and sales within a few days after launching your campaign. You're likely to get the best results for your campaigns if:
- You're launching a new product or product line.
- Clearing old product inventory.
- Targeting a sales boost during holidays, seasonal events, or product promotions.
- You wish to increase your brand's recognition, mainly if you're competing with a dominant name in your industry.
Google Shopping ads are a key strategy if you want to get the most bang for your advertising buck. Access to detailed and granular reporting means you'll quickly see how your ads are performing. Furthermore, you can see the granular performance data for individual ads as well as whole campaigns. Information such as clicks, impressions, ROAS (return on advertising spend), cost-per-click, and much more are all at your fingertips. Having almost total control over your ad campaigns, coupled with the readily available performance data, ensures you can maximize your ROI by tweaking and optimizing as and when due.
How to optimize Google Shopping ads
Having a great product feed is the foundation to making the most out of your free listings and paid campaigns on Google Shopping. Google uses your product feed to build your listings. There are strong signals that indicate a strong correlation between the quality of the product feed and total eligible impressions you might get. So, if you want to improve your Shopping ads, here’s how to get started.
Create a great product title
Your product title is arguably the most critical part of your feed. Google can only know what you're selling and decide when to show it to potential buyers through your title. Thus, when crafting your product title, you should be as detailed as possible.
A good product title includes:
- The product's name.
- A relevant top keyword.
- Other essential info that buyers may want at a glance.
All these must be presented in 150 characters or less. Another point to note when creating product titles is that the words that appear first have more weight than those that appear later. Thus, the most important information should come first.
Optimize your product description
Although the product description is not visible on the Google search results page, shoppers that visit the Shopping tab have access to it. Admittedly, the limited visibility has led to endless debates about its importance. However, there’s no doubt crafting great product descriptions can boost your product performance, especially if you're going for free listings. Even if shoppers won't read it, Google uses the description to determine the keywords that trigger your ad.
Ideally, the product description should highlight the features that are of most benefit to users.
You'll also want to include a keyword or two while you're at it so your products can rank higher on search engine results pages. However, you should refrain from keyword "stuffing" and keep the description concise and useful.
Choose a great image
About 93% of buyers consider the product's visual appearance as a crucial factor when making a purchase decision. Invariably, your product image will significantly influence how many clicks your ad will get.
You need to ensure you upload a crisp image that highlights your product's essential features. Although Google recommends images with a plain white background, you can still get creative by snapping the product in its intended work setting. For example, if you're advertising kitchen utensils, you may take pictures in a kitchen or even while cooking with the product.
Another point to note is that your product images will appear as a thumbnail in the Shopping tab or search engine results pages. Be sure to crop your image properly before uploading and ensure the most important parts will be visible to the shopper. You can always refer to Google's requirements and recommendations guide if you wish to learn more about uploading a great image on Google Shopping.
Choose the right Google Shopping product category
Google already has a list of accepted product categories, and you shouldn't have too much trouble finding the best fit for your product. You'll also see subcategories that will further narrow your audience and ensure you're advertising to the right people. For example, if you're selling dresses, you'd want to choose Apparel and Accessories > Clothing > Dresses. The category you select will influence how Google understands your product and the type of audience that will see your shopping ads. If you choose the wrong category, Google will most likely trigger your ads for the wrong audience.
Use AI to improve targeting and personalization
Over the years, Google has incorporated more artificial intelligence and machine learning to campaign setup and management through Smart Bidding and Smart Campaigns. With Smart Bidding, Google automatically adjusts your bid based on its estimation of how likely the shopper is to buy. But this is not just any rough estimate. The feature analyzes millions of signals within microseconds to determine the buyer's persona and the bid that suits best. Although Smart Bidding may give you less control over your campaigns, the potential benefits of the improved targeting and personalization far outweigh the tradeoffs in most cases.
Google Shopping best practices to boost ROAS
After setting up your campaign, you'll need to continually measure its performance if you're to get maximum returns on your ad spend. Below are a few proven ways of improving your Google Shopping ads performance:
Adjust your bids
Google Shopping operates a bidding system, just like Google Adwords. This means whoever is willing to pay more is likely to receive greater exposure. If your ads are not generating clicks as expected, you may have to consider raising your bid.
More than a third of U.S. consumers admit that positive reviews made them more likely to patronize a business. Flaunting your reviews on your product ads can easily attract more clicks and ultimately, more conversions. The reviews appear as star ratings at the base of each product listing ad PLA.
Add a promotion
Running promotions could be another great way to improve the performance of your campaigns. Buyers are generally more motivated to make a purchase when they know they're striking a bargain. So, whether it's a discount code or free shipping, do not hesitate to give your shoppers an incentive as long as your business can afford it.
Run Smart Shopping campaigns
Smart Shopping campaigns are a combo of display ads and product shopping ads that appear across the Google Display Network. The ads are almost fully automated; thus, they have a better chance of showing up where your potential customers are looking. Also, using Smart Shopping ads is a great strategy to maximize your conversion value because your bids will be optimized to lower your ROAS.
Create a strong campaign structure
It's vital to set up your campaign in a way that affords you as much control as possible. Although this may not be possible from the start, you'll have to manually divide your products into separate groups and set individual bids for each group. Having a solid campaign structure allows you to bid differently for different products and maximize your returns on product groups.
Optimize product titles
As already mentioned, the product title is arguably the most important element of your product feed. Even if you think you've crafted a great product title at the onset, you may need to continually review the title if your ad doesn't perform well. Adding specific information like brand, color, and size to your title can be a great way to optimize if you're not doing that already.
Leverage negative keywords
Negative keywords help you tell Google the search terms you don't want to show up for, even if they appear related to your listings. If you're not already familiar with Google ads, you may need to carefully walk through your search terms report to know the keywords you have to exclude as negative keywords. For example, if your ecommerce store sells dog food, Google may trigger your ads for search terms like 'how to make dog food.' Unfortunately, dog owners who plan to make DIY dog food are not part of your target audience. So, you may save more by including that search term (and other related terms) as a negative keyword.
Google Shopping allows advertisers to enjoy flexibility on specific mobile bids or set individual bid adjustments based on the shopper's device. Since mobile traffic is on the rise in ecommerce, merchants that are aware of where their traffic is coming from have a better chance of optimizing their campaigns to get the best result. The trick is to optimize your campaign for your best traffic sources while maintaining a single campaign that will reach all your potential customers across all devices.
Remarketing is a way of telling Google to bid more for a set of customers. They're typically customers that have previously made a purchase from your store via your Shopping Ads, and you know they're likely to make a purchase the next time they search for another product. To set up your remarketing list for search ads (RLSAs), you'll need to use Google Analytics to build a remarketing list or add a remarketing tag to your site.
Case study: How Bicycle Warehouse decreased acquisition costs by 31% with LimeSpot
Bicycle Warehouse is one of the top independent bike retailers in the U.S. They had tried running some Google Ads on their own but found the process time-consuming and couldn't get the results they were looking for. Then they discovered LimeSpot.
LimeSpot's Ad Optimization for Google Shopping was as simple as 'flipping a switch' for Bicycle Warehouse. Almost instantly, LimeSpot started serving up relevant product ads to shoppers at different points in their journey, enriched with data points from LimeSpot's AI to surface the right product from the store's vast online catalog.
Within three weeks, Bicycle Warehouse started seeing a notable surge in referral traffic from Google Shopping ads, lowering their acquisition cost from the ads they were running themselves by 31% and increasing their purchase conversion rate by 3%. About 1 in 5 purchases made on the Bicycle Warehouse site are directly driven from LimeSpot, and Bicycle Warehouse's ROAS (return on ad spend) has reached as high as 9x.
Run Google Shopping ads with LimeSpot
Getting the best return on ad spend on your Google Shopping campaigns requires a great deal of time and attention to detail. However, with the right AI partner, you can record great success even with minimal effort. If you've been looking for one of such partners, you need not look beyond LimeSpot Shopping Ads for Google. The platform's superior automation and personalization capabilities guarantee more impressions, higher ROAS, and better rankings.
How can LimeSpot ads help your Shopping Ads Campaign?
LimeSpot enriches your listings for better performance. With automation, LimeSpot makes it easy to pre-validate your listings, thereby increasing their chances of being accepted by Google on the first try. The platform also continually synchronizes your catalog, making it easy to keep product listings current and complete.
Even better, LimeSpot’s AI automatically extracts product attributes and their target audience from your store. The information is used to enrich your product feed and increase your ad click-through rate (CTR).
Below are a few benefits of adding LimeSpot ads to your advertising strategy:
- Increase your campaign's performance using on-site behavior
- Automatically segment customers based on their stage of the consumer journey and target individual segments in real-time
- Maximize your conversion rate with 1:1 personalization on landing pages
- Boost your retention rate by retargeting customers that have previously shopped with you
Get started with Google Shopping ads
Google Shopping Ads remain one of the most efficient ways of connecting sellers and buyers with purchase intent. The platform presents an excellent opportunity to grow your brand and expand your customer base by advertising to sellers who are open to trying out new retailers. However, navigating the platform and optimizing your campaign for the best results may prove a tad challenging, especially for newcomers.
LimeSpot Shopping Ads for Google simplifies the process of setting up, launching, and optimizing your Google Shopping Ads campaign. With the advanced automation and personalization features, you can create a Smart Shopping campaign, get your feed running with ease, and focus on satisfying your customers.