Guide to Google Shopping campaigns

How to use Google Shopping ads to connect with customers nearby and around the world

Whether you sell online or via a physical store, or a mix of both, you can explore Google Shopping Campaigns and how they can possibly assist you in connecting with people searching online for precisely the things you offer.

Let's take a closer look at how you can go about creating and managing your Google Shopping ads campaign.

1 Overview

Three in four people shop online at least once a month1, and Shopping Ads can be a useful way to make sure your product gets seen there by the right shoppers, at precisely the right moment. Unlike regular search ads, Shopping Ads can include a photo of your product, along with other details like price, size, delivery details, and even a customer product rating. Shoppers appreciate them because they show upfront the exact product on offer, and that makes them a valuable tool for generating better qualified leads that are more likely to buy from you, too.

2 Where do Shopping ads appear?

Your potential shoppers will see your ads in a number of places, including1:

  • The ‘Shopping’ tab on Google Search (in selected countries)
  • Google Search next to their results
  • Google ‘Images’ tab
  • They can also show in Google Search Partners’ websites (if your campaign is set to include search partners
  • Google Display Network sites — such as YouTube, Gmail, and a range of other websites depending on the kinds of products you sell, and who you’re looking to reach.

3 How do Shopping ads work?

Setting up and running a Shopping ads campaign is easy. You simply send your product data via Merchant Center — which Google then uses to create your ads. This data is also used to match the type of goods you sell with your ideal customers, so they see the relevant product as per their search.

You can advertise your online store or physical store using three types of Shopping ad:

Product Shopping ads:

These ads are created based on the product data you submit to the Merchant Center.

Showcase Shopping ads:

You can make these in Google Ads by grouping related products together. For example, if someone is shopping for new kitchen utensils, you might want to show items of a similar style, or others from the same set. This allows people to easily make comparisons and select the right one for them.

Local inventory ads:

These ads use Google Search to showcase your products and store to people nearby. When they click your ad, they’re taken to a Google-hosted shop, called the local storefront. From here, they can browse your in-store inventory, see your opening hours, get directions to your store, and more.

4 How to use Google Merchant Center

Before uploading your product data, you’ll need to format it for creating effective campaigns. Some key attributes of your product data feed list include:

  • ID – a unique code specific to each product.
  • Title – the name of your product, and the text that will show on your ad whenever it appears.
  • Description – text that describes your product to potential customers.
  • Product category – to make it easy, you can simply choose from Google's predefined categories.
  • Product type – this can be defined by you.
  • Link – to ensure customers can go direct to the item on your website.
  • Availability status – i.e., whether it’s in stock, or not.
  • Price – the selling price, plus any discounts/reductions you’re currently offering.

You’ll also need to define the data feed and update it as product information. This is important because if your data feed doesn’t match the details on your website, your ads won’t appear.

5 How are Shopping ads charged?

As with other Google ad formats, your ads participate in an auction — but how you’re charged works a little differently, depending on the type of ad you’re running. For example, with Product Shopping ads you pay on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis, i.e., you’re only charged when a potential customer clicks your ad to visit your website or the Google-hosted landing page for your local inventory.

With Showcase Shopping ads, you’re charged based on cost-per-engagement (CPE). This is when the user expands or collapses your set of ads — and either keeps them open for 10 seconds or more, or clicks the expanded ad before then.1

6 Ready to get started?

Setting up a Shopping ads campaign is pretty straightforward, but here are four quick tips to help things go as smoothly as possible:

  1. Make sure your prices are accurate: The prices that appear on your ads will need to match those on your website, so always double check before going live. Also, remember to include any special offers you’re running, as it will help increase the chances of a sale.

  2. Running ads in multiple countries: In this case, You’ll just need to make sure you have a separate product data feed for each region.

  3. Make sure your images are high-quality: Avoid using edited or watermarked product images, as it will discourage people from clicking. Only use images of the exact products you’re selling.

  4. Check your links: Make sure all your destination URLs are to actual live pages, and not 404s/dead pages. Customers will be instantly turned off, and most likely buy elsewhere.

To learn more about how to set up, edit, pause or restart the Shopping ads, visit the Shopping ads website. You can learn more about creating your first campaign here.