Google Shopping FAQ

How do I get on Google Shopping?

You need to submit your products to Google Merchant Center and they need to be approved. For them to be displayed in paid shopping listing they need to be approved for Shopping ads and for your products to be displayed in the free listings in the Google Shopping tab you need to make sure your products are approved for surfaces across Google.

How much does it cost to sell on Google Shopping?

It costs nothing to have your products displayed in the Google Shopping tab. There will almost always be promoted (paid) product listings above the free listings and over time additional paid listings might be added to other portions of the page.

To have your products displayed on google.com and in the promoted section in the Google Shopping tab you will need to setup Shopping campaigns. The price you pay will depend on the competitive landscape in your industry, your product data and how much you are willing to pay on cost per click (CPC) basis.

Google Shopping actions is similar to the Amazon model. Your products are listed in Shopping but the buying process occurs seamlessly on Google. The buyer does not need to visit your site. Google Shopping actions works on a commission basis and you can view all of the latest commission rates here.

Is Google Shopping Free? How can I can advertise free on Google?

You need to upload or create your products in Merchant Center and make sure the products are approved for Surfaces Across Google.

Does Google Shopping use keywords?

No, not in the way traditional search ads in Google use keywords. Instead Google uses the information you provide to Merchant Center through a product feed or API.

The searches made by users, or keywords trigger your products based on the data for each or products in Merchant Center. So the title of your product, description, product type and product category will help inform Google if your product is a good match for the keyword the user searched for.

How do you rank on Google Shopping?

Where you rank for any given search depends on

  • The quality and completeness of the data associated with each of your products (SKUs, ID’s, etc) that is in Merchant Center.
  • Your bids or maximum CPC you have set for that product.
  • The history and quality of your product.

Over time each product ID in Merchant Center develops what in the search ads world would be a quality score. Unlike with search ads, this metric is not visible and Google does not publicly address how it is calculated. But it is likely that it involves click-through rate of your product for a given search, engagement with your site after clicking the listing, and quality of the data inside of Merchant Center.

Does Google Shopping increase sales?

It can and it is usually the largest growth engine for online retailers and commands the majority of the paid search budget. This is due to its effectiveness and the returns seen from shopping ads.

However just uploading your products will likely not result in large sales and revenue gains. If you are using paid Google Shopping ads you will need to spend time to optimize your feed, create an optimal campaign structure, and ensure your onsite experience gives you the highest possible conversion rate.

The free listings in Google Shopping is still new but from initial data the results for traffic and revenue coming from these free listings is positive and because there isn’t a cost associated with the traffic all of the revenue is a net positive and boost to EBITDA.

How should I structure my Google Shopping campaigns?

There are so many ways to do this it is hard to give a simple answer but I would say that there is no “right way” and with testing and data you should develop a structure that works for you. Here is a recent guide on a few possible Google Shopping campaign structures.

How you start depends on how much time you have, what resources (agencies, freelancers, consultants) you have available and what your past experience in shopping ads is. If you have limited time and experience with Shopping ads the easiest and quickest way to start is with Smart Shopping Campaigns.

If you have more time, resources, or experience you will likely be better served starting with multiple campaigns and priority levels so you can filter high performing searches to the appropriate campaigns. Over time you can then look at consolidating top selling products into Smart campaigns or further segmenting your campaigns and ad groups based on product data, sales metrics or other performance data.

How do I get my product feed on Shopify?

There are several options, from the Shopify Google Shopping app to service based vendors that will handle all setup and ongoing optimization for you. Here is a post on what options you have for creating a Google product feed from Shopify.

Can I use Google Shopping with expensive products or products that typically are not sold online?

The only requirement regarding this is you need to have an eCommerce enabled site and the product landing pages needs to offer the ability for the user to buy the item.

This doesn’t mean they actually will buy online, it just need to be an option. If you are selling $20,000 custom machinery you can participate in Google Shopping but the goal of the campaign will likely be lead generation than actual online sales. You can structure your landing page to account for this and in Google Ads you will be likely be optimizing around conversions and cost per acquisition (CPA) not sales, ROAS, profit etc.

What is Google Smart Shopping?

Smart shopping campaigns combine traditional shopping ads with remarketing. These campaigns are fully automated and the only control you have is what products are in the campaign and what you want to set as a target ROAS (if any at all). You will not have any reporting data on what keywords are triggering your product ads or what % of spend should go to shopping ads vs remarketing ads. You can pull some data on what % of spend is going to display.

Smart shopping campaigns can work really well but they also can fail miserably and allocate all spend to a small number of products that aren’t converting. I recommend that you start with traditional shopping ads and move some products or product categories to Smart campaigns once you have a good understanding of product performance and how to best split your Smart shopping campaigns.

How do I optimize Google Smart Shopping campaigns?

The benefit pushed by Google is you don’t. That means you don’t have to spend time or money optimizing the campaigns. However, in reality optimizing Smart shopping campaigns comes down to this:

  • Optimizing your product data/feed. Until their algorithm begins creating the products for you in Merchant Center optimizing your feed is the single biggest differentiator you have and the best way to gain an edge.
  • Deciding what products are in your Smart campaigns and how you split multiple smart campaigns. Typically moving best sellers into Smart campaigns has worked well and because I have existing data I can live without additional keyword, audience and other data. You will need to figure out what target ROAS works best for you. You may find you have product set A that performs best with a tROAS of 275% while product set B performs better with tROAS of 400%. You also need to consider the margins you have across different products. Some products might require they be in a Smart campaign with a tROAS of 600% due to the smaller margins you have on those item or you may have a great selling product that is a loss leader that you prefer to just maximize conversions.

Do you need feed optimization with Smart Shopping campaigns?

Yes, definitely. See above. If you aren’t optimizing your feed and your competitors are you are losing share and revenue.

Free Shopping Campaign Review

I want to give you a free review of your current shopping campaigns and see if there is room for improvement. There is no obligation and worst case you get some free advice.