Does your company sell products online? If so, you should be on Google Shopping. This post will cover the basics as well as a few advanced tricks to help you master Google Shopping and Product Listing Ads (PLAs).

Getting Started With Google Shopping

Google Shopping isn’t just some e-commerce engine. It reportedly accounted for 43 percent of U.S. paid search clicks in Q4 2016.

Think about that! Almost half of paid search clicks went to PLAs due to a variety of factors, including:

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Getting started is simple. Just make sure you have an AdWords account and a Google Merchant Center account. These will be your home bases.

Below are four keys to success on Google Shopping. This list includes mission-critical starting points. It also has advanced tools that set great marketers apart from the merely good.

1. Feed Optimization

Your Google Shopping feed is a full list of all your product SKUs (stock keeping units). Most sellers just pull their entire product database from their website then upload directly to Google Merchant Center. Don’t do this! 

Simply uploading the XML or a similar web database file seems easy yet it causes incompatibility errors with Google. These errors can lead to serious issues, including:

Therefore, you should use a smart feed solution to remove errors from your feed. Also, it’s important to upload a clean feed the first time. Properly sort your products using a logical progression of descriptors such as:

The best feed solutions also continue optimizing your feed over time. They complement your keyword-optimized product titles and descriptions by:

Make sure your data feed is clean.

2. Account Structure

A properly structured account is crucial to running Shopping campaigns painlessly. Think of account structure as your back-end business interface. In addition, you should structure your accounts to align with your business goals.

At a high level, your accounts serve you best when you have them set up to:

Some recommended account structure tips:

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Let’s hope your account structure doesn’t look like this.

3. Bid for Google Shopping

Feed optimization and bidding are the two most important pieces of the Google Shopping puzzle. Missing either is like trying to have a successful marriage with only one person!

While bidding for PLAs on Google Shopping may seem similar to AdWords, it isn’t. Rather than bidding for position, you bid for visibility. Either you show up or you don’t.

If your ads do surface in the top PLA group, that’s a good thing. But getting featured in slot #1 versus slot #3 isn’t necessarily a matter of life and death.

Since you’re not bidding for position, higher bids broaden the match types for which your products will surface.

Therefore, overbidding will surface your products for irrelevant queries. In some cases, those may be too general to convert. Example: Your product listings for “luxury men’s watches” may start surfacing in queries for “men’s clothing”.

Winning at bidding is a two-step process. First, you need a granular strategy to get your top SKUs visibility. Second, you need to avoid overspending on low-priority products with thin margins.

Here are my top tips to succeed here:

If you have a last-gen bidding solution, you may feel like you’re stuck in the old days of banging a gavel.

4. Custom Labels

Do Custom Tools seem limited? Probably, since you can create only five of them. Yet each can have up to 1,000 values.

These powerful tools actually exist outside your account structure. This means you can use them to fine-tune your account. Also, you can do so without any risk of muddling up your overall account structure.

Another powerful property: You can use them to track and test parameters that aren’t normally even handled by Google. This includes cost of goods sold (COGS).

Here are some Google Shopping tips for Custom Labels:

Use the power of Custom Labels to perform sophisticated tests and hack in new metrics.

Google Shopping Takeaways

These are my top suggestions for Google Shopping. It seems like a tough and complex job, but this complicated business is much easier and more rewarding with smart best practices and smart automation.

Good luck and happy shopping!

Image Credits

Featured Image and In-post Images: Pixabay