Most of us shop online – why wouldn’t we? It’s an easy and convenient way to find what we’re looking for. The only problem is that bouncing from one site to another to find the exact pair of shoes you’re looking for can be time consuming and frustrating. If only there was an online marketplace where you could search for products…
It turns out there are several. Amazon, eBay, Etsy and, of course, Google Shopping. A simple search query churns out results that match exactly what you’re looking for with little effort on your part. What’s not to love?
For retailers, Google Shopping can provide a chance to get products in front of consumers with little effort, and visibility is everything. Shopping results appear both on the main search results page and a dedicated tab, meaning that retailers using the platform gain a competitive edge.
Google Shopping was released by the search engine giant in 2002 under the name ‘Froogle’ – a play on the company’s name and the world ‘frugal’. However, it originally wasn’t an advertising platform. It started out as an index of product data based on search terms instead of paid submissions.
2012 was when things really took off. Google Shopping transformed into a paid advertising platform and became a brand of what was then called Google AdWords. But there was an added bonus for retailers – instead of text-based ads, Shopping used product data to display images, prices and more to draw customers in.
Why use Google Shopping?
No matter what people are searching for, chances are they’re using Google. In fact, 36% of product searches start there. It’s the world’s favourite search engine, after all. Having your products on the first page of Google can only be a good thing, and that’s achievable with Google Shopping.
With a Google Shopping account, your merchandise can appear alongside web results on the first page, and they’ll be more eye-catching with images and reviews. It’s no wonder the platform boasts 30% higher conversion rates than text-based ads.
The best part is that it’s 100% free to sign up.
As an added bonus, that’s not the only place they’ll appear. You can also find your products in the Google Shopping tab, as text-based PPC ads and standard web results. It really is a recipe for success.
How does Google Shopping work?
Two platforms come together to make Google Shopping work: Google Ads and Google Merchant Center. The former is where you control your budget, campaigns and bids, while the latter is where you keep your product feed, which ultimately appears in the search results.
As you can imagine, this changes the process of creating your ads. Instead of just text, Google has to pull information from Merchant Center as well as Google Ads to figure out which search queries will trigger your campaigns. Consequently, SEO plays a huge role here because your feed needs to be fully optimised to unleash its potential.
For more information, you can check out this video about how Google Shopping works.
Are there any downsides?
There are very few drawbacks to using Google Shopping, but it’s worth taking note of them.
The platform has very strict guidelines when it comes to imagery, and it can be hard to stand out from your competitors because every ad follows exactly the same structure and is the same size.
Google Shopping is also only suitable for eCommerce businesses. If you’re trying to entice people into your physical store to buy your products, it’s not the platform for you.
Requirements for using Google Shopping
You don’t need much to get started. A Google Ads account is necessary, as well as a Google Merchant Center account. If you don’t have either, they’re very easy to set up and they’re good for ad management.
Apart from that, you’ll obviously need stock to sell (as well as the information about it like prices), and an idea of your delivery costs.
Google Shopping is just that simple.
Have you used Google Shopping? Let us know your experiences in the comments below, either as a consumer or a retailer. If you get stuck, remember that we’re a Google Shopping Ad agency with years of experience and we’re always ready to help.