Google Shopping ads, also known as Product Listing Ads (PLA), are the ads that appear above organic search in google in the share of a tile with product image, price, and store. PLAs were launched in 2010 and have been growing in popularity ever since becoming an essential part of many leading brands’ strategies.
These ads are great for eCommerce optimisation because they stand out in search results, and show well on mobile and in image searches. They serve as a useful layer of your marketing strategy driving awareness and credibility. You still pay per click and manage them through your AdWords (now Google Ads) dashboard like the rest of your PPC ads, but their other attributes are distinctly different.
In some respects they are much easier to manage because you don’t have to worry about keywords. Google uses your product data feed to display your ads in relevant searches. But you still have control by manipulating attributes like title, category, and description. Let’s take a look how Google Shopping ads can benefit your eCommerce operation.
Benefits of Google Shopping Ads
Google Shopping ads appear on top of search results and meet shoppers that are have done most of their research with highly targeted and clear product offering. PLA ads stand out with their simplicity, informative clear message, and visual appeal.
PLAs are the only ads in the search results boasting a photo, which immediately grabs the attention of the shoppers. Visual appeal is key in Google Shopping optimisation, it attracts buyers and makes them more likely to click and land on a product page.
Better Quality Leads
People who search for products on Google have already done some research and are close to making a decision. When they see a relevant product ad, they are more likely to follow the link to find out more about the product and make a purchase.
Higher Conversion Rates
Google Shopping ads have proven to have much higher conversion rates compared to text-only ads. On average conversion rates are 26% higher and also your cost-per-click is reduced by about 23%. This leads to more relevant traffic to your eStore at better CPC and ultimately boost your ROI.
Can Be Easier to Manage
PLAs can be simpler to manage on the back end easing your workflow. Google uses your product data feed to match your products to searches. You can manipulate product data feed to optimize your ads with your product title, category, and descriptions. Although you don’t need to set keywords and create specific ads like with Search ads, the words you use in titles are very important, and you do need to make sure your feed data is good to get the best results. More on this below.
With Google Shopping ads multiple products can appear with a single query boosting exposure for your product line. That helps you raise awareness of new and related products.
Google also offers User Benchmarks so you can better place your bids by measuring against how industry rivals are bidding.
How to Optimize Performance
Use Quality Images
Photos are key in standing out among competitors and grabbing the attention of shoppers. Take good photos, using the appropriate background, lighting, and retouching to optimize conversions.
Add Ratings & Reviews
Rating and reviews can come from your website or from 3rd party sites. You have to have at least 3 reviews for a single product and a minimum of 50 for all your products in order to qualify. Once you meet these criteria you can contact Google to activate the feature.
Write Good Titles & Employ SEO Practices
Optimize your product data feed using best SEO practices to stand better chances of relevant listing. Improve your titles and descriptions, employing relevant descriptive terms that help Google link your products to searches. Putting key search terms at the start of your product titles will help them show up for the searches you want to target. Let’s use an example:
Starting product title: Forever Together Engraved Birthstone Necklace in Silver – this product is going to show more for searches like “forever necklace”, “birthstone necklace”.
Adjusted title: Heart Silver Forever Together Necklace – Engraved Birthstone Necklace – this product is going to show for more searches like “silver heart necklace” and “silver together necklace”
As you can see, the way you structure Google Shopping ad titles really matters when considering your ideal customer and what they are looking for.
Focus Your Campaign on Top Products
Stay on top of your analytics and use the data to target your listing ads to your best-performing products to boost conversion. Your top sellers can boost your traction and help you raise awareness for related products. By adjusting your ad groups and bids accordingly you will also improve your CPC.
It is important to keep optimizing and updating your data feed and send it to Google daily so the most current product information can take effect the next day. eCommerce optimisation includes diligent updates of all aspect of your PPC campaigns.
The more products you have in your feed the more likely it is for Google to display them in their shopping ads. You should list as many products as possible and update your feed daily for better chances of listing.
Use Negative Keywords
Use negative keywords so you don’t appear in irrelevant searches. If you are selling men watches you can list as negative keywords, ‘womens watch’ or ‘womens accessories’. Make sure to be regularly checking your search term report (if you aren’t using smart shopping) to exclude irrelevant terms.
You can add automated extensions to your feed so your ads can offer extra information like deals or discounts.
Use Your UPC Numbers
Your UPC number, also known as GTIN, helps Google understand what your product is and display it in relevant searches so make sure to include it when possible.
PLAs are now an essential part of eCommerce optimisation and the marketing strategy of serious eCommerce brands and marketers. Google shopping optimisation adds another touch point along your buyer’s journey that raises awareness and nurtures qualified leads to make a final decision and choose your product. The ads’ performance depends on your diligent effort to make them stand out and can greatly boost your conversions and ultimately your ROI.