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What is Google Shopping and How to Operate it?

Last updated: Nov 18, 2022

What is Google Shopping?

Google Shopping is Google's advertising service that makes it easy for consumers to search, compare, and buy products from various merchants. You can advertise your products on this platform by displaying the photos, descriptions, prices, and URLs that lead to website purchase pages.

Your ad will be displayed by Google on the search results page (SERP) in the "Shopping" section. There, consumers can find a wide selection of products from various sellers and compare them.

The way Google Shopping works is by using product data uploaded by website owners to display advertisements for their products. Additionally, you need to use Google Merchant Center and Google Ads if you want your business to appear in the shopping section of Google searches.

Google Merchant Center is used to upload and store product information via the form provided. Meanwhile, Google Ads is used to manage and analyze advertisements, such as promotions and budgets.

The Importance of Google Shopping

Google Shopping is an advertising service that makes it easy for e-commerce-based websites to promote their products directly on the SERP. By understanding what it is and using it, you will get various benefits, including:

  • Increase the conversion rate: The information includes an image, a description, a price, and a website link. An attractive appearance makes the conversion rate higher.
  • Budget efficiency: The advertising system uses CPC (cost-per-click), so your ad will only be charged when a consumer clicks on the ad.
  • Simplify the buying process: consumers can compare products and prices from every online shop on the internet. 

How to Create Google Shopping Ads

Now is the time for you to learn how to create and run Google Shopping Ads. To manage them, you need to have a Google (Gmail) account installed in Google Merchant Center and Google Ads. The stages of advertising are as follows:

Create Google Merchant Center Account

Google Merchant Center serves as a repository for product information that will be displayed in search results. Therefore, you must first create an account. The method:

  1. Create an account on the Google Merchant Center website.
  2. Provide basic information, such as contact and address, and agree to the terms of service.
  3. Define your account roles.
  4. After that, you can manage business information by clicking the gear icon (settings) and selecting "Business Information".
  5. Fill in the information in "About your business”.
  6. Verify your business website by entering the URL in the website column (make sure the URL starts with http:// or https://). If you don't have a website, leave the website column blank.
  7. Make sure your business complies with the provisions in the Merchant Center Guidelines.

Add Business Information

In the previous stage, you were asked to fill out the "Business Information" section completely. This information will later be used in various features and tools in the Google Merchant Center. Here are some data that you need to fill in:

  • Business name: You can use a business name, a website name, or a store name. The name will be used as the Google Merchant Center account name, and the audience will see the name across Google platforms.
  • Business address: Enter the address of your business store or office. Once filled in, the time zone will automatically adjust to the business address.
  • Phone number: Enter your business phone number and verify it.

Choose a Check-Out Location

Choose a place where your customers will check out. There are several options available, namely on the website, at a local shop, or through Google. You can select more than one place and change the selection at any time. Here's the short explanation:

  • Check out on the website: Consumers who want to buy products on Google Shop will be directed to the seller's website to complete the transaction.
  • Check out at local stores: You can display your products on Google Shop and direct consumers to your local stores.
  • Check out on Google: Consumers who want to buy products on Google Shop can make transactions directly on Google.

Enter Product Feed Data

The feed refers to a file that contains a list of products you want to advertise. The steps to enter product data feeds to be displayed on Google Shopping are as follows:

  1. On the Google Merchant Center dashboard, select the "Product" menu.
  2. Pick either the "Create product feed" or "Create feed (advanced options)" button.
  3. Choose the country and language used to show your product to the right consumers.
  4. Next, enter the name of your product feed and select a method for inputting product data into the feed. There are several methods, namely manual upload, Google Sheet, content API, and scheduled fetch. It is recommended to select the Google Sheet option to make it easier to collectively manage product data.
  5. If so, click the "Create feed" button.

Adjust Product Photos

The ad format displayed on Google Shopping is an image, so you need to adjust your product photos and optimize them to attract buyers. This stage is very important because Google will also verify the images displayed.

If the image doesn't meet the criteria, you won't be able to serve your product. In fact, Google may even disable an account for a photo that violates their terms.

Make sure that your product photo meets the criteria below:

  • There are no logos, text, borders, or watermarks.
  • In one photo, there can only be one type of product.
  • Don't use a dark photo background.
  • Make sure the product photo is clear, not blurry, and the lighting is good.
  • The scale or size of the product in the photo is not too small or large.

Connect with Google Ads

Why should Google Merchant Center and Google Ads be linked? This is because products can only be displayed on Google Shopping if you are already running ads. Follow this guide to find out the steps:

  1. On the Google Merchant Center homepage, click the gear icon (settings).
  2. Click "Linked account" and select "Google Ads".
  3. Under the words "Your Google Ads account", find the Google Ads consumer ID of the account you want to connect.
  4. Click the "Link" button in the "Action" section.

If you want to add another Google Ads account, you can follow this guide:

  1. On the Google Merchant Center homepage, click the gear icon (settings).
  2. Click "Linked account" and select "Google Ads".
  3. Under the words "Other Google Ads account", click "Link Account" and enter the consumer ID of the Google Ads account you want to connect.
  4. Click "Send link request".

Run Google Shopping Ads

After Google Merchant Center and Google Ads are connected, you can run ads on Google Shopping. To do so, you need to sign in to your Google Ads account. The steps for placing Shopping ads on Google Ads are as follows:

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Go to the "Campaigns" menu.
  3. Click the plus icon and select "New Campaign".
  4. Select the campaign objective of the ad that will run.
  5. Select "Shopping" as your campaign type.
  6. Select your Google Merchant Center account.
  7. Select the feed containing the products you want to advertise.
  8. Determine your ad preferences, such as campaign name, bidding system, daily budget, campaign priority, networks (where ads are shown), device, location, and additional settings.
  9. Click "Save and continue".
  10. Then you can create an ad group. Within it, you can enter individual product ads that will be automatically generated using information from your Google Merchant Center account.
  11. Click "Save".
  12. On the product group page, you will find one group that contains all the products you are advertising. Create several other product groups so that the bidding process can be more effective.
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