With just two days until the transition to Google Shopping
begins around the world, many retailers are still unprepared for this drastic change. Many
others have overlooked this update until after the Christmas and January rush
and are only now considering the impact on their business. If your business is
reliant on Google Product Search campaigns for traffic, you need to begin
ramping up your Google Shopping presence as soon as possible in order to
maintain your momentum.
So what is Google Shopping and how will this impact your
business? In layman terms, Google Shopping is a new, paid advertising format
from Google. This advertising format will be highly visual and focused on
improving the customer experience. This format was rolled out in the US in 2012
and will now begin transition in the UK, Australia, France, Germany,
Switzerland, Japan, Italy, Spain, Brazil and the Netherlands.
reason this change is so important for retailers is that Google
Product Search traffic will soon fade away and that in the near future all
Google Shopping traffic will be paid. Also, for many retailers this change of
format means action is required in order to participate.
You will begin to notice a shift in traffic in the coming days, so
an understanding of your campaigns and this program is vital. We’ve compiled a
description of the core elements of Google Shopping along with advice to help
you get started.
Google Shopping is driven by Product Listing Ads (PLAs), which are
visually compelling product advertisements that include product information
such as image, title, price and merchant name. A Product Listing Ad is a unique
ad format that Google offers to promote specific items alongside text ads on
Google search results pages. PLAs are displayed when Google matches a search
query to information in a retailer’s product data feed. This ad type is
typically priced on a cost-per-click (CPC) bidding model, where you are charged
based on the number of clicks your advertisement receives.
The Product Listing Ad format works on “product targeting”
technology, meaning that once you have submitted your product data feeds Google
accesses that data and matches search queries to the most relevant products.
Which products are shown in the PLA is Google’s decision and ranked on CPC and
other factors familiar to search auctions like quality score and click-through
rate. Google pulls the image URL from your feed in order to display a product
image along with the product title and any optional promotional text that you
A product data feed is a list of individual products that includes
product details such as name, price, product page URL, product image URL,
description, category and more. PLA success starts with product data feeds that
are accurate, comprehensive and delivered frequently. Take a look at the
quality of your data; are all relevant fields present, is it accurate and
up-to-date? By optimising your content you will ensure that the data available
to Google contains all the relevant information for a Product Listing Ad.
Targets, or product groupings, identify which products from data
feeds will trigger Product Listing Ads for related searches. Target fields allow
you to group products together based on characteristics such as “sale.” This
grouping action enables you to control bids across multiple products based on
set qualifications, (e.g. all products characterised as “sale” should receive a
bid of 75 pence). Since bids are controlled based on these targets, be sure to
have a reliable bidding strategy in place.
Promotions refer to the optional ad copy, such as “free delivery,”
that can be attached to Product Listing Ads. While PLAs already offer more
product information than regular text-based ads, adding this additional text
can help differentiate your ads from competitive offerings. It is crucial to
strategically create targets since promotional text is attached to all products
within a target.
Visibility into PLA performance is essential for retailers to
obtain a return on their investment. By reviewing your campaign performance you
should go back to your feeds and make necessary adjustments to further optimise
their data for better visibility within Google Shopping.
We’ll be updating this blog with helpful advice
and strategies as this transition takes place, or if you’d like to learn more
about Google Shopping you can download our Top 12 Tips to Google Shopping
Success tip sheet.