With Google’s big announcement that it would be substituting Product Search with Google Shopping (see my post about it, here) last month, many advertisers, small businesses, and search engine optimization firms were skeptical. How would it work? Will it force us to re-orient how we think about products or ecommerce in general? How would affect our bottom lines?
There is no reason to panic, though. Recently, Google has begun to answer the industry’s questions. Here are a few things you should know:
1. Setup an AdWords account (if you do not have one already) at google.com/adwords. From what we know about Google Shopping, it will function essentially the same as a traditional pay-per-click account. Products will be listed on the right side of the results page, based on the relevance of the product and its bid.
2. To run an effective Google Shopping campaign, it will require money. How much? Just like AdWords, it depends on how much you want to pour into it. Google Shopping will have two ways of billing:
- Cost-Per-Click: online retailers bid on the amount they will pay if their product listings in Google’s search results attract a click
- Cost-Per-Acquisition: online retailers bid on the amount they will pay if their product listings in Google’s search results cause a purchase
3. Next, you want to setup advertisements for your products. Instead of using keywords to decide how and where Google will display your advertisements (like traditional AdWords), product listing ads use your existing Google Merchant Center (Merchant Center) product feed. You will be able to input data into product feed (IE: products you sell, images, price, etc), and Google will use that information to display your advertisements in the best place.
It is extremely important, therefore, to keep this product feed optimized.
- Input all the data you have. Is the product in stock? What is the price? Does it have an up-to-date image? Delivery time? Reviews? Etc? Most users come to Google with a specific product in mind. Thus, Google attempts to show very specific products. The more information we have about your products, the better we can serve our users and send them to your website.
- Google recommends to “create your feed right after you’ve updated your database with the latest information, such as price and availability status.” This immediate transfer of information will ensure that your advertisements are completely up-to-date. “When a user comes to your website from Google Shopping, he or she expects to see the same price and availability as what is shown in Google Shopping results, or, what is provided in your data to us,” Google notes.
4. While Google Shopping is similar to traditional pay-per-click advertising, there are a few differences.
According to Google,
- Locations and language settings are supported for the U.S. and U.K., and the English language.
- Network settings apply for Google.com and some search partners (Google Image Search, Google Shopping).
- Devices supported include desktop and laptop computers only. Sorry, no mobile capabilities (yet)
- Ad delivery options aren’t supported. Each product ad will be displayed the same amount of times.
- Ad rotation settings aren’t supported. Whereas in AdWords one could determine which hours of the day or which days of the week one wanted ads to run, Google Shopping will not have this capability.
- Demographic bidding and frequency capping aren’t applicable, since they’re only relevant for Display Network targeting.
We hope that this answers at least some of your questions. Like everything Google has done, getting to know the process takes time, so you should not feel overwhelmed.