Google Shopping optimization: Enhancing your E-commerce success
Google Shopping is a powerful tool savvy E-commerce brands can leverage to make their products stand out while maximizing their reach throughout each leg of the customer’s shopping journey. In fact, a properly run and managed Google Shopping campaign can act as a catalyst, fueling a brand’s online and in-store growth.
However, as with any tool, it takes a deft touch to tap into Google Shopping’s true potential. This process—known as Google Shopping optimization (GSO)—isn’t just about showcasing a brand’s products to consumers online. It’s about fine-tuning the digital showcase to echo the brand voice, speak directly to the target audience, and, ultimately, drive sales.
So, how can brands enhance their E-commerce success with GSO?
Read on to find out.
What is Google Shopping?
Google Shopping is powered by two of Google’s platforms: Google Ads and Google Merchant Center.
In essence, this service allows users to search for, compare, and shop for physical products across different retailers who are paid advertising partners in Google’s network. Users can quickly browse thousands of stores and millions of products, comparing prices and places to buy—both online and nearby. And, the service provides consumers a convenient place to make a purchase directly on Google, without ever having to leave the search page.1
For businesses, Google Shopping provides a direct way to reach ready-to-buy consumers, right from the page. By deploying and then optimizing these campaigns to rank highly, brands can strategically display their products to the right audience at the perfect moment to capitalize on high intent-driven searches.
Put simply, Google Shopping offers businesses a wealth of benefits, including:
- Improved visibility – As with Google Ads, Google Shopping Ads appear at the top of search results, providing products with maximized visibility. Furthermore, the inclusion of product images, prices, and merchant names helps these ads stand out from a regular text-based Google ad.
- High brand trust – Brands that are chosen to be showcased are seen as more trustworthy by consumers since they have the digital Google stamp of approval.
- More qualified leads – These advertisements appear to customers who are actively searching for the keywords related to the products a brand sells. This means they’re already further down the funnel. And, when they click on the Goolge shopping ad, the format ensures that the user has a clear understanding of the product and pricing, which translates to high purchase intent.
- E-commerce integrations – Google Shopping seamlessly integrates with various E-commerce platforms, making it easier for businesses to upload and manage their product catalog.
- SEO – Because the various images must be cataloged and optimized for Google Shopping within a product feed, businesses can create structured data points that help products stand out for organic search—especially if that keyword data is integrated within SEO and content marketing efforts.
- ROI – Studies show that Google Shopping Ads generate 26% higher conversion rates and have a 23% lower cost-per-click than a text-based Google Ad, likely due to formatting which includes images, ratings, reviews, prices, and more.2
Tips for optimizing Google Shopping
So, how can brands get the most value from their Google Shopping platform?
Here are 5 Google Shopping campaign tips a business can follow to optimize its Google Shopping experience:
Tip #1: Optimize the product feed
Google Shopping campaigns live or die by product feed optimization.
Google Shopping’s algorithm operates quite similarly to the standard Google search. Its core objective is to understand user search intent and then match the query with the best results. So, the better information a business can give Google about its products, the more likely it’ll be featured in the spotlight through Google Shopping feed optimization.
What is the product feed?
Put simply, it’s a spreadsheet of a brand’s entire product catalog, organized in a specific manner so that Google’s automated crawlers can pull the relevant information and then display it in the search results.
And to optimize this feed, businesses can follow these Google Shopping feed optimization strategies:
- Showcase stunning product images – The first thing a potential shopper will see is the product image, so the quality of the image matters. To that end, keep in mind the following image optimization tips:
- Ensure high resolution: (minimum 800×800, up to 10MB).
- Variety: include at least three different shots or angles.
- Clean presentation: use a white background, no watermarks, logos, or promotional text.
- Test: conduct regular A/B testing.
- Get organized – Format product data in accordance with Google requirements, filling out mandatory attributes and optional fields (where applicable) and staying within character limits.3
- Ace product titles – When it comes to titles, think Goldilocks— a product title is not too long, not too short, but just right. Pack in as many product details and keywords as the maximum 75-character product title limit will allow, and do so in a way that catches the user’s attention.
- Nail the product category – Be precise with product categorization so that Google knows exactly what types of products are being sold and who they’re being sold to. For maximum exposure, drill down to be as specific and detailed as possible.
- Write compelling product descriptions – Google provides a 5,000-character count for product descriptions. But that’s just the maximum character count, not the recommended one. Avoid fluff and stick to the essential details, covering both the product features and the pain points it solves.
- Mind the GTIN – The Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) is a crucial attribute Google Shopping uses to track a brand’s products. Always include it in the feed.
- Keep data clean – Regularly audit and scrub data to search for errors, duplications, and so on. Remember that account-level errors are critical and must be addressed immediately to prevent account shutdown, whereas feed and product-level errors can affect ad performance.
Tip #2: Perfect the campaign structure
Google Ads allows brands to segregate products into various groups according to attributes like:
- Item ID
- Product type
As such, if a company wants maximum control over its ads and ad spend, it will need to optimize the campaign structure. Doing so makes it possible to eventually implement differential bidding across the various products.
How can brands accomplish this? By following these steps:
- Launch with a single product group – Start with ‘All products’. Click ‘Edit’, and choose the attribute the products will be segregated by.
- Tailor product groups – A list of possible values sourced directly from the data feed will appear. This can be used to create distinct product groups for certain values (‘>>’) or all at once (‘+’).
- Refine and repeat – From there, subdivide the new product groups, select additional attributes, and repeat as needed.
- Set bids – After the structure is set, Google Ads produces a new product group titled ‘Everything else’. This means a brand can place a distinct bid for a specific product within a category, brand, or product type, and set a separate bid for the other products in that group.
Tip #3: Focus on product reviews and ratings
Reviews and ratings can have a massive impact on how a product ranks on Google Shopping.
Naturally, the products that have a vast quantity of positive reviews and top ratings are more likely to rank higher. On top of that, customers’ shared experiences—expressed via ratings and reviews—are the ultimate form of social proof, helping brands establish trust and influence purchasing decisions.
In short, high ratings, coupled with abundant positive reviews, is the not-so-secret formula for propelling a brand’s products to the top ranks of Google Shopping.
To turn customers into brand advocates and ambassadors, businesses should take the following steps:
- Create a seamless review process, making it as easy as possible for customers to leave a review.
- Proactively seek out customer reviews since most consumers won’t volunteer that information unless they have a bad experience or are requested to do so.
- Incentivize reviews by offering some form of discount or reward.
- Respond to reviews, engaging with both negative and positive customer feedback.
- Promote positive reviews, showcasing them on the website, social media channels, newsletters, and so on.
Tip #4: Use Google Shopping Ad extensions
If brands want to add an extra oomph to their Google Shopping Ads, ad extensions can help.
Think of ad extensions as a tool a business can leverage to provide more details to product listings, making them more compelling and clickable. Generally speaking, there are two primary extension categories to pull from:
- Automated extensions – Often used for tax and shipping information within producing listing ads (PLAs).
- Merchant center programs – Which integrate Google customer reviews, product ratings, and merchant promos.
Tip #5: Review performance metrics
Google Shopping and Merchant Center come with powerful data analytics capabilities that businesses can use to determine which products are performing, and which ones aren’t.
By identifying winners, brands can easily focus their Google Shopping Ads on those products while excluding the less-than-profitable products from the campaign. Basically, any product that has a higher cost per conversion than profit margin should either be excluded from the campaign or re-optimized.
Google Shopping—An invaluable tool in the digital marketer’s arsenal
By effectively fusing Google’s powerful search engine with a visually engaging, price-transparent online marketplace, Google Shopping serves as a bridge that connects consumers with the best products, prices, and places to buy.
When leveraged effectively, this platform has the potential to significantly expand reach, increase visibility, and boost conversion rates. But to get the most value and utility, brands must proactively engage in Google Shopping optimization.
By following the tips outlined above, brands can effectively fine-tune their Google Shopping efforts. And, by partnering with an innovative, experienced digital marketing agency like Power Digital, brands can further enhance their marketing strategy to realize their full potential in this vibrant digital marketplace.
- Google. How Google Shopping Works. https://support.google.com/faqs/answer/2987537?hl=en
- Shift4Shop. 5 Awesome Benefits of Google Shopping ads. https://blog.shift4shop.com/benefits-of-google-shopping-ads
- Google Merchant Center Help. Product Data Specification. https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/7052112?hl=en