Google’s suite of ad products seems ever-expanding. It can be hard for marketers to keep up with their options, let alone business owners. If you’re in the retail space, there is one type of Google ad that should absolutely be on your radar screen: Google Shopping Ads.

These search ads are designed to help retailers capture the attention of consumers all along the customer journey. And while there’s a bit of a learning curve to using them properly, once you understand how they work, they can be a powerful tool in your e-commerce marketing arsenal. Here’s everything you need to know about Google Shopping Ads.

What Are They?

Let’s start with the basics. Google Shopping Ads appear prominently on a search results page, whether at the top, to the right, or on their own dedicated tab labeled “Shopping.” They feature an image of your product, plus additional relevant information like price, reviews, and any upcoming deals that apply.

You’ve probably seen these ads before in your own online searches, even if you didn’t know what they were called. Let’s say you Google an item like “picture frame.” You don’t even need to include words that indicate a purchase intent like “for sale” or “near me.” Simply Google the item itself, and the results at the very top of the page will be those Google Shopping ads.

Who’s Using Them?

These ads are beneficial for just about any type of retailer. It doesn’t matter whether you’re strictly e-commerce or also have brick and mortar stores. Whether you’re selling baby shoes or motorcycle parts, you can put these ads to work for your business.

Google Shopping Ads are great for a number of reasons. The ads receive prominent placement, even ahead of organic results, and the visual element helps to catch consumers’ eyes and draw attention to your product. Plus, the ability to include additional information like reviews, price, and special deals can help those who are further along in the customer journey get all of the information they need in one place, without even having to click over to your website.

How Do You Get Started?

There is a bit of strategy involved in how retailers use Google Shopping Ads. The first thing anyone hoping to use Google Shopping ads should do is establish a Google Product Feed. This is where Google pulls information from to display their Shopping ads, so if the information in your Product Feed is incorrect, incomplete, or formatted improperly, you’re doing damage to your shot at ranking for your chosen terms.

The next step is to create a bid strategy around your products that make sense for your business. Let’s say you sell electronics. The price points and margins for your products will likely vary a lot. For example, you may sell a pair of wireless headphones with a retail price of $35 and gross margin of $15. And you also sell TVs that range from $350-$4,000 and gross margins that range from $175-$2500. You’ll definitely want to bid differently for the $35 pair of headphones than you do for a $4,000 TV.

Another dimension you may want to consider when determining your bid strategy is the pricing of your products. Although it may be tempting to bid highly on the most expensive TV you sell because the retail and margin are both high, you may have trouble converting visitors into sales if your total price (retail price + shipping costs) is noticeably higher than your competitors’ prices. You’ll probably generate significant sales and revenue if you focus on your products that are competitively priced.

You can also think about who you want to target and where they are in the customer journey. You may decide that people searching for “best television set” have low intent and are too early in the buying cycle to convert. This where negative keywords can be used to eliminate certain traffic. Understanding how different consumers search based on their stage in the customer journey can help you to create a strategy that targets the types of customers you want, resulting in better return on ad spend for the campaign.

Google Shopping Ads 2.0

Once you’ve set your budget, established your campaign strategy, and have your campaign up and running, you can consider complementary marketing efforts to enhance your Shopping ads investment. Retargeting is a great way to greet consumers who have already visited your website with relevant ads.

Going back to the electronics store example, if someone has gone to your site and looked at your television sets, you can retarget them with advertisements for your televisions on other sites. Google Shopping Ads also help you identify similar audiences ““ groups of people who share characteristics, behavior patterns, or demographic features with these hot leads”“so that you can target them with your advertising, too.

Google Shopping Ads should be a core component of any retailer’s advertising efforts. These ads are designed to help showcase your products, grab consumers’ attention at the top of the page, and help you get in front of a relevant audience along every stage of the customer journey. As a Google Premier Partner, we understand how to maximize Google’s suite of ad solutions. If you’re not currently exploring foundational tactics like search marketing or SEO, contact us today to get started.

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