Automatically sync the Shopify products with Google Shopping and advertise them across Google's Network
Google is continuously optimizing its algorithms to detect when someone intends to buy a given product. Thus, if you want to tap into another profitable marketing channel, you should try Google Shopping ads.
What is the process?
Why should you care?
Google Shopping Ads (aka Product Listing Ads or PLAs) represents a significant portion of all the clicks on Adwords (above 50%). Google is continuously optimizing its algorithms to detect when someone is likely interested in buying a specific product and in making sure they display the right ads in his search results page.
The traffic brought by these ads is usually easier to convert than on other ad networks. It includes visitors who are currently looking to buy similar products to the ones you are selling on your shelves. A word of caution, though, Google sees a massive acceleration in the impression of these ads on mobile. Thus, the traffic will come more and more from these devices over time.
The Google Shopping app will automatically sync your products with your Merchant Center account (where your product feed lives). It will also take care of updating these products with all the new changes you will make on Shopify. Other than creating and optimizing your campaigns, you won't have much to do regarding the synchronization.
How to execute this experiment?
Your online store needs to meet some requirements to publish on Google Shopping. Make sure to read the section regarding shipping conditions as you can automatically import your shipping settings from your store to Google.
When you met all requirements, you will find all the instructions to sync the products to your Merchant Center account below. Google needs no more than a week to validate your products once synced.
In your Shopify admin, head over the Google Shopping app. This place is where you can categorize your product to suit Google Shopping product requirements and edit the Google Shopping fields. As soon as you publish some changes, your feed on Merchant Center will be automatically updated.
If you are still wondering what your feed is about, remember that it contains all the information about the products you want to advertise in a way that Google can understand. Unlike traditional campaigns, you will never have to choose a keyword for your Product Listing Ads. Google will determine on its own if your products are eligible to be displayed on a given search query. Thus, you will spend a lot of time on optimizing your feed to encourage Google to show up your ads on the search queries you targeted. To learn more about the optimization of your product feed, take a look at this incredible resource below.
For an easy way to create your first campaign, head over the marketing section in your Shopify admin, and follow the instructions in the article below. Most advanced users might prefer using Adwords directly to create and update them. You must make sure to know your target CPA (cost per acquisition, which is what you are willing to pay to acquire one customer). This target CPA mostly depends on your average order value, your margin, and your customer lifetime value.
To get a sense of what your customers are actually searching for, you may want to use the Google keywords planner along with SEMrush. They will give you detailed insights like the estimated search volume for the desired keywords and the average CPCs you can expect to pay for them. Running a few manual searches on Google to assess the competition for them will also be helpful.
An important thing to keep in mind is that Google will show your products inside their search results pages based on your campaign priority first and bid second. In a nutshell, if the same product is in multiple campaigns with the same priority level, then the highest bid wins. But, if the same product is in various campaigns with different bids and different priorities, Google will go with the higher priority first. The default value for a campaign priority is low, so make sure to update them according to your strategy.
If you plan on advertising on AOL, YouTube, and Google Maps, you will have to ppt-in for Search Partners. We noticed that the CPC was usually lower on these platforms.
Make sure you configured the location section for your campaign. If you keep it by default, your ads will show up worldwide.
You will be asked to set a default bid for your campaign. A price in the $0.1 to $1 range might be an excellent start to watch how the whole thing performs. In the beginning, you do not know which products will perform well, so being conservative initially is not a bad strategy. When you get enough data, you will be better be able to assess how much you should increase the bid. Regarding the delivery of your ads, you can use accelerated instead of the default standard. Your product will show up faster, and you will get the data sooner.
Product ratings can help you increase the overall performance of your Shopping campaigns. The article below will help you synchronize your reviews feed on your Merchant Center account.
How should you track the results?
Google Ads provides different ways to track conversions. In most cases, you will be interested in using the conversion tracking pixel to track sales and other essential actions on your website (signups, form submissions, etc.). The link below will give you what you need to know to set it up.
Don’t forget to set a value for your conversion. Especially if you are selling products at different prices. It will help you calculate things like your return on ad spend (ROAS).
You may also need to select how many conversions to count when multiple ones happen for the same user. It is often set to Every. One useful case to set it to “One” is when you are dealing with a form submission, as someone can accidentally submit multiple times.
You may also want to update the conversion window (when the user clicked on your ad and later converts) and the view-through window (when a user is served a display ad impression, but does not click, and then converts) depending on your sales cycle. Check the time-lag attribution section in your Google ads dashboard to optimize these settings.
You can choose to not include this conversion in the “Conversions” column. The main reason to do so is that you do not want Google to optimize your bids for it. It will still appear under “All Conversions” if you uncheck this box so you will not lose any data by doing so.
When your conversions are ready, check the conversion rate and the total number of conversions to assess if something is working.
Depending on your organization and your goals, you may change the attribution model to something other than Last Click. Take a few minutes to understand all the attribution models as it is a powerful feature you may often rely on to understand which campaign is working.
Shopify wrote a full guide to get started on Google Shopping. We read it, and it is one of the best resources to learn all the basics (especially the part on analytics which is full of insights). The PDF file is 55 pages and takes approximately 1 or 2 hours to read.
The average cost per click is on the rise for Google Shopping ads but remains less expensive than text ads for the majority of cases.
There is no reason to believe that the quality score is much different on Product Listing Ads than on regular text ads. Aside from the relevance of your feed, your bids are the most critical part of your Shopping campaigns.
When you create a Google Ads account by using the Google Shopping app in Shopify, you can qualify for a credit on the account. To get the credits, you need to spend a specified minimum amount within the 30 days of creating the account.
Some people prefer using the Google Shopping Feed application by Simprosys InfoMedia rather than the official one. It seems that it has better reviews and offers support for Facebook Catalog (thus, no need to use any other app for that). It provides a robust interface for all additional values required by Google, like custom labels, product categories, product conditions, age, gender, etc. Their support is also very responsive.
The Google Shopping app automatically adds conversion tracking events to your Google Ads account when you set it up. If your store already has Google conversion tracking set up through edits to the theme code or through a third-party app, then the conversion tracking events might be duplicated, and your report data will be inaccurate. You can disable repeated conversion tracking events from your Google Ads account.
If you are new to this game, don't try to advertise too many items. Success usually comes if you focus on a few products (especially those people will order again and again or with a high price / high margin). Products with low competition, but descend demand can also be a profitable strategy.
It is not always true, but longer, more detailed searches indicate a higher buying intent.
When you have products with no impressions, you may have bid too low, or your feed is not providing enough information to Google to display your products on its search results pages.
When you have products with a lot of impressions but users are not clicking on your listings, you may have a product price issue or poor image quality. Use the Ad Preview & Diagnostics tool to figure out how your images compare with the competition.
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