With Google’s ever-growing popularity as a search engine, its own price comparison channel, Google Shopping, has become more effective as well. And whilst merchants in their masses continue to turn to Google Shopping to sell their items, many only scratch the surface of the platforms reach.
So how do you maximise your impact when selling on Google Shopping? And how can an optimised product feed help you in becoming a more effective seller?
What is a Google Shopping product feed?
A Google Shopping product feed is a file that contains a list of products that you want to advertise through Google Merchant Center and there are various types of feeds you can create, depending on your needs.
Simply put, this means that you use a feed to upload all your products to a channel, in this case, Google. The product feed is then used by Google to list your products, and their features on Google Shopping, with all the information provided by the feed itself.
How does a Google Shopping feed work?
A Google Shopping feed works using a Google Merchant Center account. Once you have uploaded your feed to GMC, Google will trawl through all the product data, using product attributes that you provided in the feed to provide titles, descriptions, categories, and much more for all your products. These attributes can then be used for advertising purposes on Google platforms, such as Shopping, or text ads.
Google Shopping feeds do regular updates, to ensure that product data is up to date. However, you can make these updates more regular by using a third party data feed service.
Creating a Google Shopping campaign
Getting started with a Google Shopping campaign is easier than you would think. All you have to do is follow these simple steps:
- First, you need to create a Google Adwords account, as well as a Google Merchant Center account. You will be required to input your business information and verify your website.
- Secondly, you will need to upload your feed, in the format of text or XML. By doing this, you provide all your products, as well as their attributes to Google. Inputting this information accurately is vital, as this is how your products will be shown on Google Shopping. The feed should provide all essential attributes, such as brand, price, availability and colour.
- At this point, you should link your Merchant Center and AdWords accounts. You can do this by going to the settings section of GMC, and selecting the Google AdWords option. You then click ‘link account’.
- Once the accounts are linked, select the ‘create shopping campaign’ button.
How to optimise your Google Shopping feed
An optimised feed is the best way to ensure you get the most from your eCommerce advertising campaigns. Here are some of the main ways you can optimise your feed:
Spend time tailoring your title
Your title is an important part of your Shopping ad, and therefore an important part of your feed. Your title is what Google uses to match relevant searches with your product, so it must be accurate and keyword-driven. However, you should also remember that your title needs to be created with your buyers in mind too. Google limits visible characters within titles, so try to put the most important elements at the beginning. That way, they are seen by searchers on mobile and desktop.
You should also consider the structure of your title. Certain products sell better when you prioritise the brand. Whereas others focus more on occasions. If you need an idea for how best to structure the title for your product, see the graphic below.
Perfect your images
Images are one of the focal points on Google Shopping, so an eye-catching image is essential. Firstly, you should ensure that your images meet all of Google’s requirements. After that, you should consider what your customers want from your images. Some products are better shown as lifestyle images, whilst others are more effectively shown in the form of product images. You may even want to try a combination of the two, as well as a number of different angles. You can add multiple images of your products on Google Shopping, so there is plenty of opportunity to showcase your products from every perspective.
Use custom labels
Custom labels, such as seasonal tags, or price brackets, are a very effective way of refining your Google Shopping advertising. These tags allow you to focus your advertising on the most profitable products and refrain from advertising unprofitable products. You can also focus on certain products at different times of the year, along with many other features.
Make your description front heavy
Your description is a great way to provide important information for your customers to better understand what you are selling. Furthermore, you can use essential keywords in it, to help your product to match up with relevant queries. But you should also try to make sure the most important elements of your description are located at the beginning.
Similar to titles, descriptions are character limited. Even fewer of those characters are shown prior to the customer clicking read more. This means the first few characters are essential to getting the attention of potential buyers.
Do plenty of keyword research
Keyword research plays a critical role in the success of Shopping ads. This is because keywords in titles and descriptions play a significant role in matching search queries with products.
There are numerous keyword research tools online, where you find what people are expecting to find for certain searches. These tools will help you to better understand the search processes of your target audience, and how to reach the people who will be interested in what you’re selling. However, search intent will continue to change over time, so be ready to frequently adapt and test new keywords, even if your old ones were a hit.
Add product type
Product type is another useful way of categorizing products when advertising on Google. By including your product type, it will increase the relevancy of your ad to customers, as well as allowing them to filter their search results accurately.
Add search-friendly colours
This is one of the most simple, but effective ways to optimise your Google Shopping feed. When people use colours in a search, they will usually use colours such as ‘blue’ or ‘red’. For that reason, you should change any niche shades of colours you have in your feed, to commonly used colours. For example, turn ‘cyan’ to ‘blue’ or ‘olive’ to ‘green’.
Use negative keywords
Negative keywords are a great way to narrow down who your ads are shown to. By using negative keywords, you can avoid people finding and clicking on your ad for similar searches that are not relevant. This helps to save your budget for more important matters.
One example of a negative keyword is the term ‘secondhand’ which may appear in many searches. If you are selling a new product, those searching for secondhand products will deem your product irrelevant. By making it a negative keyword, and excluding it, your ad will no longer show for this term.
A well-optimised feed can do wonders for your ads and their performance. By following these optimisation tips, you should see a positive change in your ads and their effectiveness. And in turn, you will save on your advertising budget, for future campaigns.
Remember to frequently A/B test your campaigns throughout, that way you can keep on improving, and truly make the most of your Google Shopping product feed.
About the author:
Marvin Flores is the Global Regional Manager at DataFeedWatch, the easiest solution to create, optimise, and manage product feeds for more than 1000+ shopping channels and marketplaces in over 50 countries. He has helped countless agencies and merchants to build robust and profitable feeds so they get the most out of their online advertising efforts.