Setting up an e-commerce store these days can be relatively easy. With excellent WordPress plugins such as Woocommerce and great platforms such as Shopify; more and more retailers are gaining an online presence for relatively little investment.
Creating your shop is only part of the venture however, it is often much more difficult in terms of time, effort and expertise; to get valuable traffic to your website. Improving your rankings on search engines by producing great content and attracting backlinks from high authority websites is one way, producing a great social media campaign is another.
However, to be certain of attracting people who are in the right mind-frame to make a purchase – Google Shopping Ads are a must.
Please note that you will need to show all of your contact details on your website, in order for your Shopping Ads to be approved by Google. You will also have to show your returns policy on the website. For many small business owners, it can be beneficial to use a call answering service to deal with customer inquiries; if you are expecting a large number of calls once your shopping ads go live.
1- Upload and Optimize the Products on Your Website
Google populates its ads by using the images and some of the copy from your own website. It is therefore crucial that the images are high quality and appealing to people searching on Google.
It is best to use a solid white background for most images and make sure the images fill at least 75% of the full image. i.e. don’t place a tiny image of the product, against a huge background.
2- Set up Google Merchant and Google Ads Accounts
The first part is a bit of a pain but is straightforward. Simply head over to Google Ads, click to sign up and fill in all the necessary information. Then head over the Google Merchant Center and do the same.
In the Google Ads account, click the Tools & Setting menu option on the top right (the wrench icon) and fill in your billing details.
Join Our Small Business Community
Get the latest news, resources and tips to help you and your small business succeed.
3- Setup Your Product Data Feed
To setup your feed, sign in to Google Merchant Center and then click on “Products” in the left-hand menu, and then “Feeds”. To start a new feed, click the + sign that is within the blue circle:
First you will need to enter some further business information including your location and niche. Once that is out of the way, you need to give your feed a name and then choose which method you will use to produce the product feed.
Using “Google Sheets” is arguably the easiest way to make your feed to begin with.
You will need to fill in a number of fields on the Google sheet, sot that Google and those people searching online get a clear idea of what your product is.
These fields are set out as columns on the Google Sheet and include, id, title, description, a link to the product one your online store, the product condition – i.e. New or Used, price, and a link to the product image on your website.
You can see a copy of a basic feed for a T-shirt shop here.
If you are using a WordPress website, with the popular Woocommerce plugin to populate your shop, then you can use the Woocommerce Google Feed Manager. Simply install the plugin and then generate a new feed – then take the feed’s URL and add it via Google Merchant Center.
This time, instead of selecting “Google Sheets” as you input method, choose “Scheduled Fetch”.
For more information on how to use the Google Feed Manager plugin, please see this Youtube tutorial.
4- Link Your Merchant Center Account to Google Ads
To link your Merchant Center account to your Google Ads account, you will need to login to Merchant Center, then on the Overview page, click the wrench icon in the top right corner, then clicked “Linked Accounts”. From here, you should simply be able to click “link” to link your Google Ads account with your Merchant account.
Once everything is setup via Google Merchant Center, you will need to go to the Google Ads website/interface and start a new Shopping Campaign.
5- Build Your Shopping Ads Campaigns
Please note that the settings recommended for your campaign in this section are not, necessarily the best settings for your campaign. However, they are straightforward to setup and are generally recommended for your first try at Google Shopping Ads, before experimenting with other settings such as bids, bidding strategy etc.
Now to start a new Shopping Ads campaign – login to Google Ads, click “campaigns” on the left-hand menu and then click the plus icon with the blue circle.
Click “New Campaign” and then “Sales”, then “Shopping”. Make sure your Merchant account prefills the “select Merchant Center” section and then click “Standard Shopping campaign”.
Give the campaign a relevant name, choose “Manual Bidding” to begin with and untick “enhanced CPC”. Next, set your budget. To begin with untick the “Youtube and Discover on Display Network” box, finally ensure that you select the relevant location.
Next you will need to build your ad groups. To begin with choose “Product Shopping Ads” and enter the maximum you are willing to pay for each click of your ad – your “bid”.
Now you should be good to go! Remember to monitor the Google Merchant Center to make sure that there are no issues with your feed. You will also want to make sure that you have conversion tracking set up, ideally with Google Tag Manager, so that you can keep an close eye on how well your ads are performing in terms of cost per sale and return on investment.