Google Shopping has established itself as a large advertising platform for shopping ads that no e-commerce company can ignore today. Google Shopping ads are a high-performance channel that brings customers to their own shop in a targeted manner. They are particularly well suited for campaigns in the run-up to Christmas business because they achieve a higher click-through rate when searching for products than pure text ads.
Depending on the view, the Product Listing Ads (PLAs) appear on the right-hand side next to the classic text ads and above the text ads. Thanks to the product image delivered with it, they lead to significantly more conversions. The price search engine Google Shopping itself can be found as a separate tab under the search mask. It enables online retailers and their agencies to place advertising in a targeted manner. And thanks to extensive filter functions, customers can narrow down the list of results in detail, for example according to numerous features, a product location or price regions. Companies can also play these shopping ads on other partner platforms belonging to the Google ecosystem, such as image search or YouTube. This gives them an enormous reach, which Google is regularly trying to improve with new features.
Synergies through external CSS
It generally makes sense to combine Google Shopping with alternative price comparison portals (CSS) in order to lower the relative costs per click (CPC). In this way, they can take more impressions and clicks with them for the same budget. Alphabet also had to make Google Shopping available to other CSS as a result of a court ruling in 2017 for antitrust reasons. Merchants who start with Google Shopping in Europe have since been listed by default using Google’s own CSS, with a margin of 20 percent of the advertising budget used by Google.
By switching to an alternative CSS, merchants can save this fee and thus receive more coverage and lower click prices. Also Smarketer As a CSS partner, it has created its own price comparison portal for its customers specifically for this purpose. As a result, it brings companies 20 percent more performance.
The full switch to a CSS partner integrates your own merchant center into the new CSS, but changes neither the advertisements nor the control options over the shopping campaigns. A double listing in which both Google CSS and Smarketer CSS are active is also possible. However, the latter means a significantly higher administrative burden.
Free Google Shopping ads provide an uplift
Since April 2020, as part of the corona crisis, it has also been possible to place free Google Shopping ads on the search engine. The competition between Google and Amazon in particular has stimulated business here – advertising customers can be pleased. However, this only applies to product entries that are located directly under the “Shopping” tab. The ads in the main search remain “Paid Media”. The product listings on the shopping page itself are then subdivided again: In the upper area there are still paid ads, and finally the free ads are placed below. Even if the measure was originally intended to generate new customers, existing customers can also increase their reach by 3 to 10 percent (in individual cases up to 30 percent) without having to touch an additional budget.
Data quality of the feed is gaining in importance
Since the free Google Shopping ads are automatically controlled via the product feed, retailers should pay attention to the data quality of the feed so as not to give away valuable reach through unsuitable keywords. Data quality can be optimized with the help of feed tools such as Products Up. Good advertising service providers pay particular attention to the adaptation of the title for the retailer, the high relevance of the description and compliance with the mandatory attributes specified by Google. In addition, industry-specific settings can be made, which ensure optimal product display in the interests of the customer. This can be decisive, especially in more complex, highly competitive product fields such as clothing and shoes, in order to appear as far ahead as possible.
Optimizing performance in a targeted manner before Christmas
It makes sense, especially before Christmas, to update the feed at least daily and to work with availability attributes such as in_stock and out of_stock (available or not available) as well as backorder or preorder (goods are currently not or not yet available, but can be pre-ordered) – especially for products that are difficult to obtain. In addition, an estimated shipping date (availability date) can be set. This is a great way to secure your pre-Christmas cash flow. It is also advisable to choose not only sales, but also the margin as an optimization factor.
In general, classic campaign management is moving away from search queries in view of automation and is increasingly event-related. In this way, Google recognizes which users are currently acting in a purchase-related manner and can expect a higher conversion rate. Remarketing is therefore becoming more important in the run-up to the Christmas business. And online retailers and their service providers should maintain this data situation accordingly with the help of remarketing lists. These cannot only be created on the basis of demographic characteristics. Creation is also possible for certain customer types, for example with special discounts for certain list types or according to product categories. You can also work with price discounts and merchant promotions.
Conclusion: Google Shopping Ads for an Improved Conversion Rate
E-commerce players should focus on shopping ads, especially in the run-up to action days such as Black Friday or Cyber Week, but also during the entire pre-Christmas period. You would do well if you plan the campaigns in autumn, as experience has shown that your own resources can run out in November. Optimizing the data feed is becoming more important – a task that companies should tackle in the long term and that pays off.
Also read: Consent Management – This is how you manage the balancing act between the bounce rate and the consent rate.
About the author: Eric Hinzpeter is Marketing Content Manager at Smarketer, the largest pure Google Ads agency in the DACH region. The company, founded in 2011, has over 180 employees and supports around 900 customers from various industries with digital growth. Smarketer is one of the most important partners of Google and Microsoft in Europe and is in close contact with both companies.