Google Shopping is a completely different experience from a normal Google Web search. Google might have made a name for itself with its free search engine, but have you ever thought about where it gets its money from?
Nothing in this world is free – at least, that’s what they say. Google Web search is free, right? Not quite. It’s paid for by advertisers – by the very people who list their products on Google Shopping and run Adwords campaigns.
How do they do it? How do they get their products listed with Google Shopping?
Getting Started with Google Shopping
The first step involves becoming intimate with Google’s products and services. Within the realm of Google Shopping, you find Product Listing Ads (PLAs), which is what you’ll be posting.
Google tries to be as fair with listings as possible. They will only charge you for your listing if someone actually clicks on the ad and is led to your store (website).
Before you go off and launch your campaigns, Google will ask three things out of you.
Your Google Account
First, you need a Google account. This gives you access to your own Gmail email account, plus it lets you log in to all of Google’s services with just one username and password. This includes your Gmail, YouTube, Google+, and more.
Your Adwords Account
Second, you need an Adwords account. It only gets easier from here once you have your Google account. Visit the Adwords page and sign in using your new Google credentials.
Your Google Merchant Center Account
Creating a Google Merchant Center Account requires a bit more information, but not much. There is a form involved, but only for the most vital information. This includes the name of your store, the store URL and contact details, such as your first name and email address.
After all, Google has to know where to send visitors who are looking for your products, right?
Create a Data Feed for Your Products
Next, you’ll need to upload a data feed for the products you want to be listed on Google Shopping. To create a robust experience, Google has a set of requirements so that its Shopping page continues to be of the highest quality.
The “feed” is basically a list of all the products in your store that you intend to sell on Google Shopping. The file can be a text file or XML format (compatible with Microsoft Excel or Apple Numbers).
This is where you’ll spend the bulk of your time before you submit anything to Google. There are plenty of identifiers you’ll need for each and every product you submit, including:
- Basic Product Information
- Availability and Price Information
- Unique Product Identifiers
- Grouping Information
Each of these four categories includes several attributes that need to be included in the file. It can become quite confusing. Google has a support page about it here, but if you really want it broken down for you, BigCommerce Support has an excellent guide that can be found here.
Your last step is to make sure that you verify your store’s website within the Merchant Center. Once that’s complete, just link this account to your Adwords account, found in Adwords Settings.
All right! That was a lot of work, but now you’re ready to create your first campaign and get your products in front of the millions of people that are looking for your wares.
Create a Campaign
The very instant that you’ve linked the two accounts together, the little red ‘Link Account” button turns into a bright green color and now says that you can ‘Create [a] Shopping Campaign.’
To begin building your first campaign, head on over to your Adwords dashboard. Look for a little red button with a ‘+’ sign in it. Hold your mouse over it as a drop-down menu decides to grace you with its presence. Choose ‘Shopping’, and follow the instructions Google lays out for you on your screen.
From here, it’s pretty straightforward.
Once your campaign has been created, you’ll be taken back to your Adwords dashboard, where you can monitor your campaign and make changes and edits as you deem necessary.
Congratulations! Not only do you have your products listed in Google Shopping, but you’ve created and launched your first campaign!
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I'm the Director of Digital Services and Partner at Ballantine, a family-owned and operated direct mail & digital marketing company based in New Jersey. and started in 1966 by my great uncle!