Anyone who searches for a product on Google will see small inserts at the top of the results, with photos and prices. These inserts come from the service offered by the most famous search engine: Google Shopping. They show similar products sold by different sites.
Google Shopping itself is not an online store, but rather an advertising opportunity. Website owners can use it to get higher positions and click-through rate. Technically, Google Shopping is administered directly from AdWords, with the difference that no specific images or advertising text are integrated manually. The data is standardized and sent from data streams. This data forms the basis of the product offers, in which the product image, price, shipping costs and seller's name are displayed.
The business model is CPC (cost per click). This means that the site owner can set the value of a click for a given keyword himself. These CPCs are then auctioned. The principle is very simple: the higher the bid, the better the position in the search results.
The most obvious advantage of this system is that it fills the first position of Google. No e-commerce player can avoid this behemoth. Most users go to Google first and then type a keyword into the search bar. A majority of them use the Google Shopping tab first. In fact, over time, it has become just as important as the tabs for images, maps and videos.
With Shopping, Google becomes a marketplace that provides unparalleled visibility and site owners understand this! In addition, users trust Google. Therefore, all the results that appear at the top of the pages are considered trustworthy. That's why Google Shopping has the highest conversion rate of any web marketing tool.
For all online businesses in a highly competitive market, Google Shopping has become vital today, which is not necessarily the case for niche products. Indeed, if there are too few competitors, ads are often not of great interest and it is better to invest in website optimization which remains a more useful and sustainable alternative.
You can have many products in the first position without paying anything. Indeed, if one of the products of your online store is placed in a list of search results, you will only pay when the user actually clicks on the link. This click takes the potential buyer directly to the online store. This is where Google Shopping's role in the sales process ends.
The costs associated with Google Shopping depend mainly on your competitors. Nevertheless, it is estimated that the cost is between 10 and 15% of the order value. To reach a good conversion rate, the presentation of the product must be carefully done. It is important to keep in mind that users do not base their purchase decision on price alone, but on an overall impression of the site they are on.
To start a Google Shopping campaign, you need to register with the Merchant Center. All you need is a Google Ads (formerly Adwords) account. The registration to the Merchant Center is done on merchants.google.com.Once you have confirmed the URL of your website, the Merchant Center must be linked to your Google Ads account. Your product data is then made available to Google (note that these feeds can be used for other levers like affiliate marketing).
After generating and uploading these feeds, Shopping campaigns can be created in Google Ads at will. For first time advertisers, we recommend setting up a few test feeds first using the dedicated function in the Merchant Center that allows you to not publish them.
To optimize your Google Shopping campaigns and achieve high conversion rates without skyrocketing your CPCs, you need to get familiar with the process. Just like with Adwords, in the battle for the top position in the paid results, the CPC is not the only determining factor. Google also evaluates the quality and completeness of individual data, such as product images.
Advertisers using Google Shopping must therefore make a special effort to optimize all data in the product feeds. For example, they can work on:
The title, which should not exceed 70 characters, much like for SEO.
The image format (preferably JPG, GIF, BMP, PNG or TIF formats).
The product's news (current price for example).
The correct URL for the product.
Tip: In the Google Merchant Center on the support page, you will find all the requirements clearly stated. If you follow all of Google's guidelines, you should have every chance of appearing at the top of the page.
Any online store owner who has a fierce competition will have to integrate Google Shopping into their web marketing strategy. Opening a Merchant Center account is free, so there's really no reason not to get started. Creating feeds is pretty simple and quick and can allow you to reach a much wider target than if you relied solely on organic results.