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Google Shopping: The step-by-step guide

Online shopping is a multibillion-dollar industry. The market size in 2019 was 3.53 trillion US dollars, and it is predicted to reach 6.54 trillion in 2022. This shows that online shopping is becoming a popular activity worldwide. One reason it is getting popular is that businesses are adding new services for online shoppers to provide an enjoyable online shopping experience similar to the one they get in offline shopping. One of these businesses is Google.

Google created Google Shopping, formerly known as Google Product Search, Google Products, and Froogle in 2002, to help people buy conveniently online. Although Google Shopping is not an online marketplace, it offers services similar to them. It helps users to find the product they want and point them to where to get it.

In this comprehensive Google shopping guide, you will learn all about Google Shopping.

What is Google Shopping?

How does Google Shopping work?

Why use Google Shopping?

How to sell on Google Shopping?

Google Smart Shopping

Google Local Shopping

The relationship between Google Shopping ads and the Google Merchant Center

How to optimize Google Shopping for business


What is Google Shopping?

Google Shopping is a Google service created to help users research products, read information about the product prices and features, and compare prices between different retailers who are advertising their products, and then connect with the right retailer to make purchases.  It is known to be the most popular comparison shopping engine. For example, if someone searches for a product you are advertising on Google, it will show the ads for the products along with your competitors’. If the user clicks on your product ads, they will be directed to your product page instantly. Currently, it is supported in over 40 countries of the world.

How does Google Shopping work?

Google Shopping work through an algorithm that processes a file known as product feed. Online retailers submit the product feed to Google. The file contains all the store’s product details such as the product titles, descriptions, images, and price. Google matches the product details with users’ search queries to create ads. The users will see shopping ads specific to their search queries displayed, showing the product image, price, description, etc. If the user finds it relevant, they will click on the ads and be directed to the website or store.

Since the product details come from retailers, Google can show current prices and availability of the product.

For example, if you sell basketball shoes and someone types it in on Google. Google will show them different basketball shoes from different retailers as shown below.

Google shopping

If the person clicks on your ads, then they will be directed to your online store to either make purchases or check for more products.

Why Use Google Shopping?

1.   Google Shopping has 30% higher conversion rates than text ads.

This means using Google Shopping to sell your product will increase your conversion rates.

2.   Google Shopping Improves product visibility

With the help of Google Shopping ads, you can advertise your products on Google search Display network, Gmail, and YouTube. This gives your product more visibility that can lead to more engagements and conversions.

3.   Google Shopping improves the shopping experience with the added visually enticing product images rather than the usual text-heavy ads.

The visual ads grab attention faster than the text because users can see what they want to buy in pictures. So, when they see the images, they are enticed to click on the ads to go to the website. Because it appeals more to users, it wins 85.3% of all clicks.

4.   Google Shopping brings in users with a stronger intent to buy.

A user who searches for your product on Google and sees your Google ads already sees your product image, reads the product description and knows the cost of the product. If such a user clicks through to your website, they will probably make purchases. At Leadsbridge, we are creating integrations for Google Shopping. You can join the waiting list here.

5.   Google Shopping simplifies product management.

Google Shopping contains products from different retailers. However, you don’t need to add product images, information, and pricing manually, because it supports integrations with other eCommerce platforms such as Magento, Shopify, and Woocommerce.

How to sell on Google Shopping

Selling on Google shopping involves learning how to set up Google shopping. There are seven different steps you need to follow to sell on the Google Shopping platform. They are:

  1. Set up a Google merchant center account

  2. Create excellent and attractive product images

  3. Add your product data feed

  4. Link your Google AdWords account to the Merchant Centre

  5. Set up a Google Shopping Campaign

  6. Put bids on the Google Shopping Campaign

  7. Create product groups for your campaign

Step 1. Set up a Google Merchant Center account

The first step you need to take to sell on the Google Shopping platform is to set up a Google Merchant Center account. To do this, you need a Google account such as Gmail. If you don’t have one, quickly create it and click here to go to the Google Merchant Center.

Google merchant centre 1

a.         Fill in your business information. This includes your Business name, business country, and the time zone.

Google shopping

b.         Select where you want your customers to check out

Google provides different checkout options such as on your website, on Google, and at your local store. You will need to select the appropriate one for your customers.

Google shopping

c.          Select the management platform

Choose the tools you work with in your business. Google allows you to link to these tools from your Google Merchant account.

Google shopping

d.         Select your email preferences

Choose whether you want to receive emails about updates from Google. You can always opt-out anytime you want.

Google shopping

e.         Read and accept the terms of service

The last step is to read and accept the terms of service. Once you are done, the Google Merchant Center account is ready.

Step 2. Create excellent and attractive product images

What attracts users to Google Shopping ads are the product images. They need to be of excellent quality because they are the major part of the listing that is shown to prospects. Moreover, Google will deny your campaigns if your images are of low quality. To help you create high-quality images for Google Shopping, Google provides recommendations and shown below:

Google shopping

Step 3: Add your product data feed

Now that you have created your Google Merchant Center account and optimized your images, it is time to upload your product data feed. The data feed file contains all details about your products presented in a spreadsheet. With this, you can create a Google Shopping product feed that helps Google to search and show your products to people who use specific product terms for the search.

To create the Google shopping feed:

a.    Go to the Google Merchant Center account and click on Products and then feeds, then click on “+” icon as shown below.

Google shopping

b.         Input your country and language, name your product feed, and select how you will upload your product data.

Google shopping

There are four different ways to upload your product feed. You can use Google sheets, scheduled fetch, upload from your computer, and Content API.  If you choose the Google sheets, Google Merchant Center provides a template you can use. Check it out here.

Now that your product data is uploaded to the Google Merchant Centre, it is time to link your Google AdWords account. To do this, click on the vertical dots inside the Google Merchant Center and click on account linking to input your customer ID. If you don’t have a Google AdWords account, you can create one.

Step 5. Set up a Google Shopping Campaign

After linking your Google AdWords account with the Google Merchant Centre, the next line of action is to set up your Google Shopping ads campaign. Here, you need to create Google Ads to enable you to advertise your product. Google has made it free for you to advertise your products on Google Shopping. You can do this in two ways, either use the Google Merchant Centre or the Google Ads. Here, we will use Google Ads to create the campaign.

How to use Google Ads to create a Google Shopping campaign

a.         Log in to your Google Ads

b.         Click on the new campaign as shown below

Google shopping

c.          Select a campaign goal. It can be sales, leads, or website traffic. Here, we will choose the sales goal to drive product sales.

Google shopping

d.         Select Shopping and click on continue. Ensure your Google Merchant Center account detail is shown on the page.

Google shopping

e.         Next, select a campaign subtype. There are two types of campaigns you can create here. They are the Smart shopping campaigns and the standard shopping campaign.

Google shopping

Select the appropriate one for your campaign and click on continue.

When you are done, adjust the settings of your campaign. Input a name for your campaign, set inventory filter enable local inventory ads, and alter your campaign URL as you want.

f.          Select a bidding strategy for the Google Shopping Campaign

The next step is to choose a bidding strategy for your campaign. This involves choosing an appropriate budget. There are two types of bidding – the manual CPC and the automated bid. With the manual CPC, you can set your own CPC for your ads, while with an automated bid, Google helps you to choose the best conversion rates for your products.

Select the campaign budget to specify the amount you want to spend on the ad. Then select the delivery method – standard, which spreads your budget over time. The accelerated option spend your budget faster.

Google shopping

The next thing to do is to target and schedule your shopping campaign. Choose the right location for your ad. Then schedule your ads by choosing the start and ends dates.

Step 6. Create product groups for your campaign

The last step in selling your product on Google Shopping is to create groups for your campaign. The ad group shows the ads you want to run and how to set up the bidding for the ads. There are two options here – the product shopping or showcase shopping ad groups.

Google shopping

The product shopping ads promote a single product while the showcase shopping ads promote different products in an ad. Select the appropriate option for your products.

When you are done, click on save and your campaign will be submitted. You can now start selling on Google Shopping.

The relationship between Google Shopping ads and the Google merchant center

The Google Merchant Centre was launched by Google in 2009. It is created to help businesses keep their store information in one place. This ensures you have everything you need to advertise with Google PLAs or Remarketing product Ads. The Google Merchant Centre contains information about your business, customer reviews of your business, products in your store, product ratings, tax information, etc

Google Shopping Ads on the other hand is created on Google Ads. This enables your products to show up as Google Shopping Ads on Google search result pages. It is almost impossible to use the Google Merchant Center without the Google Ads account. Also, you can’t create the Google Shopping ads without having a Google Merchant Center account. This is because your product information lives on Google Merchant Center. So, you will need to link the Google Merchant Center with your Google Ads account to be able to create Google Shopping ads. They are both interrelated. Leadsbridge is developing integrations for the Google merchant center. Be the first to know about it by getting on the waiting list.

Google Smart Shopping

Google Smart shopping is a new type of campaign on Google Ads. It makes it easy to advertise products on Google ads through the use of automated bidding and ad placement. A Google smart shopping campaign shows both the product shopping ads and display ads, which can be displayed on the Google search network, display network, YouTube and Gmail.

smart campaigns

 Source: Google

Google Smart shopping is suitable for new business owners who do not have enough money or time to invest in advanced ads strategy. It helps you to test different combinations of your ad texts and images and shows the most relevant ads automatically. Google automates ad placement and bidding for every ad in your smart shopping campaigns, helping you to bid for maximum conversion value at your budget. It is easy to integrate your Google Smart Shopping campaigns into a third-party app such as the Shopify platform for effortless marketing and tracking.

Google smart shopping campaign is available for any business owner with a merchant center feed and you can create up to 100 shopping campaigns in your Google Ads account.

Google Local Shopping

The Google Local Shopping is also known as Local Inventory Ads displays your products and store details to nearby shoppers searching on Google. When a shopper clicks on your product ad on Google, it takes them to a Google-hosted page designed for your store. Shoppers that land on this page can see details about your product, opening hours, locations, etc.

Google local

Source: Local inventory ads overview – Google Merchant Center Help

Google local shopping helps to showcase your in-store inventory to shoppers. It brings your local store online with the aid of the Google-hosted page also known as the local storefront. With it, you can also measure the effectiveness of your ads on online and offline sales.

How to optimize Google Shopping for business

There is an increased demand for online shopping in recent times and you need to take advantage of it by optimizing your Google Shopping. This will enable you to win more customers and build a strong business presence. Below are 5 ways you can optimize Google Shopping for business.

1. Have a clear-cut objective for your shopping campaigns

Know what you want to achieve with your shopping campaign. There are different goals such as sales, traffic, leads, brand awareness, and reach. Choose the right goal for your business.

2. Optimize your shopping ads bid

The second way to optimize your Google shopping for a business is to optimize your bid to get the max CPCs to receive more clicks. But ensure it is not high to the point of limiting your profitability. Raise your CPC to get more targeted traffic to your store and to get more sales when your sales volume is rising.

3. Choose the right campaign subtype

Smart shopping has the best for performance and reach. It combines both the standard shopping display and remarketing campaigns to help you reach more prospects. Also with it, you can optimize your bids, audiences, and products to achieve your marketing goals. However, if you cannot meet the requirements of a smart shopping campaign, use the standard shopping campaign, but ensure you optimize it for better performance. This includes using the right bidding strategy that will help to show your product for the right search terms.

4. Create an effective Google Shopping campaign structure.

Campaign structure shows how many campaigns you have, the products you are promoting in each of them, the number of ad groups you have, etc. Improving the campaign structure helps you to bid on products and search terms profitable to your business. It will help you know how to organize your product details to match your goals. An effective campaign structure also includes a team with clearly defined goals and duties. If you have a team that works in different shifts, ensure that you use scheduling software to allot and track work for the campaign.


Above is the Google shopping guide for your business. Google shopping is one of the best ways to get your products in front of the right audience. People can see your product image, read the description, and click on your store to check it out. This helps to increase conversion rates (30% higher than text ads) tremendously.

Google shopping also helps to boost website traffic, increase leads, and sales revenue. Learn how to set up Google Shopping for your business by following the steps above and optimizing your campaigns for better performance. If you don’t have your products on Google Shopping, it is time to start.

Join the integration waiting lists of Google shopping and Google merchant shopping center.

Download now the complete guide to Online Ads Cost in 2021

Hephzy Asaolu

Hephzy is a seasoned Content Writer with over 10 years of experience. She creates digital marketing content that gains social media attention and increases search engine visibility. She loves cooking!

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