What are Shopping Ads?
Shopping Ads are special advertisements that show up at the top of Google’s search results when someone searches for a specific kind of product. These ads display a product image, its price, brand, and other information that might be important for the searcher. Think of them as virtual shop windows, where retailers can showcase their online (and offline!) inventory.
How are Shopping Ads different from Google Search Ads?
Shopping Ads and Google Search Ads differ in several key aspects:
More than one advertisement per advertiser
In regular Search Ads, each advertiser can only show one ad because it can only be triggered by one website. However, with Shopping Ads, a search query (e.g. “white sneakers size 40”) can be matched with multiple products from either a shop or a Comparison Shopping Service (CSS). As the query matches with different items, the shopper gets to see various different products in response, also coming from the same advertiser.
Triggered by more specific queries
When people are only researching, they tend to enter generic and broad queries such as “plush toy.” These types of searches typically generate results from regular Search Ads. However, as shoppers become more specific in their searches (“Mandalorian baby Yoda plush toy 28cm reduziert”), they are more likely to see Shopping Ads.
Feed attributes not keywords
Search Ads are displayed in response to search queries that contain specific keywords. That’s why the process of setting up those ads involves identifying keywords, grouping them, creating a text ad for the keyword group, and triggering the ad when a user searches using those keywords.
In the case of Shopping Ads, the search query information is matched with the product details coming from the feeds of different shops or CSSs. The product title, brand, price, and images stored in a feed are used as keywords and then used to create an ad that is shown to the user in response to their query. That’s why Shopping Ads rely heavily on the product feed and its attributes to deliver relevant ads to potential customers.
What do I need to start running Shopping Ads campaigns?
To run Shopping Ads, you need the following:
- a Merchant Center Account, where you upload all the information required for running Shopping Ads
- a product feed, that is: a structured spreadsheet containing all the information related to your products, such as descriptions, prices, and images
- a Google Ads Account, where you create and manage your Shopping Ads campaigns
- a collaboration with a Comparison Shopping Service (CSS)
Why do I need a CSS partner and where do I find one?
Since 2017, retailers are required to be represented by a CSS partner when running Shopping Ads. You can choose from various CSS options based on your specific needs and preferences. Google provides a database of partner CSSs, making it easy to find the right partner for each business.
All of this may seem like a lot, which might leave you wondering…
Are Shopping Ads worth it?
Shopping Ads can be an incredibly effective way to catch the attention of internet users and influence their buying choices. According to Google’s own data, 52% of internet users depend on the search engine to explore products they’ve seen or discover new brands and 63% use Google to research products they plan to buy later. The fact that the ads appear at the top of Google’s search results ensures maximum product visibility. And because they show up in response to specific search queries, they reach users who are close to making a purchase decision. In other words, these ads target users who already know what they want. This relevance guarantees a high return on investment (ROI).
Why aren’t my Shopping Ads showing?
And yet, Shopping Ads seem to not always work for retailers the way they would expect them to. This is because, in a competitive online advertising landscape, it’s difficult to achieve the best results without the support of real expertise in the field, equipped with the right knowledge, experience, and tools.
Ladenzeile as a premium CSS
Ladenzeile offers product comparison websites and performance marketing services. As a premium CSS partner we can count on direct support from Google, additional market insights, and tools. Our team of more than ten performance marketers is divided according to specific focuses on shopping, search, and display networks. With advanced tools, like Channable, Google Ads, or our inhouse Sales Tracking, Ladenzeile provides a comprehensive solution for managing campaigns across various channels. Our performance marketing team optimizes campaigns based on seasonality, trends, and feedback from partners and users.
How can we help you achieve your goals?
Product data integration
The first phase of our Shopping Ads cooperation is to integrate your product data. This integration happens before any traffic is acquired.
Supporting the creation of quality feeds
At Ladenzeile, we use Channable to support you in creating and managing feeds that meet requirements and ensure the best possible integration and campaign performance. This is important because the specific search query (e.g., “low white sneakers size 40”) that triggers the appearance of Shopping Ads is matched with the information inside your feed. The title of the product, brand of the product, price and images, and all the other information is gathered together, and used to display the ad itself. When the user clicks on this ad, they directly land on the landing page (via a link that is also included in the feed). Google systematically checks if the information inside your feed matches the information on your website, so if – for example – the price of a product in the feed does not match the price of the same product on your website, this item will not be approved and will not appear in the Shopping Ads at all! The same will happen if your feed is missing some product attributes that are mandatory for items to get approved.
There are also recommended attributes. They are not necessary but their presence can enhance the performance of your Shopping Ads campaign.
There are also additional attributes that are completely optional but help a lot with campaign optimization and performance.
As you can see, having comprehensive and correct information in the feed is crucial for the performance of Shopping Ads. More information about what makes a good product feed can be found in another of our articles. Read Feed to succeed to learn more.
The primary feed and supplemental feeds
Shopping Ads offer a versatile approach to product feeds, allowing for greater control and customization. Partnering with us as a CSS partner, you can be certain that we’re going to maximize the benefits of these opportunities.
There are two types of feeds we work with to set up Shopping Ads campaigns. They are:
- The primary feed
- Supplemental feeds
The primary feed serves as the foundation, encompassing all the products in your inventory. In addition to it, you can have supplemental feeds tailored to specific categories such as seasonal, discounted, or top-selling products.
These supplemental feeds can serve as temporary updates to the primary feed, accommodating time-sensitive promotions or shifts in demand. Moreover, supplemental feeds offer practical solutions for resolving disapprovals in the Google Merchandise Center, allowing us to rectify any issues and ensure compliance with Google’s feed requirements. They also provide the flexibility to exclude certain products from the primary feed, based on factors such as performance metrics, which again enables more targeted advertising.
Another valuable feature of supplemental feeds is the ability to integrate local inventory information for local inventory ads. If you have a physical store, you can share the product inventory within the store along with its address details within the same supplemental feed. This means that when users search for products in the location of your physical store, relevant results from your inventory will be automatically triggered and displayed, increasing the chances of driving foot traffic to your store.
Sales Tracking and campaign optimization
The second phase of our Shopping Ads cooperation happens after the traffic is acquired.
Reactive campaign optimization
To monitor the sales generated through the traffic we provide to our partners, we use an in-house tool known as Sales Tracking. This tool enables us to track sales exclusively attributed to the traffic we drive to your shop. Please note that the data collected through Sales Tracking does not include any personal information, such as customers’ names, emails, or phone numbers. We gather checkout information, allowing us to determine if a user who visited your website from our traffic sources completed a purchase.
With this data in hand, we can assess the performance of your campaigns based on your sales and implement various optimization strategies. These optimizations can be tailored to the best-performing products, the most effective devices, or high-sales periods throughout the day. This approach can be called reactive optimization since it relies on analyzing the data before implementing any changes.
Proactive campaign optimization
The true potential of our campaign optimization, however, is unlocked when we integrate Sales Tracking data with Google Ads. When a user initiates a search, Google can harness the potential of this integration to predict whether the search has the likelihood to result in a checkout. Analyzing factors like device, time, day, location, and search term, Google’s smart bidding algorithm can leverage this data to anticipate whether a particular search has the potential to culminate in a purchase. With the integration of this data, our optimization strategies shift from reactive to proactive, functioning not just after traffic is acquired but even before ads garner impressions.
How exactly do we utilize this data to elevate your performance?
With the data from Sales Tracking allowing us to post back the conversions to Google Ads, we have the foundation to create three distinct campaigns, each operating in a unique manner. The first campaign prioritizes driving traffic and serves as a crucial learning phase for the bidding algorithm. It runs for 2-3 days or a week. Following this, we proceed to establish the second campaign, which exclusively focuses on the checkouts occurring from the traffic the first campaign brought to your website. The data exchange between these two campaigns allows for comprehensive observation, enabling us to adjust budgets and refine bid strategies to maximize your performance in the third campaign that takes the spotlight for achieving the best possible results.
Ladenzeile, your premium CSS partner
Partner with Ladenzeile to enhance your Shopping Ads performance. With a team of experienced performance marketers and advanced tools, Ladenzeile offers seamless integration of product data, the creation of quality feeds, and effective campaign optimization. By leveraging supplemental feeds and utilizing Sales Tracking data, Ladenzeile ensures maximum visibility, precise targeting, and optimized bidding strategies.
This article has only scratched the surface of what we can offer in our cooperation. To learn more about our services and how we can help you achieve your goals, we invite you to watch a video by following the link to our Google CSS Academy talk.
No, your Shopping ads will not compete against each other if you use multiple CSS partners. Google takes measures to ensure that the same product offer from the same merchant is not shown multiple times. This means that you will never be outbid by yourself in the auction for any offer. It doesn’t matter how many CSS partners you have. Even if two CSS partners place bids on your behalf, the winning offer and price will be the same as if those bids were placed by a single CSS partner. In other words, you won’t face any penalties or disadvantages as a merchant when using multiple CSS partners.
No, working with a CSS does not cause cannibalization. Cannibalization typically refers to a situation where a customer or interaction that could have been obtained through one channel is instead obtained through another channel, which may not be as profitable. This can be observed between paid and unpaid channels, such as SEO and SEA. However, when it comes to Google Shopping, which is different from regular search-based ads, cannibalization is not a concern. Unlike text-based search ads that have limited ad space, Google Shopping provides a generous amount of space for ads, which can be effectively utilized by CSS partners you work with. Thanks to this significant volume of available ads space and the strategies we implement in collaboration with our partners, cannibalization is not a concern