Google Shopping ads are especially effective, as they allow you to display images, prices, reviews, and promotional offers in addition to simple descriptive text.
Even if you’ve never heard of Google Shopping ads, you’ve surely seen this service in action before. They’re the ads that look like this:
While text ads on Google look like this:
Both text ads and Google Shopping ads use a cost-per-click (CPC) system for payments, meaning that you’re charged every time someone clicks through to your page. It doesn’t matter if they actually end up making a purchase or if they back out before becoming a customer: whenever they click, you pay.
With Google Shopping ads, you can give people a lot of information before they click. They can see a picture of your product and determine whether or not they like the look of it. They can see the price of your product and determine whether or not it’s within their budget. And they can see the average review of your product on a five-star scale, which will help them decide whether or not they should trust that your product is as good as you say it is.
This information might lead to a Google user deciding that they do not want to purchase your product. In that case, at least they made the decision before they clicked on your ad, so it doesn’t cost you anything. If you were using a Google text ad instead, they would have had to click on your ad before they could see those details. You would’ve been charged for the click without even getting a customer in return.
Conversely, all the information contained in a Google Shopping ad might be what convinces someone to click on it. At that point, they already know a lot about your product, and they’re still interested. That means it’s highly likely that they will become a customer.
As you can see, Google Shopping ads will help you get more value out of your marketing budget. They can make your BigCommerce store more successful.
How Google Shopping Ads Work
Before we get into integrating BigCommerce with Google Shopping, let’s go over the basics of this advertising service and define some of the terms that we will use later on in this guide.
There is no “Google Shopping ads” platform. Rather, the Google Merchant Center and Google Ads platforms are used together to create Google Shopping ads.
Google Merchant Center is where you’ll create your product feed, which organizes the information about your products into the proper format for Google Ads.
Google Ads uses your product feed in Google Merchant Center to run Google Shopping ad campaigns. This is where you can create campaigns, set your daily budget, and keep track of metrics such as clicks, impressions, and conversion rate.
How to Set Up a BigCommerce Google Shopping Integration
To set up your BigCommerce Google Shopping integration:
1. The first step of this process is to verify and claim your BigCommerce store’s URL in Google Merchant Center. After logging in to your Google Merchant Center account, select “Business Information”.
2. Select “Website”.
3. You’ll see alerts informing you that your store is “Unverified” and “Unclaimed”.
4. To verify your store, go to Google Search Console and enter your URL in the “Domain” section. Then, select “Continue”.
5. Copy the TXT record.
6. Log in to your BigCommerce store and select “Server Settings”.
7. Select “Email & DNS Records”.
8. Select “Web Hosts”.
9. Select “Add another”. For the new entry:
- Select “TXT” in the “Type” column.
- Enter your store’s URL in the “Fully Qualified Host” column.
- Enter the TXT record you copied from Google Search Console in the “Value” column.
- Enter “900” in the “Time to live” column.
When you’re done, select “Save”.
10. Go back to Google Search Console and select “Verify”. You should see a confirmation that the ownership was verified.
11. Go back to Google Merchant Center and select “Claim URL”.
12. Next, you must set up a BigCommerce Google Shopping feed. Do this with a BigCommerce Google Shopping app, such as Google Shopping by Sales & Orders.
13. The last stage of this process is to connect your Google Ads account to your Google Merchant Center account.
Go back to Google Merchant Center. Click on the three vertical dots icon in the top-right corner of the screen and select “Account linking”.
14. If your Google Ads account is under the same Gmail address as your Google Merchant Center account, it will already be listed in the “Your Google Ads account” section. Select the “Link” option in the “Actions” column.
15. You’ll need to confirm the link in your Google Ads account. Log in to Google Ads, open the “Tools & Settings” menu, and select the “Linked Accounts” option in the “Setup” section.
16. Scroll down to “Google Merchant Center” and select “Details”.
17. In the “Actions” column for the pending request, select “View Details”.
18. Select “Approve”. Now that your BigCommerce, Google Merchant Center, and Google Ads accounts are linked together, you have successfully integrated Google Shopping with your BigCommerce store.
How to Start a BigCommerce Google Shopping Ad Campaign
Now that your integration is complete, let’s review how to start a Google Shopping ad campaign:
1. Log in to your Google Ads account and select “Campaigns”.
2. Click on the blue plus sign icon to create a new campaign.
3. Select “New Campaign”.
4. On this page, you’ll need to configure the following settings:
- Goal: Select the goal of your ad campaign.
- Campaign Type: Select “Shopping”.
- Merchant: Since you’ve already linked your Google Merchant Center account to your Google Ads account, your Google Merchant Center account should be automatically displayed here.
- Country: The country in which products are sold and shipped to. Note that the products in Google Merchant Center must be available in the country you choose in order for them to be included in your ad campaign.
- Campaign Subtype: Choose between a “Smart Shopping campaign” (bidding and targeting is automated) and a “Standard Shopping campaign” (bidding and targeting is set manually). In this example, we’ll be using the “Standard Shopping campaign” option.
When you’re done, select “Continue”.
5. On the next page, you’ll need to configure these settings:
- Campaign name: The name of your campaign. If you’re having trouble coming up with a name now, don’t worry - you can always change the name later.
- Bidding: Choose “Manual CPC” or one of the three automated bid strategies.
- Budget: Enter the average amount of money you want to spend on your campaign per day. Each month, Google will cap the amount that you need to pay for your campaign at the daily budget multiplied by the number of days in the month.
- Campaign priority: This setting is for when you have multiple campaigns in the same country that feature some of the same products. The “Campaign priority” will determine which campaign’s budget is used in these instances.
- Network: By default, your Google Shopping ads will appear in Google Search results and other Google sites, as well as in Youtube and Google Discover. If you’d like, you can remove some of these networks from your campaign.
- Location: Rather than targeting a whole country, you can narrow the scope of your campaign down to a specific location (you can also add multiple specific locations, such as both Florida and Georgia).
- Start and end dates: Select when your campaign starts and ends (setting an end date is optional).
When you’re done, select “Save and Continue”.
6. The next page involves setting up your ad group, and you’ll need to configure these settings:
- Ad group type: Your options are “Product Shopping” and “Showcase Shopping”. “Product Shopping” displays individual products for specific searches (such as “nike sneakers”), while “Showcase Shopping” displays a collection of products for general searches (such as “shoes”).
- Ad group name: Enter a name for the ad group (again, you can change this later).
- Bid: Set your bid for the ad group. If you chose a “Showcase Shopping” group type, the bid will be for cost-per-engagement (CPE) instead of CPC. That means you’ll be charged if someone expands your collection and spends 10 seconds or more within the ad, even if they don’t click on it (you’ll be charged if they click on it, too).
When you’re done, select “Save” to finish setting up your Google Shopping ad campaign.
Tips for Successful Google Shopping Ad Campaigns
The following tips will help you make your Google Shopping campaigns as effective as possible:
- Add keywords to your product titles. You should take a search engine optimization (SEO) approach to the titles of your products. For example, don’t just use “Nike Air Jordan” for your product title. Expand it to “Men’s Sneakers Nike Air Jordan” for more visibility. Another example: whenever you’re selling a bulk item, add “bulk” to the title.
- Use a solid, light-colored background for your product images. You’ll notice that this is a common practice for Google Shopping ads, and there’s good reason for it: the images used in these ads are relatively small, so a busy background can make it difficult to get a good look at your product.
- Submit your whole inventory to Google Merchant Center. The larger your product feed, the more likely it is that your store will be viewed by Google users (there are some exceptions to this, though: if you’re in a heavily-regulated industry such as healthcare, you may need to be careful about which products you advertise).
- Price points are always important, but they’re especially so for Google Shopping ads. Remember what these ads look like to Google users: they’re seeing the price of your products right next to the prices of your competitor’s products. You’re completely exposed. You should do whatever you can to make your prices more competitive.
- Use remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) to show your Google Shopping ads to people who’ve already been to your store. This group is much more likely to buy from you than the average Google user.
- If your online store has a brick-and-mortar counterpart, check out the Local Inventory Ads feature in Google Merchant Center. This gives you the ability to use Google Shopping to promote the inventories of your physical storefronts. Seeing that they can get what they want without paying for shipping is often enough to get people in the door.
Use Shogun To Take Visitors To The Finish Line
Google Shopping ads will help you attract visitors to your product pages, but you still need to convince them to put products in their cart and finalize their orders.
Web design plays a huge role here. You must compensate for the fact that visitors aren’t able to assess your products in person. That calls for a generous helping of high-quality images so that visitors can check out your products from all angles. Videos that show your products in action will also make visitors more confident about purchasing your products.
Social proof is another key factor for conversions. As mentioned previously, you can display the average rating of your products directly on Google Shopping ads. You should complement that average rating with long-form reviews from customers on your product pages. This gives visitors even more reason to trust your products (and you have control over which reviews are featured, so you can impress visitors with your most positive feedback).
Shogun gives you everything you need to create high-converting product pages. This page builder tool has pre-made blocks for featured images, image galleries, videos, customer reviews, and many other useful website elements. Also, with its intuitive drag-and-drop interface, creating custom product pages from scratch in Shogun is surprisingly fast and easy.
Expand Your Reach with Google Shopping Ads
Billions of searches are performed every day on Google. No matter what it is that you sell, there likely isn’t a single advertising platform that allows you to reach more people than Google.
So, take advantage of this opportunity. With Google Shopping ads, you can draw more traffic to your BigCommerce store and make many more sales.