Google Shopping 101: How to Set Up Your First Google Shopping Campaign

What are Shopping Feeds?

Google Shopping ads are a great exciting way to showcase your products and increase traffic to your site, providing merchants an opportunity to appear on search result pages based on their product data. In the traditional text ad, ad auctions determine which ad appears based on who is bidding what bid on keywords that search query is relevant towards. With product listing ads in your very own Google Shopping Campaign, a merchant is able to gain more visual real estate that directly links to whatever you are advertising. If you’re interested in learning how to create a campaign and get users shopping, read on!

So what exactly are shopping ads like? Check out this example for the search query, “clothes for dogs” as an example:


On the right-hand side of this search engine results page are shopping ads, highlighted here in red. Each contains a picture of the product being advertised as well as its title, price, and store URL. It is also possible to provide further information, such as return policy or product reviews. Being able to provide specific product information is the biggest strength of Shopping campaigns, as shoppers who click on these ads are highly interested in purchasing.

Shopping ads also have their very own special tab on a search result page. Clicking on this tab allows users are able to see even more results, which can be further filtered by things like price, category, or brand.


Getting Started

So, how do these types of campaigns get created? To start off, you need to make sure that you have uploaded your inventory into the Google Merchant Center in what’s called a data feed file. Volusion offers a Merchant Center integration to help, but you’re also able to look into creating a feed manually, or use a third party solution. The information that you provide in your shopping feed must be thorough and align with Google’s product data specifications, and general shopping policies as well. Product data is vital in Google’s determination of which search queries are relevant to which products. At initial upload, Google may take a few days to crawl through your feed and either approve or disapprove your products. The Merchant Center is a great way to view any issues with your product information at a glance and further address product information that is currently missing and could assist in the categorization of your product on the shopping network.


After you have successfully set up your shopping feed with the Merchant Center, you can get started setting up your Google Shopping Campaign in AdWords!

AdWords Setup

First, you will need to create a new campaign. To do this, find the “Campaigns” tab on your AdWords interface. Select “Shopping” from the red highlighted campaigns dropdown.


The next page you are taken to is a two step setup process for your feed campaign and ad groups. After choosing a name, you are given the option to start fresh with a new campaign or reference your settings based on an existing campaign. You will also see a “Merchant identifier” dropdown with your chosen “Country of sale”. Keep in mind that if you have yet to link your Google Merchant Center with your AdWords account, this portion will be highlighted out with information on how to sync up your two accounts.


Right underneath your Merchant Center information is an advanced shopping settings portion, where you can set a campaign priority or create custom inventory filters if you would like to omit certain items from the campaign.

In the next portion, specify where you want your ads to show. Networks will automatically include the Google Search Network. However, you can choose to include your ads on partners of Google which allows your shopping ads to appear on other sites. The next portion where you have some leeway in is your “Location” settings. Choose locations where you are selling your products in order to keep your ad spend from being wasted in regions where your products are not available for purchase. For more advanced targeting, use location advanced settings and target or exclude based on their location.

Setting a Budget and Bids

Next, it’s time to set bids. Remember, you will pay every time someone clicks on one of your Shopping ads, so set bids and a budget that will help you reach your business goals. First, pick a strategy. Google offers a variety of automated bidding strategies, as well as manual bidding if you're able to devote the time for a more hands-on approach.


Then chose your default bid. What is the highest amount you're willing to pay for a click on your ad? This is what Google will rely on for each cost-per-click of an ad unless otherwise specified, so be sure to pick a bid that is reasonable for the product you are selling. It's important to note that Google uses this bid as a ceiling, meaning that you will not always be charged the amount you set. Rather, each time a user searches Google for something related to your items, your site enters an auction of sorts. Depending on competition and how relevant your products to the term being searched, you may pay significantly less than your bid.

Choosing your daily budget brings has some similar concerns. Setting a maximum amount you're willing to spend each day means that if you reach that threshold, your ads will effectively be "turned off" for the rest of the day. You want your ads to have that potential facetime with the user, but you also have to keep your business model and goals in mind. After accumulating some data once your shopping campaign has run for a period of time, both the default bid and budget can be adjusted. Other additional settings in your campaign include implementing an ad schedule to only have your products advertised during specific set times of day, or campaign URL tracking template options. Both of these can be determined later in the life of this campaign and can be used as helpful optimization tools.

Creating an Ad Group

Step two of Google’s setup process consists of creating your ad group. After choosing a name, you are able to designate how you want your ad group to start out. You can either start with one product group with a single bid for all products, or divide your products into groups. Subdividing within the products on your product feed can help to optimize bid strategies across categories, brands, or another label, or even organize in how you are viewing your accumulated data in AdWords. With only one product group, the progress of your feed is either shown all together or each product individually. When first starting a campaign, merchants often choose this one product group option. This is helpful while your campaign generates some raw data in the first weeks as Google crawls your feed and site, your products begin to develop impressions and clicks, and your site increases in traffic.


If you do decide after launching your campaign to segment out your ad group by brand, product type, category, a custom label or any other type of organization that combines related products in your feed, go to the “Product groups” tab under that ad group and click on the “+” sign next to “All products”.


From there, a window will appear. In here, you are able to pick a form of subdivision and then decide which to include in your segmentation process. In the example below, this merchant of decided to break his products up by category.


After dividing the products up by these categories, the merchant can choose to divide even further to gain a more detailed and meticulous outlook on the various metric performance of certain products.

Congratulations, you have just completed your very own Google Shopping Campaign! Woohoo! If approved by Google, your products will now appear online in a format that shows searchers a product exactly relevant to what they are looking for in a clear-cut, efficient way. Just like PPC ads, you will only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad. The Google Shopping Network provides a whole new world of search opportunities and with the continued optimization of your campaign and the upkeep of Google’s best practices, your shopping campaign is on its journey towards success!

There is a lot that Google has to offer you as a merchant. A great source is always the AdWords Help guide that can further breakdown some important definitions and features of AdWords. If you would like any additional help, here at Volusion we have a team of specialized, AdWords certified professionals that are ready to create, manage, and optimize your account.