How does Google promote new products

Create Google Shopping Feed yourself & achieve more conversions

Google Shopping campaigns - you love them and you hate them. Nevertheless, they are useful for everyone who runs an online shop and wants to sell their products via Google search. Unlike normal search network campaigns, you don't have to write creative advertisements here, but create a product feed with all the necessary information about the product. Before you can create a shopping feed, you first have to create a merchant center for the customer. You also need a current Google Ads account that is linked to this Merchant Center.

Step 1: Create a Google Ads account

If you already have a Google Account with admin rights, you can simply log in and then create a new Merchant Center:

Open the page https://merchants.google.com/

If not, you have to create a Google Ads account in the first step. Unlike a few years ago, you can now access several Merchant Centers with one email address. Nevertheless, it is always advisable to use a general login address that every employee has access to. If you are a customer advisor, you can simply add a "+ sample customer" to your normal e-mail address and use it to create the account. Thus, all mails end up in the normal mailbox, since everything from the "+" is ignored by most mail servers.

Example: [email protected] (These so-called "Plus Email Addresses" are supported by most email servers, but you should test them beforehand.)

Next you have to agree to the privacy policy and the terms of use.

Fortunately, the account no longer has to be verified with a mobile phone number, but with the address of the Gmail account.

 

Step 2: Set up a Google Merchant account

After successfully logging into the new Merchant Center account, it is now time to set up. It is important to indicate the correct location of the company, as not all countries have the same requirements for shopping campaigns. You must provide the following company information: shop name, website, business address, primary users, secondary users, (optional) customer service contact. Once you have entered all the required information, you agree to the terms of use once again.

After claiming your website URL, you will be redirected to the Merchant Center Interface. "Claim" in this context means that you have the authorization to upload the product data for the specified URL.

Important: If articles from different domains are to be advertised, an account of the type multi-customer account must be created.

Step 3: Confirm ownership of the claimed URL

In order to avoid that the website is misused by others for advertising purposes, one must confirm the ownership of the claimed URL. There are several methods for doing this.

a. HTML file upload

Download the file provided by Google and upload it to your own server. This file will be made available for download from the Merchant Center if you select the HTML upload option.

b. Implement HTML tag

Add a meta tag provided by Google to the homepage. The tag is provided when you are in the Merchant Center and select one of the four methods.

c. Google Analytics

The prerequisite for this is the role of administrator in the customer's Analytics account. If so, the asynchronous analytics code can be implemented on the page to confirm ownership of the website URL.

d. Google Tag Manager

The prerequisite for this is the authorization at account level in Tag Manager "View, edit and manage". The container snippet from Tag Manager can then be implemented on the website and the associated container ID can be used for confirmation.

Even if you are not familiar with these terms, it is relatively easy to confirm ownership even as a beginner. Most shop systems are self-explanatory, if necessary simply call the support of the relevant shop and ask where you can insert the file (Google provides this for download) or the tag. Usually this is done by the customer's programmers or technicians. If not, you only need the login to the backend of the shop. For customers with programmers or technicians, methods a and b are recommended. For customers without their own programmers or technicians in-house, methods c and d are more suitable, since you don't have to access the backend of the page here.

You can find detailed instructions for the methods here: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/176793

Step 4: Link and set up accounts

In order for the Google Ads account to be able to pull the relevant shopping feed from the Merchant Center, you have to link the account to the Merchant Center account. To do this, go to the “Account Linking” menu item in the top right corner using the three points. If you already have an Ads account, select "Link Account", if not, create a new one under "Create Account". In the new interface you can also link Display & Video 360 accounts and Google My Business profiles. The latter plays a role if you want to create campaigns with local product availability.

 

Additional users can be added to the Merchant Center using the three menu items at the top right. Always pay attention to the access level so that all users only have the rights in the account that they really need. If you want to change the language of the user interface, you can do this via the item "Account Settings". The item "Automatic item updates" should always be activated so that Google can automatically adjust the price and availability of the products. Because often there is the problem that the feed is not updated to the minute and thus prevents products from being advertised via shopping that are not available at all.

The item "Preferences" leads you to the settings for your email address. Here you can decide whether you want tips, best practice recommendations or notifications about products from

Want to receive Google by mail.

Step 5: Pull the product feed

Many customers do not know that a product feed actually exists in every online shop.

So you only need access to the backend of the shop and you will usually find an option in the Products area to export the products active in the shop as a file. In many shop systems there is now the option to link Google accounts directly and thus provide product data optimized for Google. Most of the time, this file is in a format that is a bit confusing as there are no clear boundaries (CSV). Here Excel offers the option to convert the file. To do this, go to the “Data” menu item in Excel. Select the column with the product data and then select "Text in columns". Now a small window opens where you have to select "Separated". In the next step you define the characters that should be used to separate your product data. Usually these are "commas" or "tabs". Since there is a preview of the new display, you can just try it out a bit here. Now click on "Finish" and you have a clear feed in which you can see which attributes the products currently have.

In this format you can make adjustments to the feed more easily, of course only if you have a manageable number of products. In addition, you will understand a little better how a product feed is structured and what attributes it consists of. The format must of course be adjusted again for the upload to the Merchant Center.

Step 6: Get the feed

In the Merchant Center you now have to click on the "Products / Articles" tab in the menu on the left. Then go to the menu item "Feeds" on the right and the big blue plus.

First you have to select the country from which the products are sold and the language. "Shopping Ads" should always be checked.

Now it goes to the retrieval method. First, of course, you have to give the feed a name, e.g. Google Shopping Product Feed. After that, you have to choose one of the four methods you want to use to get the feed. Common file formats are txt. Files, tab-delimited files, or XML files.

1: Google Sheets

The advantage of this method is the speed with which data can be uploaded and updated in the Merchant Center. There are add-ons and templates with which the feed can be created quickly and easily. The Google Merchant Center add-on creates a feed based on the website data via schema.org. You can either create a feed from a new table template or select an existing one.

2: Scheduled call

Here you set a scheduled automatic retrieval for a feed that is already registered in the account. The storage location of the feed is defined using the URL at which it is saved. The URL can begin with "http, https, ftp or sftp". However, the feed must not be larger than 4GB. Therefore, this method is more suitable for smaller feeds. To access the SFTP server, you need a username and password to log in.

3: Manual upload

The first time, it can take up to 3 days for the data from the feed to be verified. This method works by manually uploading a feed, which, however, has to be smaller than 4GB, otherwise it has to be split into several smaller files. There are 4 upload methods that you can use, just like with the scheduled retrieval:

  • Direct file upload - if you have the feed file on your computer
  • FTP upload via an FTP server - which is mostly used for large product feeds. For the FTP upload you need the login to the customer's server.
  • SFTP upload - similar to the FTP upload, it is a bit more secure and suitable for large quantities of products.
  • Planned retrieval (see above)
  • Google Cloud Storage - Feed Upload via Google Cloud
  • Content API - Upload by linking your store using an API interface. This option is not suitable for beginners and should only be used if you are familiar with the API.

4: Content API

This option should only be used by experienced users. Since product data is automatically sent to Shopping via an API interface and updated.

The feed is now being checked, which can always take a few days. The first upload can even take up to three working days. You can see the status of the feed in the exit area. Here you will find a list of all uploaded products under “Lists” and whether they are suitable for display on Google Shopping or in display ads. Under the tab "Diagnostics" you can see the status of the uploaded feed.

7th step: edit the feed

The test feed template has now been created and is visible under the “Feeds” menu item. If you select the feed, there is the option to "edit the feed" in the top left. You will then be redirected to the Google Sheets page and find yourself in the feed template generated by Google.

 

It is easiest if you have already downloaded the product feed from your webshop. The fields "ID", "Title", "Price", "Link" and "Brand" are usually already available in the exported product feed. So here only the contents of the corresponding columns have to be transferred to the Google Feed. Each row in the table now corresponds to a product.

The Google product categories, which you have to specify separately, are important. An overview can be found at: http://www.google.com/basepages/producttype/taxonomy.de-DE.txt

Here you just look for the right category and copy it into the column "Google Product Categories" (just create a column). You can now add further columns to the feed, for example if you have special offers for the Christmas season or have products in different versions, etc. The fields that you see in the generated feed from the start are the most important for us for the time being (depending on which product is advertised, there are various criteria that the feed must or must not contain).

The "Price" field contains the gross price with the corresponding currency designation (e.g. EUR and not €).

Once you have filled out everything, you go back to the Merchant Center and click on "Get now" so that the feed or any updates made are checked and loaded into the Merchant Center account, as this does not happen automatically. Google quickly recognizes possible errors or missing product information, which is explained in detail. You can see the product, the line that the product has in the feed and the corresponding error or how to correct it.

A detailed description of the various product specifications can be found here: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/188494?hl=de

The columns "Condition": new / used and "Availability": in stock / available / not available are important, as the feed is only accepted if these fields are filled out. For example, if you indicate that a product is in stock even though that is not the case, the account will be blocked.

After every change made in the feed, you have to click on "Retrieve now". If everything fits, you can upload the test feed as a normal product feed. Don't be surprised, it can take 1-2 working days for Google to check the feed.

 

You can check the status in the Merchant Center under “Products”.

In the “Status” column you can see either a green tick (products accepted), a red circle (products defective) or two arrows that rotate in a circle (products are still being checked). Under diagnosis you can also see how many products are active or have been rejected and the reasons for the rejection.

It's actually quite simple, so don't be put off and try until it works. The next time it will be very easy.

Once the shopping feed has been created, it is very easy to set up a shopping campaign in the ads interface. After you have created a new one, you just have to select the appropriate dealer account in the settings and Ads will pull the corresponding product data from the created feed. Do not be surprised if the shopping campaign does not start immediately, as it always takes one to two working days to review. It is also important to write an advertisement for the products. If all products can be seen actively in the account, you can now split the entire assortment further and further under the item "Products" in the account: first by category, then by product type, then by brand, manufacturer up to the product ID. The more granular you do this, the easier it is to subsequently increase or decrease the CPCs for products. So if you have been waiting a long time for the shopping feed to be implemented by third parties, you should just try it yourself. It is really not difficult!

Step 8: Merchant Center Programs

One new area that is unfortunately often overlooked is the Merchant Center programs. You can get to these via the three menu items at the top right.

If you forgot to activate shopping in the previous step, you can do so with the first tile. Simply click on "activate". Next, you should activate dynamic remarketing for smart shopping or display campaigns. You can also see later on the start page of the Merchant Center whether products are being displayed in the feed for dynamic remarketing. The Customer Reviews tile integrates customer reviews on the website. These are displayed in shopping ads by means of a star badge. The Local Inventory Ads take you step by step to your first campaign with locally available products, which are important for display on Google Maps, among other things.

With the option Merchant Promotions you can display special promotions or certain discounts in the articles of the shopping ads. This can be discounts, codes or free shipping. The nice thing is that you can create these offers directly in the Merchant Center without much effort. As the last tile there is the option Product Reviews, you also have to register for this program. And achieve a certain number of 5 star ratings on corresponding portals in order to have these stars appear next to product ads. Here, too, Google first checks whether all requirements are met. Only then do the ratings appear as yellow stars in the ads.

It's actually quite simple, so don't be put off and try until it works. The next time it will be very easy.

9th step: set up the campaign

Once the shopping feed has been created, setting up a shopping campaign is very easy. You simply click on the big plus in the Ads account and create a campaign of the type Shopping. In the next step you simply select the feed that you want to use for your product campaign. Do not be surprised if the shopping campaign does not start immediately, as it always takes one to two working days to review.If all products can be actively seen in the account, you can now split the entire assortment further and further under the item "Products" in the account: for example, by category, then by product type, then by brand, manufacturer to the product ID . The more granular you do this, the better you can adjust and optimize the bids for products afterwards.

So if you have been waiting a long time for the shopping feed to be implemented by third parties, you should just try it yourself. It's really not difficult. If you don't have a feed, the shop provider's support will ask where you can download it. Nowadays almost all shops have their own interfaces for Google Shopping, which make the whole thing even easier. If you have any questions or problems, your agencies or Google support can help.

A complete guide to getting started can be found at this link: https: //support.google.com/merchants/answer/188495

For all Bing fans: If you already run Google Shopping Ads, creating Bing Shopping is very easy. You can now import everything from Google's Merchant Center.

Laura is a consultant paid media. She looks after & advises customers and implements advertising measures. Books, creative communication and meaningful advertising are a must for them. Outside of agency life, she deals a lot with home improvement projects, cooking and baking, and music.