Google ads for shopping

Google Shopping Set Up Guide For e-commerce Website Owners

Updated on November 21st, 2022 at 06:46 am

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Google shopping is a kind of robot that can do all it all for your search ads. 

No more spending hours for keyword researches or crafting clever ads. Google shopping does them all for you.

You just need to supply relevant information about products or services. Google will match the right product with the matching search queries and thus create an advertisement. This may not be 100% percent perfect but it can pave your way for further automation in the field of advertising.

This requires less ongoing effort but it is the perfect channel for all you busy ecommerce entrepreneurs.

But if you are an ecommerce brand are you are not running Google shopping campaigns for your products, and then we have the ultimate stepwise guide for you.

If you are into selling online products, you must be aware that Google Shopping is potential enough for generating huge sales for your business.

In fact, for maximum retailers, Google Shopping acts as the bread and butter, driving up to 75% of their total clicks in a year. And thus, investment in Google Shopping has been growing year after year.

What is a Google shopping ad?

Google shopping ads are often known as PLAs, that is, product listing ads. They are available to the advertisers in those countries who sell their physical products. The best part about Google Shopping is that you can showcase your products, how they look and display other details about your products and services. The searchers can see the price of your products even before they click on your website.

Google Shopping ad is like a rocket fuel for your ecommerce businesses. Google shopping ads help you in displaying your products right on the search results where the user is typing the related terms and a direct line form their queries will be provided linking to your website.

Shopping ads can convey much more information in comparison for the searchers and help them beforehand they visit your websites in comparison to what the text ads can do. The clicks provided by shopping ads are from the visitors who are more likely to buy than the users acquired from normal text ads. So, in the end, you are getting visitors who have already seen your product and know the price too.

Google Shopping ads are available in most of the countries. The shopping ads are awesome for they not only show the product, but also its price on the search results. This is best because it is not going to scare off people who might abandon the purchase when reaching at the last stage because of price and this action of the user, in turn, will bring down your ad budget costs.

These shopping ads are targeted by the products that they should show only to the people who are searching for that particular product type only or a similar product. Thus shopping ads bring huge clicks which leads to incoming of super qualified traffic.

Google Shopping ads are much effective if one looks back over the past few years in terms of spending data. Google Shopping ads have seen greater growth over the years in comparison to the regular text ads or display ads.

Keeping this in mind, it is no wonder that retailers all over have invested hugely on Google shopping. According to 2017 results, Google shopping Ad spends have seen around 20% and more growth points than the regular text ads.

This surely sounds exciting to you! But do you know how can you serve these ads? Google shopping has no capability for keyword targeting.

So your Google shopping campaigns should be powered by product feeds housed within the Google merchant centre. And for this, you need to set up an account with Google. But do not get nervous, for we are here to guide you with all the set up steps in the below sections.

What is a Google shopping campaign?

A Google Shopping campaign is a solution by Google AdWords for paid advertising which would allow you in bidding on different product based searches unlike the typical campaigns where you can bid on keywords only. While AdWords allows you to serve ads only on text-basis (text-based ads), Google Shopping campaigns on the other hand can allow you in serving ads with product name, image, pricing as well as a brief promotional text.

Why Google shopping campaigns is a must-have:

Let’s begin with freeing out of the guesswork required for your bidding strategies. An ad gets triggered by the product search made by a user and when the user would click on your ad, and then it will land him or her directly to your website’s product page. This provides you a better chance for gaining more conversions in comparison to a person landing on your website due to generic searches.

You pay Google Shopping campaigns or PLAs and then you can simply target people those who are searching for your products. Google shopping campaign ads have a sole purpose that is all about the promotion of products as well as sales of your business. It is not so much about the promotion of your website. Do remember that Google shopping campaign ads always appear right on top of the search results page, even above the organic results and the text –based ads.

Ecommerce stores as well as online retailers use Google shopping campaigns and get incredible results. There is no doubt about it. But in most cases, the average CPC (cost per click) is a fraction of the total amount paid by you for some of the competitive keywords available at Google AdWords.

So yes, you can get a bunch of things added on to your way while you are advertising via Google shopping campaigns.

Here are a few search results to help you understand better:


See these cool images of the products and the prices too underneath! Don’t you think that the ordinary text-based ads can stand nowhere against these ads? Of course, there is no chance.

See another example:

You can see yourself that these product ads are more eye-catching, capable to grab more attention, all because of the images and prices displayed.

Text-based ads have their own advantages, undoubtedly. But if one has to choose between the two, unarguably, Google shopping campaigns will win the battle for ecommerce stores.

Achieve top ranks on Google search results pages:

Google shopping ads can keep you on top of Google search results.

When a potential customer searches for a particular product, Google search results slot is the only place.

From the above image, it might have been clear to you that the product listing ads have a much more appeal in comparison to the text based ads. The image and price of the product will help all shoppers to easily identify the products at those which they want to give a close look.

This is why Google shopping is also known as the comparative shopping engine, for it can really compare various products from individual vendors.

Google Shopping set up:

Let us look how you can keep your products into top slots on the Google search results.

Getting the right product feed is the hardest part of setting up of your Google Shopping campaign. You need to provide Google with this file containing all your product information. This is sounding like a pie and we know that you are getting tempted for moving ahead. We understand it is normal but you need to save the headache and read the below section to help you with the set up of Google shopping campaign.

Preparations for setting up a Google Shopping campaign

You need a few things before you get started with Google shopping campaigns. This can make things easier for you. Google Shopping utilises the information from the backend of your online shop hence the product information must be reliable and relevant. You should have well structured product titles, right brands, and product descriptions with richness of keywords and images which will be appropriate for Google shopping. Product identifiers such as MPN, GTIN and UPC codes are also essential. These might seem useless to some of you but they are the backbone of ad platforms.

Right product feeds

You have to provide all the required information from your store and turn them into a format that can be read by Google. There can be some difficulties in doing this but it completely depends on your e-commerce platform and the quality of data combined in it. If you are a popular brand, then you are having a wide range of options that would help you in creating the product feeds.

There are various ecommerce platforms including Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce that have their respective apps, extensions and plug-ins and these are available for making your product feeds easier.

The tools you have to use will depend on your needs. The support behind the product variations is different from the abilities for creation of feeds for the other platforms as well. There are several tools to provide you help and they can be good wizards during the set up of the campaign. It also serves as a support team for setting up of the feed for your business. But if you are running a store from a lesser popular platform, then you will need to spend extra time in Excel manually and achieving all the data in the correct format. This process is pretty fast and you can connect to any of the applications to your store and then it will be published in the Google Merchant Center.

Manage your products

After creation of the product feed, you need to connect it with Google Merchant Center, that is a free tool by Google for managing your product feeds and troubleshoot any error.

While connecting your product feed to the Google Merchant Center, you start facing troubles and experience a lot of errors after processing of your feed. These warnings or errors are relatable to the missing and incorrect information or in case you have provided the right information but in the wrong format.

Most of these errors or warnings can be fixed easily but there might be some which would require you to look up and if needed, you have to add product identifiers to each one of your products. This, however, can be very much time consuming.

Making bulk changes in your product feed includes addition of product categories and for this you may use Feeds Rules in Merchant Center. You can use software like data feed management tools.

Before you proceed further, errors in your Google shopping feed should be fixed. You can gain better visibility while doing this.

Creation of Google Shopping campaigns

When you are seeing nothing but green on your Google Merchant Center, you can finally then set up a couple of campaigns in your Google AdWords. Google Shopping is a particular type of campaign of Google AdWords. Hence, you need to follow a few steps for creating a new campaign through use of the product feed set up in the previous stages.

You need to pick a specific budget and state a particular amount that you are willing to give for PPC (pay per click). Your campaign is now ready to run.

Optimization of campaigns

While going through the entire Google shopping set up, you can see clicks and definitely some sales rolling kin to your business. Allow the campaigns a day for gathering some data and to make further improvements.

Your main goal is to bring in sales with Google Shopping but you really do not know the products which will do well at the beginning. So make sure you see all your products in the search results.

You need to play with budgets and CPCs for this. With this, you can get deeper into the shopping optimisation of Google. But before that, hold on and follow these starters below as the rabbit hole is too deep:

  • Identify the irrelevant words and exclude them from your shopping campaign
  • Check your products if they are appearing for generic results or some specific search queries
  • Product feeds need to be improved for making the most profitable products get the perfect budget required by it.

Set up process of your Google Merchant Center Account

Your Google Merchant Center can be the powerhouse for all your product data. You will find an overview of the general health of all approved as well as disapproved products and paid clicks along with other updates.

For the set up of account, first you need to update your business information. This process include some basic things such as how you want to display the name of your business, your website as well as physical address and account users.

Claim and verifying your Website URL

Your website URL needs to be claimed and verified. You can do a few things:

  • HTML tag
  • HTML file uploading
  • Google Tag manager
  • Google Analytics

Each of these involves adding some form of code to a website. However, Google Tag Manager is an easy method and involves very less amount of extra code and then you can use Google Tag Manager for organizing and consolidating other pieces of codes on your website. First, you have to open the Tag Manager Account and once your account is opened, you can go to the Admin tab and afterwards install Google Tag Manager.

Merchant Center Guidelines

After claiming and verifying your website URL, all you need to do is be sure with your website’s compliance with the rules mentioned below before serving shopping ads:

  • A secure checkout is required (“https” in address bar when one gets ready to provide you with their payment information)
  • Users must be able to access your shopping cart from any region in the world. You should be able to sell products in US and Canada; people in Denmark should be able to get your checkout.
  • Both your website data and product data should be in the official language of your country you are serving ads to.
  • You need to get accurate contact information and instructions on the billing and returns work of your business.

Create and connect your product feed

Finally get into the fun part. Before you start making exciting adjustments for driving on data to your product feed and campaigns, you need to create a product first for meeting all requirements of Google. Google then will use this product feed for matching your ads with the user’s search queries.

Creation of Product Feed and meet Google’s Requirements

Google’s requirements for product feed depend on kind of products you are selling, but a few universal items are required for every feed by Google:

  • Title or product name
  • ID- identifier for all products
  • Description (product description)
  • Link ( only link for the exact product page)
  • Image Link (link for the image of the product)
  • Availability status (if any product is out of stock, or in stock or on pre-order)
  • Price
  • Tax (US)
  • Shipping cost
  • Condition of product (new, used or refurbished)
  • Adult (if it is an adult product)


If you are selling clothes or any other items like books, movies or music, Google offers you some additional fields for including in your feed. These are:

  • Brand name of product
  • GTIN- if your product has an assigned GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) by the original manufacturer
  • MPN- if your new product does not have manufacturer assigned GTIN, then you will not have an MPN either.
  • Age Group (only for clothing items)
  • Multipack- in case you are selling a group of products in a single unit
  • Gender- for clothing items or other gender specific products
  • Size- for clothing items
  • Material & Pattern- distinguished products in set of variants
  • Item group ID- for products which are variants of each other. Different sizes of same type or different colours of a basic product like a t-shirt.

Now you can understand which products are needed for your product feed and then you do the final thing, that is, to ensure that all your product data make a way to your AdWords account.

Uploading and submission of your product feed

Google offers you some ways for uploading products in your Google Merchant Center account. The options chosen depend on the number of items you are selling and the frequency of updating your inventories as well as IT resources available.

The simplest way offered by Google is registration on a Google sheet on the Google Merchant Centre. One can set up this through the Merchant Centre account, go to the products menu and then adding a new feed.

After this, click on the plus sign, and then specify your target country along with the destination.

Next, you need to specify the kind of feed you are willing to create. One best way is using a Google sheet.

Finally, the option comes whether you want your Merchant Centre to hook up with a product template or choose an existing Google sheet. You can also create an uploaded schedule to make your product data refreshed in an automatic way.


Following all these steps, you now stand in front of the coolest Google Sheet with columns for all the product data fields that you may need.

Feed rules:

Google merchant Center gives you an extra option for helping you to speed up your way to an accurate and complete product feed. Go to the products menu, choose feeds, click on the active feeds and then go to rules.


Use feed rules for designating attributes:

  • Constants, that is, applying static values to a specific group of items
  • Mapping as well as assigning attributes in your feeds
  • Inclusion of attributes from a supplementary feed

There are various ways of improving your product feed and Google shopping campaigns. Filling in the missing data requirements in product feed can be one way.


Now you have covered the basic set up of your Google merchant centre account and also the submission of your product feed. Now let’s go on with optimisation strategies.

Optimization of your product feed

Product feed optimisations involve major changes to the product categories, product titles, descriptions. Improve the relevance of the product title and this can lead to an increase in the traffic volume.

Starting with the product title should have a strong impact on your overall traffic volume and it can help you to optimise your product feed. You do not have to worry about optimisation of the areas which are not going to give big returns for your time such as product category and product description.

Write winning product titles and the first part of writing product titles with relevance to search queries includes your knowledge of the kind of buyers you have. Also how well known is your product depends for Google will read your product titles left to right. Google assigns importance to the words closer to the beginning of the product titles.

Steps for set up and optimisation of your ads:

Step1: Create Google Merchant centre account

Set up of a Shopping Ads campaign is different altogether from set up of regular text ads. There will be no campaigns, ad groups, ads, etc that you might be familiarised with. You use Google AdWords for managing your bids and optimisation of your strategies, but the nerve centre of your campaigns is Google Merchant Centre. It is here where your product feed lies and all you need is to link them with your AdWords and Google Analytics account for making it work.                                            

Step 2: Tax and Shipping Setup

The second step for setting up your tax and shipping details.

You are able to set up various tax rates with the tax options for individual countries or provinces you conduct sales to.

For shipping, you should set up somewhat complex rules such as minimum order value, free shipping points, etc.

Set up some crucial shipping rules as well as timelines for your customers.

Step 3: Product Feed creation

A product feed listing all your products is essential with your verified website, tax and shipping rules input. Product feed is undoubtedly a vital stage of shopping campaign set up. Google use information in your product feed for understanding your products and ensuring to show the right searches. Google requires much information for each single product. Information can differ based on the product type as well as the operating location of your store.

However, if you are selling items such as clothing, then you need to provide more information like gender, size and age group. Make sure you check Google’s complete list of needs before proceeding further. In establishing your feed head to “Products” tab in the Merchant dashboard, click on the plus sign ad then you can be taken to the next stage.

First set up of Google sheet:

Choose Google sheets and proceed further. Finally, you will get the option for creating an upload schedule. Update the information in your feed at least once in a month, even if you experience no results. Set up a schedule and take out all hassles out of remembering. Just you need to remember to keep your Google sheet updated with the latest product information.

Generation of a new Google spreadsheet and then you can get ready to fill in with all details. This can be a bit tough but you can make this easier through export of the key data into a CSV. You can also use an app such as Google Shopping Feed that will help you to update your product sheet. This automatic route can save much time but it is recommendable to keep the sheet under manual control. This can get you more optimisations as well improvements coming easy on your way.

Step 4: first campaign set up

Your entire product feed actions get done with head over to Google AdWords. Click on the big plus sign on the campaign tab and the click on the “shopping campaigns”.

You will be asked some basic information queries including your merchant account like your setup, ad locations and all other jazz. After this, you will have regular options of campaign set up such as max CPCs, budget, etc. After all this is done you make your campaigns ready to run.

Get an amazing start for your shopping campaign

There are a few basic elements that people tend to get wrong with new shopping campaigns:

  • Playing with CPCs

All your CPCs are going to be the same. For example, your $20 product has the same CPC as will be $500.

Confused, right? Let us teach you. The potential profit for $500 is larger not to mention that a big purchase will need more touch points for convincing users. Jumping into CPCs and making amendments is based on the cost of product as well as overall profitability of traffic.

You can separate the products based on sales performance. High performing products will get higher CPCs and achieve greater share of budget.

  • Checking on daily basis

This check depends on your budget but you must check in to your account at least every day, every 24 hours especially just after the set up. So 24 hours time is enough for gathering some data but it helps you to stay agile simultaneously.

  • User intention should be considered

Each shopper is different from the other. Some may purchase now while some others tend to do simple window shopping and at times do a little research on the products. You want to put focus more on those campaigns that will be weighty and are closer to a purchasing. With shopping ads, you can take care if this; if you are running search ads to bring in people then you must get more attention to your shopping ads.

  • Use Benchmark Data for overall indication

You should focus on increasing your conversion rate and you should be looking onto increasing today’s 1% to tomorrow’s 1.1% and then 1.% the next day and proceed so on. But you should also keep an eye on the industry averages. The 1% increase might be a great achievement for you but if even after the increase in percentage, you find yourself lagging behind the competition, and then you have to keep on with the optimization process.


Always try and make your store better day by day and make sure to never take off your eyes from the competition.

  • Remarketing

Remarketing is getting bigger and better than ever before. This is one of the biggest ROI potentials.

You need to track your users and their actions on your website and then you can serve them utmost with relevant remarketing ads.

But make sure you do not serve the same ad to the same user even after they do not convert.

Re-marketing is a great opportunity you have to take advantage of. If you really want to kick your re-marketing to the next level, you can utilize videos. They can be the highest potential for ROI for your online product store.

Finding it still difficult? Let our Google Shopping experts set up and manage your Google Shopping so that you can focus more on business!

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Biplab PoddarView all posts

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Biplab Poddar

Biplab Poddar is the Founder & CEO of Oxedent. He is a Google Ads Lover and CRO Strategist. He Helped 250 plus businesses to launch their first PPC campaigns as well as optimize the campaigns to get maximum out of their ad spend.

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