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shopping: your frequently asked questions answered

The online opportunity for retail brands continues to grow. An expanse of channels is readily available as part of your digital toolkit, providing the means to promote your offering and reach new audiences

If you sell online it's likely you already implement a form, or multiple forms, of online advertising whether that’s PPC, display or paid social. But have you considered those channels that drive high intent traffic at the bottom of the funnel? This is what shopping channels such as Google Shopping and Amazon Advertising can offer.

We’re getting straight to the point by answering our clients’ frequently asked questions to share the ins and outs of different Shopping channels.

1) can i advertise with google shopping?

To benefit from all that Google Shopping has to offer, the first requisite is that you have a website that users can physically purchase from. The second is that it can’t be a trade only website. Google’s rules state that your landing pages must only show prices including VAT which takes trade out of the picture.

2) is google shopping free?

In 2020, the search engine giant announced they would allow businesses to list their products on Google Shopping for free. This feature allows you to reach potential shoppers at no extra cost in the Shopping tab, opening the doors to connect with more customers.

However, remember, while free product listings may drive traffic, there is limited control compared to paid Shopping ads. Paid Shopping ads provide the tools to optimise performance plus, paid listings still appear above free listings. We recommend combining a free and paid approach for maximum performance.

3) why should i add google shopping to my paid strategy?

Firstly, let’s look at the statistics from recent research:

·      shopping ads generate 65 percent of online retail clicks

·      shoppers are almost twice as likely to click on Google Shopping Ads than on text ads on the search results page

·      campaigns that use Google Shopping Ads have a lower CPC than ordinary search ads meaning they can save you money while increasing site traffic

·      they also tend to have higher conversion rates than text ads – 30 percent on desktops and 21 percent on mobile

And if the data isn’t enough to convince you, the fact that Google Shopping Ads are placed at the top of the search results, above organic results, might. Their prominent position makes it easier to engage potential customers before their attention goes elsewhere. Alongside this, Shopping ads don’t just appear in Google’s standard search results anymore, they’re also visible on a dedicated Shopping tab, search partner websites, YouTube and the Google Display Network.

The format of these ads makes them ideal for increasing brand visibility and awareness too. While Amazon’s Sponsored Ads include your business name, this is done in a tiny font whereas Google Shopping clearly displays your brand. Featuring product photos and basic product information such as prices and reviews allows the user to consider multiple brands before clicking into the website they desire.

4) how do i get started with google shopping?

Google Shopping Ad campaigns are powered by two platforms – Google Ads and Google Merchant Centre. To get started with creating your Shopping ads, you’ll need to set up accounts with Google Ads and Google Merchant Centre before linking them together. But what’s the difference?

·      google ads is where your Shopping campaigns live and where you can set budgets, gain insights, manage bids and make optimisations.

·      google merchant centre is where your product feed is stored as well as shipping and sales tax information.

There are three core elements to a Shopping ad which includes the product image, product title and price. Each element is pulled from the product feed. In order for your campaigns to be shown and perform, content needs to comply with the Shopping ads policies. It’s your responsibility to ensure the type of business, products, promotions and website you’re promoting meet the requirements for Shopping ads before you can start advertising.

For ads to perform at their best, it’s important to use product data that has been updated at least every 30 days and meets Google’s standards for data quality. The Merchant Centre can be used to submit this product data.

5) how important is my product feed? When it comes to Google Shopping, the quality of your feed including how well optimised it is, is what will generate the best performance from your campaigns. Google clearly outlines their feed requirements but if you’re not proactive in meeting these needs, you risk your feed being disapproved, losing out on traffic and revenue. As such, we see maintaining your product feed as just as important as the campaigns themselves.

Experts in set up, error fixing, optimisation and feed control, we combine best practice with our in-house developed tools to care for your Shopping feed. By manipulating your product feed to grow sales, we can engage new customers and recapture those that didn’t convert by:

·      optimising product titles and descriptions with relevant keywords

·      using high quality product photos

·      showcasing positive reviews

·      using your site categories to inform targeting

·      performing weekly audits to make proactive improvements

6) are there different types of google shopping ads?

There are two types of Shopping ads that can be used to advertise your shop and your products. These include:

·       product shopping ads: These are based on product data that you submit in the Merchant Centre including product image, title, price and business name. Merchant Centre then creates these ads based on the information you include in your product feed so that’s one less thing to worry about creating yourself.

·      local inventory ads: These showcase your products and store information to nearby shoppers. When shoppers click the ad, they arrive on a page known as the local storefront which displays your in-store stock availability, hours, directions, product details and more.

7) can i still target keywords with google shopping?

Unlike Google Search campaigns where substantial work goes into finding and testing suitable keywords for your products, this isn’t necessary in Google Shopping.

Google uses your feed, your site and more to determine the search queries that will trigger your ads. Once your feed is properly uploaded, optimised and maintained, Google can find the most relevant search terms to display your ads for.

You can manually add more keywords to expand your product feed as well as negative keywords too. These are essentially search terms that Google thinks is relevant to your product listing, but they might not be.

8) should you be advertising on amazon too?

If you’re having success with Google Shopping, it’s natural to begin thinking about the opportunities that other shopping channels - or marketplaces – could bring your business.

Amazon advertising offers impressive potential, but it works in a different way to Google Shopping and these differences must be noted. Instead of needing an eCommerce store to be eligible for advertising, you need to be actively selling on Amazon in order advertise in this space.

If you’re not already selling on Amazon, this is the place to start. However, it’s important to do your research and understand whether Amazon is a suitable marketplace for your brand and products. If selling organically on Amazon is already key to your eCommerce strategy, we’d advise considering how you can better optimise this platform with the use of Amazon Ads.

9) is amazon advertising cheaper than google shopping?

Amazon and Google Shopping operate on cost per click (CPC) models. Google’s average CPC is higher than Amazon’s which makes Amazon cost effective. It also means you can free up more budget for further investment elsewhere such as your PPC campaign. However, while CPCs are less, you do pay a commission directly to the marketplace when selling on Amazon.

Another factor to consider is that Google tends to work on a return on ad spend (ROAS) whereas Amazon uses average cost of sales (ACoS). ACoS shows how much money you spent on advertising versus the sales you received for that product and is a great metric to understand whether campaigns are profitable. ROAS is essentially the reverse of ACoS but also indicates how your ad spend impacts revenue.

In terms of what these metrics mean, low ACoS means high profitability and high ACoS means low profitability. To determine your ideal ACoS, you need to find your ideal profit margin before working backwards.

10) what are the different amazon ad types?

Amazon offers a wide variety in terms of your product ads including sponsored product ads, sponsored brands and product display ads.

The different appearance and placement of these ads in the Amazon search results play an important role in reaching your target shopper. For example, a Sponsored Brand ad will dominate the search results as it’s the first thing users see while Product Display Ads are great for engaging customers looking at similar products.

The versatility of Amazon ads is useful, particularly if Amazon is your primary sales channel.

11) can I use the same product feed for amazon?

Although you could take the Google data feed and use this to support other Shopping feeds, we would recommend creating separate feeds. This will take more management, but you’ll be able to better optimise your individual feeds resulting in better quality ads and greater control.

In these cases, eCommerce feed management platforms can be used to centralise all of your feeds, managing information that you send to multiple channels from a single place. You can also lean on the support of an agency in this area, using their expertise to help you manage multiple feeds and channels for maximum performance.

12) which is better, google shopping or amazon?

Both Amazon and Google Shopping focus on audiences that are ready to convert. Possibly the main factor to consider when deciding between the two is that Amazon’s share of the eCommerce market has reached an overwhelming 50 percent. This shows that when people shop, the majority do it on Amazon.

However, Google Shopping is still an effective platform to reach customers in your target audience, it just means that Amazon could potentially offer access to even more of them. It’s important to remember that Google is great for getting in front of users earlier in the funnel when they’re in an open-minded research phase. Amazon on the other hand is for those high intent buyers who are purchase ready.

what other marketplaces are there?

Without a doubt, Google Shopping and Amazon are the two largest marketplaces to consider within your eCommerce strategy. But they’re not the only ones. eBay, Bing, social media, Alibaba and affiliate marketing all offer alternative or additional channels which could help drive further revenue.

While each of these channels offer advertising opportunities, introducing them to your paid strategy should be led by your wider business strategy as well as the suitability of each marketplace to your business. The support of an agency who has worked with multiple platforms would be beneficial in this area as they can share insight into the opportunities of using the platforms and whether they’re the right fit for your business objectives.

get started with shopping

As more people flock online to shop, Shopping channels are becoming an important part of the eCommerce puzzle. However, with many channels to choose from, it can be difficult to pick the ones that are right for your business.

That’s why we’re an audience-first agency. Channel agnostic, we understand that the intent behind the click is what triggers lasting success. Reaching your potential customers wherever and however they choose to browse, we consider the channels alongside the audience data to connect your efforts and drive conversions.

On hand to advise and guide, get in touch with our paid media experts to learn more about our Shopping services and how they can support you in growing your business.

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