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In the second offering from our series of ecommerce tips, we’re going to take a look at using Google for ecommerce – or more specifically, Google product listings and Adwords.

As you probably already know, Google is without doubt the number one search platform on the internet, so using it to advertise your products is pretty much a no-brainer. By utilising product listings and Adwords effectively, you’ll drive more traffic to your online shop, and subsequently increase sales and revenue.

Using Google product listings

So let’s focus on Google’s product listings, or its ‘shopping facility’, first...

Ultimately, the reason this platform works so well is because unlike general website advertising, this facility focuses on specific products, so you’re capturing buyers who are further into the buying process. They’ve likely already done their research, and are now identifying their options to make their purchase.

Using Google product listing effectively does take a bit of work – you’ll need to learn your way around the Google Merchant Centre, or find someone who has experience of utilising this facility. The more products you can add to your feed the better, but you’ll still see results with a smaller number of items.

When setting up your product listings, bear these 5 quick tips in mind:

1. Optimise your data feed – ensure you input keyword relevant product titles and descriptions, but balance this with useful information for buyers too, so cover brand names, size, colour etc in your titles.
2. Target best sellers – you should already be monitoring your sales data, so use this to identify your most popular products, and make sure these are the first on your list for listings!
3. Positive and negative – don’t just focus on what you’re offering, but also narrow down your competition and focus your listings by using negative keywords too, so it’s clear to Google what you’re not selling e.g. if you sell children’s clothes but not men’s or women’s, use ‘-mens’ and ‘-womens’ so people are mislead when searching.
4. Image is everything – try to avoid manufacturer’s images if you’re likely to see competitors using the same. Use a clear photo that sells your product in the best light – make sure it’s good quality and completely relevant to your search data.
5. Clean listings – reflect any changes to your products in your data feed immediately – and resubmit your feed as soon as any changes have been made. You need to ensure that the information displayed on the product listings are the same as buyers will see when they click through to your website.

Adwords for ecommerce

If you’ve used Google shopping or Adwords for ecommerce purposes before and found they didn’t offer a significant return, fear not! Google have worked extensively on these services over the last 18 months or so, with lots of great improvements that really do make it worth revisiting. As with any aspect of your ecommerce marketing strategy though, you need to make sure you’re implementing your Adwords campaigns correctly – again, it may be that you need to draft in some specialist support if you don’t have the skills required in-house.

Google Adwords is the ‘brains’ behind your advertising, and gives you the capabilities to control different aspects of your shopping campaign, such as:

• Bidding
• Budgets
• Location targeting
• User-device targeting

Getting your product data feed right is the foundation for a good Adwords campaign, as it guides Google in regards to relevancy and where your adverts ‘sit’ within the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).

There are loads of tips and tutorials out there for making the most of Google Adwords for ecommerce, but here are our top 3 for starters...

1. User-focused ads – make sure you put yourself in your buyers’ shoes. You’re limited to 25 characters in the headline, and 35 characters each on the next two lines of text, so use each space wisely and remember that these counts include spaces and punctuation! Write compelling, descriptive ads that draw the user in.
2. Use ad extensions – one of our favourite Adword features, the ‘sitelinks’ option allows you to direct users to specific pages from underneath your main ad text – so you can send them to shipping or returns information, contact pages, a product group or anything else that will offer them additional value.
3. Don’t neglect the end goal – even if someone does click on your ad, you need to keep them engaged once they’ve landed on your site. A great ad means nothing if the page they click through too is hard to navigate, horrible to look at or difficult to find the info they want on. It’s not just about users either – Google looks for relevancy, so it needs to be clear that the page is the most relevant one on your website in regards to the ad content.

By using Google product listings and Adwords for ecommerce, you could soon start to see your user and purchase stats increase, providing a great return on your investment and also increasing your online visibility which is excellent news for your overall brand awareness – more ecommerce tips coming up next week!

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