Google Shopping Launches Today – Are You Prepared?

By Mark Gray | 13 Feb 2013

Google Shopping has launched. Here are four tips to mitigate the loss of free Google Product Search traffic from Mark Gray.

Today, the transition to Google Shopping begins for Australia, the UK and many other countries around the world, finding many retailers unprepared for this drastic change. Many others have overlooked this update until after the Christmas and January rush and are only now considering the impact on their business. If your business is reliant on Google Product Search campaigns for traffic, you need to begin ramping up your Google Shopping presence as soon as possible in order to maintain your momentum.

Product Listing Ads (PLAs) are at the core of Google’s new Google Shopping Program, and are critical for retailers who want to make the most of their advertising campaigns. Google Shopping is built on a fee-based model of PLAs that will give retailers greater control over where their ads appear and the opportunity to get more consistent levels of high quality website traffic. Understanding and utilising PLAs will be fundamental to a retailer’s future success on Google Shopping.

Tip 1: Practice Makes Perfect

PLA Google Shopping product ads

An example of product listings on Google Shopping

Begin testing Product Listing Ads straight away, opting in all or part of your feeds with at least the minimum bid. This will allow you to learn and refine how PLAs work from the beginning and give you a competitive edge to late-adopters. If you are already using PLAs, you can take it a step further by focusing on optimising your feeds.

Google has announced an incentive for early adopters to reward those prepared for the transition. To encourage retailers to make this transition to Google Shopping, Google is offering a promotional credit. Retailers who apply and create a Product Listing Ad campaign promoting all of their products in Merchant Centre by 12 April 2013 could qualify for this credit.

Tip 2: Calculate Your Costs

Some retailers were not aware of the upcoming changes to Google Shopping, and did not consider them in their 2013 planning. Make Google Shopping an important part of your 2013 marketing plans and budget to increase your exposure on this important channel. Estimate your costs by measuring your traffic and GMV. Use the equations below to calculate these core facts and try to add them to your plans for next year.

Traffic:  Clicked x Average Cost Per Click


Tip 3: Data, Data, Data!

With Google Shopping, data is more important than ever before. Don’t make Google question the freshness of your product data. Google is more likely to serve an ad for retailers who provide accurate data consistently. Identify product target queries and integrate them into the titles and description of your product feed. The relevance of your product content to the user’s query will strongly increase the chances of your ad being served.

Optimise your content and work toward making it a better quality. This will allow a better user experience and drive more qualified clicks to your website.

Tip 4: Develop a Target Strategy

Product Targets are central to Google Shopping. Targets, or product groupings, identify which products from data feeds will trigger Product Listing Ads for related searches. Target fields allow retailers to group products together based on characteristics such as brand. Grouping products by target enables retailers to control bids across multiple products based on these qualifications, (e.g., all products characterised as brand should receive a bid of 75 cents). Think about how you measure your business, specifically around your product catalogue; should your target be based on brand, product type, margin or price? Identify a strategy that works for you and build your strategy around this.


Google’s move to a fee-based model is a dramatic shift for many brands and retailers, and has both financial and strategic implications for their online businesses. If you want to learn more about Google Shopping and PLAs, you can also download our Google Shopping bundle.

1 Comment

One thought on “Google Shopping Launches Today – Are You Prepared?”

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