Also known as Product Listing Ads (PLAs), Google Shopping Ads are product-based advertisements. These ads show up against product-specific searches on Google Shopping. PLAs can include:

  • Price
  • Product image
  • Brand name

Other common information layered into Google Shopping Ads are:

  • Promotions
  • Shipping information
  • Reviews

PLAs can be an effective way of marketing as they allow you to reach at the top of SERPs (above the organic results) against shopper-specific searches using clickable images.

How Does Google Shopping Work?

The thing about shopping ads is that marketers do not bid on keywords as is the case with traditional text/search-based ads. Instead, they bid on the actual product so they can score coveted positions in search engines.

Retailers who want to be eligible for one such program need to submit something called ‘product feed’ to the Google Merchant Center. The feed essentially contains a catalog of the retailer’s product details such as descriptions and titles.

Google uses this very catalog for fueling the relevance of results every time a potential shopper looks for a certain product.

The Difference Between Google Shopping Ads and Google Adwords?

Although both regular and shopping ads appear in search results; you must know the major differences between them.

Text ad basics

When it comes to regular Google ads, you get full control over when the ad listing against particular keywords should appear in the search results. Based on the keywords of your choice, you can target shoppers from certain age groups or demographics who are closer to finalizing a sale as they are actively looking for a specific type of product.

Text-based ads typically appear above or below the organic search results. Mostly they show in a group of 3 or 4; although they may vary based on the searches.

Shopping ad basics

Google shopping ads show alongside images. These ads appear typically at the top of search results. Google has also created a dedicated tab displaying shopping results only. 

As we mentioned, you cannot bid on keywords but you can influence, to a certain degree, who finds your ad by submitting an optimized feed that carries an accurate and detailed description of the product. 

You can also submit a negative keyword list to make sure your product never appears against certain searches that do not serve you at all.

Strategies to Maximize Revenue When Using Shopping Ads

Your typical optimization techniques like link building don’t apply to working with Google Shopping Ads. Here’s, however, what does work.

Use negative keywords for better segmentations

The thing about PLA is that it doesn’t always allow targeting ads for specific keywords. Instead, Google’s algorithms work in strange ways in deciphering which products to show against which queries.

However, there is a way to work around this issue and take control of your product listing. You can achieve query-level targeting and bidding precision with the power of negative keywords.

Using negative keyword configurations and campaign priority you can create smart segmentation. This segmentation allows you to create campaigns for different kinds of search queries such as – product-based, branded, and other types. This is a great hack that can offer you higher ROI and better bidding precision.

Work with partners to dominate the shopping results page

Google doesn’t show one company more than once within one PLA shopping unit. However, there is one way you can overcome this limitation. Even though your company won’t appear twice, your products can. But, for that, you will need to work with a partner. 

You can reach out to multiple partners. Together you can work on a similar set of keywords so that the chances of both your products appearing are higher. A partner could be anyone such as your distributor, retailer, or affiliate. This strategy applies to those undertaking B2B SEO efforts as well.

Focus on revenue

Of course, your business relies on people buying from you to thrive and continue functioning. However, there’s a difference between focusing on sales versus being profitable in the end.

You must find a way to strike a balance between maintaining a profitable return on ad spend (ROAS) and increasing sales. Often bigger brands tend to prefer profitability as they understand the value of a repeat customer in the larger scheme of things rather than just relying on a one-off buying episode.

Make the most of special offers

Google recently introduced the ‘special offers’ field. It’s a collapsible feature which when expanded gives users access to features like – strong CTAs, promo codes, shop buttons, the expiration date of the code, and a sales message. When collapsed it makes your ad stand out from the crowd.

To make sure you make optimal use of this collapsible special offers field, we suggest you start by monitoring the Google shopping ads of your competitors. You can then draw a comparison and see where you stand in the game.

Monitor pricing and ranking vs. the competition

The trick is to stay more or less within the same range when it comes to pricing. Monitoring your competitors and their products will tell you that. If you find your products to be exceptionally higher than that of your competitor, this is something you should fix. 

Since this can be something impossible to do manually, you can use a bunch of tools for this purchase. The Search Monitor is one such tool using which you can monitor all the shopping data.

Other than basic pricing information, the tool will also give you additional information such as the average ranking of your products along with the screenshots of the ad itself.

The Bottom Line

Both Google ads and text-based ads carry pros and cons. However, it’s best if you familiarize yourself with the two and work together with both of them for maximum revenue and profit generation.

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