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Google Shopping: How your products appear in search

4 October 2019

By Drew Smith

Drew is the Director of Product Strategy at Upp and focuses on how technology can help brands and retailers deliver what their customers want.

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When creating Google Shopping campaigns, it’s important to know exactly how your products will end up appearing when they’re searched for.

The types of ads that are available vary, so understanding which type will work best for your particular products is essential to creating an effective campaign that maximises conversions and reduces inefficient spend.

We’ll take you through exactly what kinds of ads there are and show you how your products will appear in search, depending on the way you label them.

Let’s get started!

Google Shopping ad formats

The Google Shopping ad network is vast, with different types of ads able to better display your products in ways that lead to more clicks and more conversions.

Here, we’re going to look at the different types of ads available in Google shopping, how they work and the advantages of learning to use them correctly.

Product Shopping ads

These ads are created based on the product data that you submit in the Merchant Centre. They display the image, title, price and the name of your store/business but without any copy. As such, these ads are easy to automate and update, helping to ensure you have products ready and able to appear in response to the most relevant search queries.

There are plenty of ways to optimise Product Shopping ads, such as balancing your bids to make ads that attract more clicks more often while cutting ads that don’t work as well.

Showcase Shopping ads

Compared to Product Shopping ads, Showcase Shopping ads allow you to group related products together and present them as a selection that better represents the range available from your business.

They’re designed to appear in response to more generic terms such as “women’s clothing” and feature your brand alongside others. You can specifically control which products appear in Showcase Shopping brands, meaning that you can pick your best sellers or seasonal picks -- whichever helps you best represent your brand and can help shoppers decide where to buy.

Fashion Retail Guide to Online Success

Local Catalogue ads

For stores aiming to appeal for a local audience, Local Inventory ads can create a brand showcase designed to appear to shoppers located nearby. Local catalogue ads take your local inventory feed and distribute it through the Google Display network. This means you can create an appealing, easy-to-read group of ads showing off selections of products that can appear on sites and apps across the web.

The placement of these ads can be further optimised, so you ensure that your store has more of a presence on sites and apps that are conversion goldmines.

How these ads appear in search

To know how best to use different types of ads, it also helps to know what they’re actually going to look like in the eyes of the online shopper. With Google Shopping, there are a number of filters that will impact these results.  

Your ad in Google Search

red t shirt shopping ads

First of all, let’s look at how ads appear in search results. This carousel of Shopping ads can appear on all devices. Ads of yours that are relevant to the search term, such as “red t shirt”, will appear within that carousel. The shopper can wheel through the different products in the selection, previewing images, product names, brands/sites and ratings to click on those most relevant to them. As such, descriptive names for products are essential to ensure your product appears in this feed.

Your ad in Google Shopping

red t shirt shopping listings in shopping section

The “Shopping” tab effectively allows the shopper to take a closer look at the products featured in the carousel shown above. Below, you can see how your products will not only have more visual real estate to use (making high-quality product images a necessity), but you can also see how customers able to sort through different criteria to make the resulting ads even more relevant to them. Not having all your product data included in the ad can mean that it won’t appear even when it’s relevant to the search.

Your ad with Google Shopping filters

red t shirt search + red filter = different results

Our last image shows the results of not having the right data in your product ad. Many of the products featured in the previous image disappear when the user engages the ‘Red’ colour filter. Listings disappear because they do not have the necessary data to remain relevant to that search. They’re missing the colour data that could help them stay in the topmost listings.

Having effective images and descriptive titles can help your Shopping ads appear to more shoppers. Ensuring that they’re backed up by comprehensive, high-quality shopping data makes them more likely to keep the top spot even as the shopper filters their search and gets more particular in the results they want to see.

Purpose-built ecommerce solutions can ensure your products will appear in search by making sure that all the relevant product data is added to your Shopping Ads, using optimised language.

Appearing in the search top spot

When it comes to your Google Shopping ads, your product data may not be featured front and centre, but it is a deciding figure on what does and doesn’t appear in search. Your data makes your products more relevant to certain queries, so the more complete it is, the more likely your products are to keep the top spots on the Shopping page.

SaaS services are providing new,  ecommerce solutions that make it much easier to ensure your product data is always updated. By taking the legwork out of converting that data to different formats, you can not only save time but you can also improve outcomes in Google Shopping ad campaigns as well as on different shopping platforms.

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