Multi-Channel Publishing part 3 - Publishing your products to Google Merchant Center
One of the relatively new marketplace possibilities is introduced by Google and called Google Merchant Center.
The Google Merchant Center is a tool where you can upload your product listings to be used for Google Shopping, Product Listing Ads, and Google Commerce Search.
Since Google is the most powerful search engine we expect, that the Merchant Center will gain traction and we will therefore elaborate more on this specific service.
Read more about Google Merchant Center on the website.
In the following we will elaborate on Google Shopping and Google Product Listing Ads.
Google Shopping offers a quick and easy way for shoppers to find product listings on Google.
According to Google, the service offers the following advantages:
- Attract more potential buyers since Google Shopping helps you to reach shoppers while they are searching for items to buy on Google.
- Control your product information since you can maintain the accuracy and freshness of your product information, so your customers find the relevant and current items, which they are looking for.
It is a feed-based promotion product, as you know from Ad Words, so you can promote your product including prices and images directly in Google search results as seen in the illustration below.
Google Shopping is currently only available in selected countries. Please visit Google Merchant Center for more information.
In a multi-channel ecommerce setup, Google Shopping might be an attractive publication channel assuming that you are operating in markets where the service is available. But as with Ad Words the service will cost you either per click.
Google Product Listing Ads
Google Product Listing Ads appear when someone searches for your products on google.com and google.com/shopping. Google will show the customer a picture of your item, its price, and your store name. Customers who click on your ad will be directed to your website where they can buy your item. With Product Listing Ads, you will be charged if someone clicks on your ad and lands on your website. In that way you will only pay when Google directs a customer to your store.
Google Product Listing Ads are currently only available in selected countries. Please visit Google Merchant Center for more information.
According to the research company Econsultancy, http://econsultancy.com , an analysis of more than 270m global impressions and clicks shows that the CTR (Click through Rate) for Product Listing Ads was 73% higher than standard text Ads, and more importantly, the conversion rate was 35% higher. Furthermore, the average CPC (Cost per Click) was 36% lower meaning that the ROI achieved with Product Listing Ads is 46% better than with standard ads.
Getting started with Google Merchant Center
In order to get started with Google Merchant Center you should consider the following basic tips:
- Sign up for Product Listing Ads (you need an AdWords account and a Merchant Centre Account to get started).
- Make sure your product feeds are working efficiently, and not showing things like out of stock products, or sizes with no availability on your site. You do not want to run out of stock, especially not if is still showing in your feeds; you will end up paying for clicks from potential customers who eventually are unable to purchase the product seen in your Product Listing Ad. If your product feeds work properly by linking your ad to your inventory, then you will only advertise products that are currently in stock. If you are running low on stock, then decide at what level you should pause your product ads, or change the ad copy to reflect the limited availability. If there is work that needs to be done on your feeds, get it done before you have to pay for the clicks.
- Plan your bidding strategy and targets in advance. The new system will show results based on both relevance and bids, so apply the same level of thought to your approach on bidding on Product Listing Ads as you apply to other PPC ads
- Optimize the landing pages on your site. Now you are paying for clicks from the shopping pages, so make sure that each user lands directly on the product page from which they can purchase. Make it as easy as possible to convert; these are people who are actively looking to shop.
- Optimize your product names and images. Make sure your full product name shows up in the ad. For example, if you are selling luxury king-size bed linen, then make sure the word ‘linen’ is clear in the ad – otherwise you will probably end up paying for clicks from people who intended to buy a king-sized bed.