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Google Shopping Product Listings Explained!

Google shopping ads are placed at the top or on the right hand side of a SERP (search engine results page) as small boxed images with only the essential information; the name and URL of the shop/website running the ad (where you want to send your traffic), the price and sometimes promotional text such as discounts offered or delivery fee.

If the extra promotional text says for example: ‘34% price drop’, a user will be more likely to click on that ad than one without the text or caption

Google Shopping Ads have become more complex in recent years however they have revolutionised online merchants ability to increase product offering to a very large platform.

Google Merchant Centre Makes Ecommerce Easy

To use Google shopping product advertising you need to have a Google Ads account and a Google Merchant Centre account. The Merchant Centre acts as the central hub for the product listings ads.

The ads for product listings are essential live feeds that pull your product listings from your website into Google search. There are connector API tools for some platforms as there is never a universal one size fits all for online marketing.

  • Advertise to more likely to purchase audiences
  • Control product listing information giving real-time data
  • Product listings show across all device types
  • Products can show customer reviews and increase social proof

Behind The Scenes View Of Google Shopping Ads:

Google shopping is powered by Google AdWords, which is where the actual campaigns for the shopping ads are and Google Merchant Centre, which is where the product feed lives. The product data feed is a list of all the products you sell and all the information about them set out in a format that is easy for Google to understand. It includes factors such as:

  • Unique product ID
  • Name of product
  • Product Description
  • Product Category
  • Product type
  • Link from item to website
  • Availability status
  • Price

Google Shopping Relies On Three Main Things:

Feed Creation & Optimisation

This is SUPER important so that the right searches can show up for the search query, to earn clicks and to make optimisations


You need to consider 3 things; product price, profit margin and ecommerce conversion rates to calculate your maximum bid. Advertisers bid on their product inventory rather than with search engine marketing (SEM) where advertisers bid on keywords.

Monitoring & Optimisation

Ability to monitor and optimise campaigns to constantly improve them to stay ahead of competition.

Google Analytics is then used to measure and track all of the data generated from activity on the ads by linking all accounts together; Google Ads and Google merchant centre.

It’s All About The Product Feed

Unlike text ads that primarily use keywords for Google to find you, Google shopping campaigns target ‘product groups’. Essentially, Google has access to all of your products information in Google merchant centre and Google determines when your ad will appear based on the product information in your feed and it uses the bids you make on your product inventory rather than on keywords to determine which search queries prompt which ads.

What To Include In Your PLA (Product Listing Ad):

  • Informative product tile with relevant keywords
  • Price
  • URL of business
  • Promotional Text

After you enter your keywords into Google’s search bar for what you want, Google crawls through the Google merchant centre to find the most relevant ad to suit your search query. The keywords Google looks for are used in the description and titles of the products, which is all found in Google’s merchant centre. In this sense, Google shopping shares many similarities to organic SEO. Here is an example below:

Keywords entered in Google’s search bar: ‘Women’s Joggers’

Google Shopping result shows the keyword ‘women’s in the title, hence why it’s extremely important to put product relevant keywords in the title so Google can find your ad.

When you click on the ad, it then takes you to the website where both keywords ‘women’s joggers’ appear in the ad’s description.

The keywords used can be continuously optimised through Google Ads in order to stay ahead of your competition through keyword research. Google also has the ability to rank your ads based on elements such as reviews and user activity. Google can pick up negative reviews and rank you down hence affecting your ability to achieve clicks.
Shopping campaigns, as well as text ad campaigns, use ad groups in order to target specific product categories, set negative keywords and to have the ability to change bids based on product groups, rather than on every single product under one campaign.

Don’t Forget

Google isn’t looking for keywords in shopping ads, it’s looking for product groups with an extensive product description for every single product. It then narrows down it’s search based on the campaigns ad groups which are made up of various keywords that are scattered through titles and descriptions and then it chooses the ads which are ranked the highest.

That’s All Folks

To learn more about Google shopping and how you can take advantage of the in search product display paid to advertise, contact our digital specialists for a more in-depth conversation about your product listings and what we can do for you.

Update: Google AdWords has rebranded to Google Ads Services

This is big news for pay per click advertisers with the brand switching for a more modern logo design to align with its sleek new advertising platform released in March 2018. We covered the full Ads platform rebrand in this article giving you the low down.