A Beginner’s Guide to Shopping Ads


You are working in the ecommerce market for paid search and looking to stay ahead of the competition? Learn how to setup the right way, control, and improve Shopping Ads.

If you’re in the business of pay-per-click that is, then knowing the basics of shopping Ads is crucial to stay current with the competitors.

Furthermore, the major shifts in 2019 and 2020 in that Shopping Ads sphere, have been a necessity for even the most savvy PPC professional to update their PLA (Google was once known as Shopping Ads Product Listing Ads) understanding.

This chapter will provide you a working understanding. This chapter will do so by focusing on three elements of Shopping Ads and then spend time specifically looking at the latest type of campaign called Google Smart Shopping Campaigns (SSC):

  • Feed Setup & Management.
  • Campaign Setup.
  • Ongoing Optimizations.
  • Smart Shopping Campaigns.

Feed Setup & Management

Since Shopping Ads are automatically generated based on data provided to the engines, the feeds for shopping are essential to the success of Shopping Ads.

In order for feeds to function according to your requirements, you have to transmit the feed via the help of a feed provider (or make it your own) via Google/Microsoft (formerly called Bing) Merchant Center, and then connect them to the engines so that you are able to promote the feeds.

Also, Product Data > Feed > Merchant Center > Ads Platform > User > Purchase Hooray!

What exactly is Merchant Center for?

In Merchant Center it is where you upload your product information to create an appropriate feed as per the requirements (make sure you fill in all the necessary fields completed and then add as many fields that are recommended as you can).

Please be aware that Google Merchant Center is a distinct entity and you’ll need to set up an (free) account in order to control and submit RSS feeds Google Ads.

The problem is that Microsoft Merchant Center is located in Microsoft Ads’ Microsoft Ads UI under the “Tools” tab.

Tips: When you first upload a feed, it may take anywhere between 24 to 72 hours for each of Google as well as Microsoft before the feed is approved, so you must be patient. Don’t delay to Thanksgiving Day to upload your products in hopes of a massive Black Friday!

Data Feeds

What’s the deal with the product data feeds? How do you make them?

Spreadsheet Option

If you’re only dealing with few SKUs, you could make use of Google Sheets in order to connect direct to Google Merchant Center.


If you’re a company with a team of developers and have nothing else to do other than sit and wait for feed updates, then you might be interested in making and sending the XML document directly to Google Merchant Center.

If that’s the case, you can forward them the policy documents and let them work in making an XML or TXT feed. Make sure that it is up-to-date!

Direct API Integration

On many platforms for commerce including Shopify or Bigcommerce There are native apps built into their systems that permit you to direct feeds through your shop.

The only thing I’m going to mention here is to make sure you choose an application that gives you as many editing capabilities as possible on the feed. Many of the most popular apps are very restricted by their abilities.

For Shopify our top shopping Ads application for Shopify is Simprosys App, as it’s affordable and completely customizable.

Third-Party Feed Provider

If you are looking for someone else to complete the job, you could hire an external feed provider to assist in transmitting the feed.

If you choose this option, be sure you know that, with all providers, you’ll have to collaborate with the feed service provider to transfer your data in the format they require.

It’s important to note that companies like Feedonomics can incorporate dynamically via API for platforms such as Shopify and even search your website to get product details!

You’ll pay more for services who perform more work, so be prepared.

After you’ve chosen the most preferred method to send the data stream, it is important to address any negative product reviews that show up and configure the settings and administrative aspects inside the Merchant Center to ensure your store is ready to go.

Make sure you have your tax information, shipping information, and anything else that is on the upper navigation toolbar so that after your feed has been processed, you can begin to promote your product.

Campaign Setup

After your feed has been sent through Google Merchant Center and processed and processed, you are able to begin creating campaigns with Google Ads.

First, you must connect to your Google Ads account in the Google Merchant Center settings, located under the Tools section along with the Linked Accounts section of the Google Ads UI.

Making campaigns with Google Ads and Microsoft for Shopping is a lengthy and in-depth discussion outside the topic in this section.

Here are a few points to think about when you design your shopping campaigns.

The first thing to remember is that you shouldn’t stick to a single campaign within your account. Trust that search engines will match everything exactly.

This can be a problem in a variety of ways, but most importantly in bidding and shaping the right keywords to the appropriate products.

You have set bids based on groupings of products. But, you’ve segmented the product groups into distinct categories. In essence, you’re making one bid to cover a multitude of inquiries (and products) with varying degrees of intention.

At first, I’d suggest creating a catalog segmentation by natural categories depending on the way your customers look for products, or other aspects like product price or its performance. This can be done at the campaign or even ad group or ad group level.

I would like to get the most important, large picture approach to segment and then incorporate them into campaigns. You can then add additional segments for brands or categories of products into the campaigns as Ad Groups.

For example (and in a terribly simplified case) it is possible to separate your campaigns by “Top 25 Sold Products” and then “Everything Else” in separate campaigns, and have the Everything Else campaigns segmented into ads groups based on the brand of your product.

One thing to keep in mind when the distinction between brands or categories by Campaign and Ad Group is that you can more effectively control negative keywords and consequently move queries between ads or campaigns.

Be careful not to limit yourself too much Shopping Ads negative keywords since there are more than one advertisement on every Search Results page.

Another method to think about organizing campaign is by setting up your account in a way that allows the bid to be made separately for purchasing intent for queries by using the Priority settings arrangement.

If you choose to do so as per this article about query shaping within Google Shopping, you can combine unique query groups into distinct campaigns, so you can better manage budgets and CPCs according to search intent.

In this case, for instance, you might decide to first limit the amount you allocate to the top funnel, which includes real generic phrases such as “shoes.” Still, you might consider bidding more aggressively for “bontrager cycling shoes” since there is more intent to buy in that category and the strategy above will permit you to go into more complicated arrangements such as this.

Whatever you decide find out what works most effectively for your particular account. Then begin to expand beyond one campaign and an advertising group.

Make use of a fantastic campaign set up to enable you to better match the correct questions with the appropriate products and to bid properly on the right products.

Ongoing Optimizations

In the case of Shopping Ads, setting them up isn’t the end of the work that is done for the accounts.

While there’s a certain amount of automation however, there are a few things you need to do regularly to ensure that your shopping campaigns are running smoothly and profitable.

One of these is to be aware of and then act upon your report on search queries in shopping campaigns.

I would recommend logging into your account on a regular basis (at minimum every other week or once a month in accordance with the size of your account) to search for your search terms, as there are occasions when Google or Microsoft is out of hand in their ability to match with your products. It is recommended to include those terms as exclusions.

Positively you may also discover ways to incorporate new keywords to your Search campaigns, if Shopping has positive results for certain keywords you’re not currently using text ads for.

A different aspect to Shopping Ads you can optimize in a continuous manner is the feed for your product.

There are numerous fields available in the Feed therefore, I think it’s easier to start with the following:

  • Titles and Descriptions.
  • Prices.
  • Images.
  • Product Group Bidding.

Titles & Descriptions

Be sure to note the terms that searchers are using to purchase your items and include those terms in your descriptions and titles.

If you’re not sure where to look for keywords that you can use for tests or for your product, you can find keywords with a high volume in the Keyword Planner and test some concepts from there to determine if your product will be more prominently advertised.

If you have my existing account I also go through the search term report to find out more of what people are seeking and buying your product.

You’ll then need to play around with various words in your titles as well as descriptions. Be sure to incorporate all variations of the details in your descriptions and titles.

If you’re selling a black small size jacket, a good title is something like: North Face black lightweight rain jacket Small.

Product Types

It can be confusing because there are two main fields in the feed that are used for classification of your product. There is the Google Product Category and the Product Type.

An error that is common is to think that these are one and the same and think they are and they’re not. It is important to understand that the Google Product Category is Google’s method of categorizing the products they offer, and they have a distinct set of options available to choose from.

The Product Type On the other hand is your method of categorizing your products into the categories on your site. Although Google was once required to use to use the Google Product Category, they no longer do so as they are beginning to recognize the importance of classification data submitted by users.

There are many products that are not properly filled out or even within the Product Type field, therefore it’s recommended that you complete this section thoroughly. It is recommended to include minimum three layers of the hierarchy Don’t be afraid to be descriptive.

Modern Furniture > Sofas > Leather Recliner Couches


Image is the most important image element of the Shopping Ad. If you do it right, it can have a an impact on traffic and sales.

The best way to stand pictures to the forefront that appear in Shopping Ads, is to make them stand out from the others and be easily clickable.

One method for doing this is to test images of products or lifestyles. Be sure to ensure that they’re in line in accordance with Shopping Ad image policies.

Marketing is usually focused on attracting attention and distracting. There’s a compelling argument to be put forward to test images that can disrupt the current SERPs. This is especially true when all your competitors’ images are similar to yours.

Product Group Bidding

The last ongoing optimization for Shopping Ads to note is the subject of bidding.

When thinking about small-scale bid adjustments, it’s crucial to remember that bid automation is becoming more valuable. But, there’s few low-cost options for small – to mid-tier shoppers.

It is worth looking into some of the bid options that are automated on Google because their algorithms have been improved in the past.

I wrote a piece here on the bid models currently in Google Shopping with pros and cons for each.

There are specific models that you should look at in various scenarios However, just like all other things, make sure that you test your bidding model and keeping track of them carefully.

Be sure to have enough data on conversion to allow the algorithms to work from.

If you’re like me and want to develop your own bidding rules it is possible to do this using Saved Filters on the Google Ads interface.

What you should do is think about how you take decisions to decide if a or group is profitable.

Save the filter, and voilà! You now have a simple bidding rule. You can test it once per week or at any time that is set to your own rules.

One example of a rule to illustrate this is to create an item filter for Product Groups within the Google Ads user interface using one of the parameters below:

Profitable products that have greater market share that can be attained.

  • The past 7 days (give plenty of time so that you can make an informed choice).
  • Every product group that has a budget of more than $100 (ignore groups of products that do not have enough information to make a good decision).
  • Search Impression Share less that 50 percent (there is an additional market share to gain).
  • The tracked ROAS over your goal (let’s assume 300 per cent).
  • The Over One Sale (you must ensure it’s not simply catching products that have large, one-time sale irregularities).

The important thing here is to make sure you know which are the product groups that:

  • Do your research to make an informed choice.
  • Are able to expand or decrease market share.
  • Are you achieving or not reaching your objectives.

If you concentrate on these factors and you’ll be able to make smart bidding guidelines in large quantities for your product groups within Your Shopping Campaigns.

A final word to be aware of: remember to keep in mind that Shopping Ads target all stages of the funnel.

This means that you must be aware of how the bidding decisions you’re making impact your total online revenues. You will need to pull campaigns to focus queries on their position in the funnel. You can then employ a different attribution method to measure the effectiveness.

No matter what you decide to do, you must make sure that you don’t overvalue sales when you base your decisions solely on the ROAS of last-click attribution.

Smart Shopping Campaigns

Maybe you’ve begun to get some suggestions by Google representatives to try their smart shopping campaigns a shot and are trying to learn more about the campaign is about.

While we’ll not go too deep at the moment I’d like to provide an description of what Smart-Shopping Campaigns are and what can be expecting from these campaigns.

Check out the following video to learn more about the introduction for the Smart Shopping campaign on YouTube.

What Is Smart Shopping?

Smart Shopping is Google’s most recent black box solution that utilizes the full automation of the machine to market products via Google Merchant Center feeds. Google Merchant Center feeds.

The campaigns run throughout (nearly) every one of the Google properties and offer a great way to quickly expand beyond Display and YouTube without any additional effort at your end.

I have used the phrase “black box” above simply because Google keeps all information close to its chests in this type of campaign.

If you manage an Smart Shopping campaign, you are unlikely to gain details about which search terms drove your campaigns, what people are being targeted by Google and which of those Google platforms your ads are delivering to and what your success rate is.

Of course, this is an option worth considering.

Although Smart Shopping campaigns can be extremely successful in generating revenue and sales with little effort This also means you cannot profit from any insights gained from Shopping campaigns for use into Search campaigns (for instance, finding keywords that are successful in Search campaigns and then targeting them in Search as specific terms).

Should You Use Smart Shopping?

The lack of information mentioned above could have implications, it’s not advised to overlook a campaign’s entire type on Google and, in my company we’ve tried to find a compromise between testing the latest and greatest features of Google’s technology automation… and as and not losing years or months of important information in my client’s accounts.

We have observed Smart Shopping perform better than our sophisticated query filtering structures (noted earlier). Our structures have been able to outscore Smart Shopping in tracked, and high intent terms, as well as the profitability.

However I am a fan of experimenting with using Smart Shopping with a portion of our products , and to remain with our majority of our products in a more sophisticated campaign strategy.

This allows us to make use of Google’s machine-learning algorithms, which typically provide lower CPCs and greater placement possibilities (especially on YouTube and the GDN) to showcase our products. GDN or YouTube) to highlight our products that are much more likely to be bought by a broad audience.

For instance, we can make a custom label in our Shopping Feed for the Top 25 items with more than 500 reviews that are 4.5 stars or higher.

We then select these well-rated, popular items and present them in an Smart Shopping campaign. While doing this we maintain the other products separated out using a more manual Standard campaign in order to collect our data and make sure we’re acquiring useful mid to lower funnel phrases.

There is much to explore and study. However, I am not sure if I want to run only Smart Shopping in an entire account. I’m afraid of losing such vital information as time passes.