Getting Ahead of the Holiday Season with Google Shopping Features
Google doesn't just play an important step in the holiday gift-buying experience, it's often the very first step shoppers take in their journey. Over 50 percent of global consumers use Google for product discovery via searches like “bird house gift” and “bird lovers presents.”
Google’s Shopping Campaigns, specifically, are designed for eCommerce merchants and retailers to showcase products in a visual manner. As a platform, Google Shopping is made for comparison shopping, making it terrifically suited for the holiday season.
And quite the holiday shopping season it will be. eMarketer projects this season's ecommerce sales will top $206.88 billion.
In this post, we list some key Google Shopping features and a quick setup guide so you can start selling your products on Google ASAP. We also unpack key benefits of using Google Shopping Ads versus Search Ads. Happy holiday selling.
How Google’s product search dominance can help your holiday strategy
If you want to drive traffic to your online store this holiday, Google Shopping Campaigns should top your ecommerce marketing strategy. Google gets about 1 billion shopping sessions a day, according to Matt Madrigal, VP of Google Shopping. And consumer searches have more than tripled versus last year.
Meanwhile, one-third of all paid clicks on Google’s search results go to shopping ads—representing a not-to-be-ignored opportunity for eCommerce merchants who want to boost sales and attract customers.
Google Shopping ads live above the organic and paid search results. Think of them as prime marketing real estate.
They’re the first thing a user sees when they search for a product. They’re eye-catching, featuring thumbnail product images set in a bare-bones layout that displays the attributes consumers care most about.
If you run your own Wix online store, think of Google Shopping ads as just another traffic lever to pull. You can even use the Wix App Market to sync directly with your Google Shopping feed in a matter of minutes.
Also, aside from serving as a traffic-driver, Shopping ads are an added way to build awareness for your brand. Before most people will buy from you, they’ll want to know who you are. Before you can win over shoppers’ hearts, you’ll need to win over their attention. And Google’s expansive search network can ensure you get in front of millions of eyeballs. Considering that setup is quick, you’ll be able to get your campaigns up and running before peak holiday activity begins.
Pro tip: Shopping ads are easy to set up. The information displayed in a Shopping ad is pulled directly from a data or shopping feed in your Google Merchant Center (GMC). You need a GMC account to run shopping ads on Google. The GMC lets you manage how your inventory appears in Google’s search results. Merchants must create a GMC account and link it to their Google Ads account before they can launch Shopping Campaigns on Google. We’ll provide some step-by-step guidance below.
Choose Google Shopping ads over Search ads these holidays
There are very good reasons why merchants should use Shopping ads instead of Search ads this holiday season. For one, online merchants tend to see 30 percent higher conversion rates from Shopping ads than Search ads. With holiday sales being an important part of customer acquisition and retention, any uptick in conversions can deliver long-term benefits to your business.
To be clear, “Shopping” and “Search” are two different types of campaigns within the Google Ads platform. While search campaigns rely on keywords to trigger ads, Shopping campaigns focus on your product catalog or feed. Google’s algorithm figures out if the product you’re selling is relevant to the user’s keyword search.
With Search campaigns, advertisers connect keyword lists to relevant ad copy. So a bird supply store would create a list of relevant keywords like “bird house” and “bird seed” which they add to their campaign. They would then write an ad that is triggered by the campaign.
A Search ad for the term “bird houses” looks like this:
This isn’t nearly as eye-catching as a Shopping ad for the same keyword search. Shopping ads give merchants the ability to visually display their products. But in addition to images, Shopping ads display important information like brand, item name, price, store URL, and star ratings.
Shopping ads make it easy for searchers to instantly see (and compare) the information they care most about when considering a purchase. Things like product images, prices, store name, and ratings appear front and center. Considering that comparison shopping is a major factor in the holiday buying process, Google Shopping ads are better than Search ads at matching buyer intent.
Unlock holiday sales with these Google Shopping features
With 62 percent of shoppers expecting to increase their online holiday purchases, this year’s shopping season promises to be record-breaking. 2021 not only promises to extend the eCommerce momentum seen in 2020, shoppers are ramping up their shopping habits as they look to avoid supply chain snags and make up for lost time with family. Forecasts from Bain, Deloitte, and Mastercard predict holiday sales will grow 7 percent this year. Meanwhile, eCommerce sales are projected to grow by 11 to 15 percent compared with the 2020 holiday season.
Large retailers are seeing signs, even now, that consumers are ready and willing to spend: US consumers, for instance, spent more in September than expected. DICK’S Sporting Goods plans to hire more seasonal associates for the 2021 holiday shopping season than in their entire 73-year history. Home Depot already sold out of their early release Halloween decorations.
There’s no better time for all eCommerce merchants to leverage the power of Google Shopping than the holiday season.
The following are some key features available for Google Shopping campaigns that we think you should take advantage of:
Merchant promotions: Retailers can attach promotions and offers like “free shipping” or “curbside to products that appear in Shopping ads and free product listings. Offers help your ads stand out from other product listings. Google displays “special offer” links on desktop and mobile devices which, when clicked, provide details about the offer and a call-to-action button, as shown here. Always on the hunt for a good bargain, holiday shoppers can be persuaded to shop from your online store with the right offer is listed.
Local inventory ads: Global searches for locally available products (e.g., “available by me”) increased by more than 100 percent last year. With Local inventory ads, merchants can display product availability for nearby shoppers, post health & safety information, pickup options, hours, and more. When the user clicks the ad, they land on either your website or on a local storefront page hosted by Google. Shoppers will surely be turning more to local retail this holiday season given the rising supply chain issues affecting international shipping.
Business identity attributes: US merchants can assign identity attributes to let searchers know more about their businesses. Attributes include: Black-owned, Latino-owned, Veteran-owned, and Women-owned and are shown in the Google Shopping tab. People want to know how they can support these types of businesses, even during the holiday season. Ensuring you self-identify accordingly will allow those purpose-driven customers to flock to your website.
Free and fast shipping: “Free and fast” shipping annotations give merchants the option to display these perks on their Google Shopping ads. You need an active GMC account and to be opted into Shopping ads or free listings. You also need to enable web conversion tracking in Google Ads and (of course) have active products that qualify for free and fast shipping. Finally, “free and fast” shipping must appear on your website’s product or detail pages and at checkout.
Other shipping annotations: In addition to the “free and fast” annotation, you can add shipping annotations to let shoppers know more about shipping speed and cost for your products. Google searches for “next day delivery” increased 70 percent over the past year, so allowing shoppers to see exactly when their orders will arrive is an important differentiator. Timely delivery becomes even more important during this time of year. Some examples of shipping options include, “free delivery by,” “1- to 3-day shipping,” and “ship for free in 5 business days.”
Return annotations: Put shoppers at ease and differentiate your store at the same time. Return annotations enable merchants to display return options directly from their Shopping ads. Options like “Free 90-day returns” and “Free returns until Jan 31” let shoppers know your return policies before the click. Given that a sizable portion of holiday purchases ended up getting returned every year, upfront messaging about product returns can help immensely when it comes to converting shoppers.
Quick guide: Setting up your Google Shopping holiday campaigns
Google Ad Help provides detailed instructions on how to create a Google Shopping campaign, so we’ll just provide a quick overview here. You’ll need Google Ads and Google Merchant Center accounts before you can set up your holiday campaigns.
Once that’s taken care of, here are the steps:
From your Google Ads account, click Campaigns, then click the “plus” button to create a new campaign.
Select “Shopping” for your campaign type.
Define your campaign characteristics including campaign name, Country of sale, inventory you want to promote, bidding type, daily budget, networks, devices, and more. You’ll also link your GMC to your Google Ads account from the Campaigns tab.
Create your first ad group, choosing from either Product Shopping (recommended for new advertisers) or Showcase Shopping ads. You can set your ad group bid in this section. Save the ad group then select “all products” (if you want to advertise all products) or break products down by group for more control over bidding by category.
Google Shopping ads can help you reach holiday shoppers, but of course you need an eCommerce website first. Learn more about how you can sell with Wix and reach your customers wherever they shop.
Maximize your sales this holiday season by connecting your Wix online store with Google Shopping, using the Wix App Market.
Head of Outbound Marketing, Wix eCommerce
Bogar leads thought leadership and outbound marketing for Wix eCommerce. He has an extremely soft spot for all things eCommerce, retail, tech, content, and marketing.