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How Brand Manufacturers Can Master Google Shopping
Let's look at ways to make your brand visible on Google Shopping, draw shoppers to your products, be brand-compliant and drive sales on the platform.
If your products are featured on Google Shopping, you've probably discovered that creating a solid brand presence is much more than simply listing your products and waiting for sales to roll in. In this blog, we'll take a look at ways to make your brand visible, draw shoppers to your products and be brand-compliant on the Google Shopping platform.
What we'll talk about in this blog:
- What is Google Shopping?
- Google Shopping Ads
- The Google Manufacturer Center
- Upload products with Data Feed
- Optimised Product Information
- Google Product Categorisation
- Google Product Ratings
- Benefits for Brands
What is Google Shopping?
Google Shopping is a Google service where shoppers search, compare and (in some countries directly on the platform) shop for physical products. The service is the start line for your potential customers when searching for products online via Google.
Google Shopping bots search across different online stores for the product being sought and display the results. Google Shopping results typically show up as thumbnail images that can display the product’s title, price, delivery info, features, the store or business name, (number of) seller(s) and ratings & reviews.
Product Ranking on Google Shopping is based on a combination of relevancy, advertiser bids and the searchers' (previous) Google activities.
Google Shopping for Brand Manufacturers
As a brand manufacturer, you can directly list products on Google Shopping. Ensure you include as much high-quality info as you can through a data feed in Google Merchant Center (and Google Manufacturer Center, but we'll touch on that later).
Certain product attributes such as your products' title, description, category, landing page link, image link, price and availability are required. The more info you provide, the more relevant your listings and ads are going to be.
In principle, every webshop administrator can upload their product information to the Google Merchant Center. If resellers listed your brands' products on Google Shopping, you lose a certain amount of control over how your products are being displayed. Keep reading to find out how you can be present on Google Shopping and at the same time get more control!
Google Shopping Ads
Googles' Comparison Shopping Engine (CSE) allows you to advertise products to potential customers and directly sell products on the platform in some countries. Google Shopping Ads make up 60% of all Google Ads clicks (source: Yotpo).
Promoting your products to buyers who search for what you offer on Google can help increase sales, your brand visibility and draw new customers to your webshop.
Sponsored Google Shopping results are found at the top of a Google results page.
If you want to advertise your products for sale on Google (after you've listed your products via the Google Merchant Center), you:
- Link your Google AdWords account
- Create a Google Shopping campaign
- Place bids on your Shopping campaign
- Target and schedule your Shopping campaign
- Build ad groups
Use 'Merchant Promotions' to highlight promotions
Who doesn’t want more value for money? Use the 'Merchant Promotions' option in Merchant Center to highlight the following promotions for your products:
- Discounts: Discounts must be at least 5% off and reflected at the shopping cart or checkout.
- Free gifts: It can't be samples or trials, and in the case of a gift card, the value must be stated and from your own store.
- Free shipping: Free or discounted (with redemption code) shipping.
Promotions display as a clickable note that states 'special offer'. When you click, more details about the promotion appear. Adding promotions is free, but any cost-per-click rates still apply. Promotions are available in the following countries: Australia, France, Germany, India, the UK, Canada, and the US. To add promotions, you must have a Google Merchant Center account with an active products feed.
The Google Manufacturer Center
As a manufacturer selling online, you want:
- To be able to show correct and high-quality product information across all your sales channels.
- Your branding and messaging to be consistent – be brand-compliant.
- To be able to increase sales across all your key retail partners.
The Google Manufacturer Center is intended to let brand manufacturers correctly represent products to shoppers on Google Shopping and other Google services. The Manufacturer Center is only available to manufacturers, brand owners, and brand licensors.
This way, the Google Manufacturer Center lets you take control of your brands' product information such as high-quality images, optimised product titles, descriptions and videos. This product information provided by you as 'the single truth' will then also be used in seller and reseller ads, containing all the relevant and up-to-date info.
Upload Products with Data Feed
Remember, the more detail you can provide, the more relevant your traffic will be.
From The Merchant Center
As mentioned before, Google will extract product details such as pricing, availability and retailer information from the Google Merchant Center after you uploaded your products with a data feed. Certain product attributes are required to submit to your data feed in Google Merchant Center, such as your:
- Products' title
- Product category
- Product type
- Landing page link
- Image link
Make sure that your inventory and prices are fresh and that you show the most up-to-date info in your feed. For instance, using Google's scheduled fetch option makes it possible for the merchant center to schedule a time (preferably daily) to fetch your data feed as your inventory changes.
TIP: Free products listings ensure that your products can be found in the organic search results. So no click prices. Enabling free product listings is not difficult, but it is sometimes overlooked.
From The Manufacturer Center
Next to the info you provide via the Merchant Center, you can include the below-mentioned product information fields in your Google Manufacturer Center as a brand. Provide shoppers with as extensive product details as possible. Positive shopping experiences, trust in your brand, and buying decisions can be stimulated by correct and complete information.
- ID: Preferably use your products' SKU or GTIN code. The id is for your own reference and will not be visible in your product listings and ads.
- GTIN: A unique product code.
- Brand: The official name of your brand
- Image link: A public link to a jpeg or png file - min. 800 x 800 pixels. Max 64 megapixels or 16 MB. Keep reading for more tips on providing the best images!
- Product Title & Description: Find some tips and recommendations below!
- MPN: A Manufacturer Product Number
- Product Line - This field is recommended if your products are divided into product lines, product families or collections. Use max 1000 characters. Use a product line that is recognisable to consumers but doesn't mention your company name.
- Additional images: The recommended limit is ten images per product. Include additional views of the product or images showing the result of the product.
- Product Category/Type
- Rich media: Such as images, videos, links or formatted descriptions.
- Feature descriptions: Add min. 2 and max 10 - For each feature description, you include a unique headline (max 140 characters) and text (250 to 700 characters). An image link is optional (jpeg or png - min. 800 x 800 pixels). When also uploading rich content, the feature description will be overwritten and not be shown.
- Product highlights: Recommended is to include 4-6 highlights, minimum 2, maximum 10 - 1 to 150 characters per highlight. Only include the relevant details and specifications of your product here, no keywords for SEO purposes.
- Video link: Add a public YouTube URL: Show your product from different angles or show the product in use.
- Product Page URL: A URL to your own product page with manufacturer product details.
- Rich product content: Recommended for highlighting features on products to appear in Google's From the Manufacturer section.
- Product details: This provides users with readable, structured data and enhances Googles' ability to surface individual products based on search queries.
Optimised Product Information
The Google Shopping experience is highly visual. It adds a visual touch to an otherwise text-heavy searching and shopping experience. Therefore, attractive product images play an essential role.
Because of that, it’s important to monitor and optimise product imagery and listings on your reseller's websites and to upload your own high-quality imagery via Manufacturer Center.
Ensure that images align with googles' rules and regulations to prevent penalties. Google recommends showing (as the main image) your product only on a solid white or transparent background.
If you want your products to be featured on Google Shopping, we advise following Google’s image guidelines from the start:
- Check image size and format requirements (mentioned above), and make sure you always adhere to the rules. If you don't, Google hands out penalties that can hurt sales;
- Use high-quality images to make it possible to zoom in and still see the image clearly. This will attract more shoppers;
- Focus on image content - after all, you want your products to take the spotlight. Accurately display the entire product and include as little or no environment as possible.
- Use a solid white or transparent background;
- Add additional pictures that display your products from all possible angles to help shoppers make a well-informed decision. The recommended limit is ten images per product. Include different views of the product or images showing the result of the product.
- Make sure your image shows all parts of the product. This way, users can see what's in the package.
- Additionally, customer pictures from reviews give shoppers confidence in you as a brand.
- Ensure your product takes up no less than 75% and no more than 90% of the entire image.
Recommended is to use 80 to 140 characters. Do not add promotional text and do not use CAPITAL LETTERS. Make sure to include all variant information in titles, including essential keywords for SEO purposes.
If a title does not include the following relevant information, Google can reject it: [product name] [brand] [specific information such as size, colour, etc. + keywords].
Google gives you 140 characters for your title, so use those characters to provide the shopper with all relevant information to form a complete picture of your product.
The limit is 10,000 characters, but we recommend using 500 to 1500 characters. Describe your product clearly and accurately. Place the most crucial info at the beginning of your description to make sure shoppers can instantly read it on all devices and don't need to click on it to read more.
Include only relevant and complete information about your products. Tie benefits to your product features; ultimately, customers are buying results and experiences. Describing product benefits can make your products come to life.
If you want to learn more about writing product descriptions, read our blog about product descriptions that sell.
Product Categorisation for Google Shopping
Your products' specified categories should help shoppers find your products easier in the search results. Being as specific as possible means your Google Shopping listings and ads are shown for the most relevant searches. This improves the customer journey leads to more sales.
Automatic Category assignment
Google's automatic category assignment uses attributes of your feed, such as titles and descriptions. So getting your product info accurate is also important for correct categorisation. That's why we recommend monitoring your product categories to ensure they are correct.
Product Category Attribute
You can manually override the automatic category assignment with the 'google_product_category’ attribute. Via Google's Manufacturer Center, you can add multiple product categories, but you need to separate them with a comma. Use ' > ' to separate multiple levels in a category.
The more detailed you include categories in your feed, the more accurately they can be classified and thus found by potential customers. It can be quite challenging since the categories that your sales channels and marketplaces are using do not correspond to the Google Shopping categories.
Google Product Ratings
Reviews are influential social proof and help your brand and products stand out on the Google Shopping shelf. A study even found that 94% of online purchases are made for products with an average star rating of 4 or 5 stars. (source: Sidecar)
As you can see in the image below, the first five Google Shopping results for HP Omen 15 inch show no product ratings. The organic results are not much better, with only one online store displaying reviews.
If you're the one displaying reviews, you are ahead of your competitors. Of course, it depends on if the ratings are positive. Research of PowerReviews and Northwestern University has shown that purchase probability peaks when a product’s average star rating is between 4.2 and 4.5. So if you can display a 4+ star rating, you stand out.
If you want to list your star rating to submit your product reviews to Google, you need to meet Googles' requirements and take action. So what do you need to do?
- Product ratings will only show for products with at least 3 reviews and if you have a minimum of 50 reviews across all your products.
- If you don’t currently collect reviews for the products you sell, you can begin doing so for free by signing up for Google Product Ratings. Product ratings can be shown in ads and free product listings on Google Shopping. For this, you need to send your full review feed at least once a month, if not more frequently.
Monitoring and extracting Ratings & Reviews from your eCommerce channels might sound like a hell of a job but can be done automatically. You can download all verbatim reviews and additional info on all eCommerce channels via SiteLucent API.
When you want to start adding reviews to your Google Shopping listings but don't match Google's requirements yet, you can start with generating customer reviews.
The Benefits of Google Shopping for Brands
If you (and your resellers) are not advertising your products on Google Shopping, you’re missing out because:
- Through Google Shopping, millions of people can discover, explore and buy your products.
- Google offers Shopping-campaigns with partners (beta) - Fund Google Shopping campaigns to increase traffic and sales on preferred key sales partners via Google Shopping.
- The platform is mobile-friendly, it's easy to set up, and users often have higher buying intentions.
- On average, Google Shopping Ads generate a 26% higher conversion rate and have a 12% lower cost per click than traditional search ads (source: WakeupData).
Okay, there are also some cons:
- You have less control over the search words you rank for.
- It's easy for shoppers to compare your products to competitors.
There are pros and cons to Google Shopping. Still, the tricks and tools to protect your brand online, the high conversion rates and low(er) costs show that it can certainly be worthwhile to delve into the Google Shopping possibilities and distinguish yourself from your competitors.
How can SiteLucent help?
Product titles, descriptions, prices and availability, provided via data feeds to Google Shopping, should match with the information on the (retailers') landing page. Also, image URLs mostly refer to retailer websites. It is therefore essential to daily monitor your key resellers':
"To measure is to know"! Monitoring the digital shelf can help you discover gaps and inconsistencies in product content daily, warn you when a product runs out of stock and measure your products' search rankings. From there, you can improve your presence and presentation online and exceed customers' expectations, not only on Google Shopping but on all eCommerce channels!
Monitor Google Shopping Offers
You can track Google Shopping offers with SiteLucent in the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Germany and 19 other countries.
What you can monitor daily:
- Seller (buy box winner) & possible other offers
- Article price
- Total price (including sending costs)
Get in touch with our sales specialists if you have questions about or are interested in monitoring Google Shopping offers.