What is Google Shopping & Why is it Critical to your E-Commerce Shopping Cart?

What is Google Shopping & Why is it Critical to your E-Commerce Shopping Cart?

Google has officially taken on Amazon, and no one is talking about it! Lets go back to 2009, When Google quietly launched what would be known as Google Shopping. Sponsored Product Advertisements that showed a thumbnail of a vendors product along with the price, which at the time was outside anything else Google had done.   Originally, Google Shopping launched as Google Product Listing Ads. It started as a small beta and expanded to all US advertisers within 1 year. These were the good days, in the words of many advertisers at that time because Google was literally these giving out ads for free! Any advertiser could join the PLA program and get there products shown at the top of Google, above the Contextual Ads and Organic Results with a direct link back to the products sale page.

Early Screenshot of Google's Free PLA's

Fast Forward to 2016, and things have changed greatly. Google Shopping is now a part of the Adwords product line and is much more refined. Now nearly every time you search for a product, Google is showing sponsored advertisements above its contextual ads and organic SERP’s. This allows google to capture sales before a user ever opens an organic page, and its extremely efficient in doing so. Most end-users and advertisers are unaware that Google Shopping exists, but have many times actually used the service to purchase products.

PLAs, also known as Google Shopping Ads, are growing in popularity as an effective method to increase visibility and generate more sales. In fact, to get you excited, let me share some neat stats. Google PLA click volume grew nearly five times faster than Google text ad volume in the second quarter of 2016. Also, according to a report by performance marketing agency Merkle Group Inc., Google Shopping Ads are set to account for more than half of retailers’ paid search clicks by the end of the year.

Google conveniently shows products related to your search time and typically they are aggressively priced, causing many users to complete the sale before there searching process even begins. This can be a huge head ache to vendors such as Amazon or Ebay, because the sales are diverted and closed before a user ever sees there website.

Ebay learned to play the game and made a deal to include all its users Listings within the Google Shopping framework, allowing them to recapture some of that marketshare. Ebay includes this service for free to its own advertisers in order to boast sales on its platform.

Amazon, however completely ignored Google Shopping, leaving its E-Commerce Marketplace at a huge lose in traffic. The issue at hand is Amazon previously worked closely with Google, considering they are by far the largest Adwords advertiser in the world. They would typically place thousands of contextual ads, capturing huge amounts of traffic and directing it into its E-Commerce Marketplace. The problem with Google Shopping is, it shows up before the contextual ads and is less expensive in general terms then standard adwords ads. This leaves amazon paying more for inferior text ads and also second place.

The larger issue for amazon, is it allows smaller E-Commerce sellers to capture traffic that otherwise would have went to Amazon and close the sale on their own website, effectively destroying Amazons “Scorched Earth” policies.  Amazon sees this as a direct threat to its existence, as its a clear since of Google attempting to rewrite the online buyer process. To this date, Amazon has refused to join in Google Shopping.

What does this mean for you?

As an E-Commerce vendor, getting users to your product listing pages to complete the sale is the hardest challenge with competing online. With mega marketplaces like Amazon and Ebay dominating organic search results and paying top dollar for contextual ads, it can feel nearly impossible to get your product in front of the right audience and close the sale.

Google Shopping is the solution for this problem, Product Listing Ads works with an advertiser’s Google Merchant Center account to serve highly targeted ads that include richer product information directly in the ad itself – including product image, price, and merchant name. It allows even the smallest of advertisers to affordably get the top position on Google, without paying $5 or $10 a click for bland text based advertisers and more importantly, without having to manage individual keywords. Cost Per Clicks are based on vertical competition rates but generallyI have seen clients have success as low as .05 cents a click. Google Shopping Ads are highly targeted, allowing you to get your customer directly to your products sale page and close the deal.

The New Google Shopping Ads!

Google Shopping with the proper conversion tracking and analytics configuration can give an advertisers exact stats down to the revenue per SKU, as well as other metrics such as Return On Investment(ROI), Return on Ad Spend(ROAS),the target cost-per-acquisition(CPA) and a whole range of other metrics. Google Shopping can be a great platform for your business to increase its revenue and built your brands online footprint, but it does require a rather complex setup. Once properly configured, it can be a great source of income for your online store. Because of the dynamics involved in setting up Google Merchant Center, E-Commerce Exact Revenue Conversion Tracking, and understanding what actions to take on the metrics provided, My recommendation is to seek a Certified Adwords Partner to setup and manage your campaign. Typically, a good adwords company will work directly with your company and analyze your goals to create a proper pricing package. You will typically be assigned a Qualified Adwords Proffesional to manage your campaign that will work with you on a regular basis. Always verify that the company you work with is in fact a Certified Partner using the Google Adwords Partner Search, and you can even go a step further to make sure your account manager has the Google Shopping Certificate.

VioxDigital is a Certified Adwords Partner and has extensive experience in managing Google Shopping Campaigns. All our account managers have past the Google Shopping Exam and are in good standing. Contact us today to get started on your Google Shopping Adwords Campaign started at +1 888-670-8718.


I have worked in the Web Design & Development industry for over 15 years and created over 300 websites(I lost count a while ago). I have held positions at the executive level(CTO & CTO) with 3 separate tech companies. I have helped several Fortune 500 companies and hundreds of small-mid sized businesses in establishing a brand and creating beautiful interactive websites. I frequently find myself managing LAMP stacks, learning new programming languages and working on amazing new ideas! I love spending time with my amazing wife and son, and helping business owners expand! Currently working on a top secret project that will change the world.

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