Building the perfect campaign on the Google Shopping channel - tips from Emmanuel Flossie (Feedarmy)

Gabe
Shopify Staff
Shopify Staff

Setting up and building the perfect campaign on the Google Shopping channel - tips from the founder of Feedarmy himself!

 

An interview with Emmanuel Flossie from Feedarmy

 

em_01.png

 

Would you love to unleash the unbridled power of the Google Shopping Channel into your shop so that your products show up in all their glory if somebody uses Google Search or clicks into one of your ads on Google? Well then read on and you will find out how to do that. 

 

Not from us…but from the expert in town -> Emmanuel Flossie from the one and only Feedarmy

 

Emmanuels short bio

Emmanuel started as a warehouse packing boy for one of the UK's biggest snow-chain and car-roof-rack retailers. After a few years, he asked to help improve the website and after a few months of experimenting, they allowed him to improve and learn while working. Emmanuel's two bosses had taught him a lot about selling products and his great work on the website resulted in him starting to manage the company’s advertising, which gave him the building blocks to start being very interested in Google and how to use Google Shopping.

 

Emmanuel's passions are absorbing information, spending time in the garden growing delicious Thai fruits, playing with the cats and relaxing by playing games. 

 

This article is composed of the most important things you need to consider when building your Google channel for success with best tips coming from Emmanuel. While listing products on Google shopping may seem easy, for most merchants it's challenging to navigate all the requirements and policies. With over 12+ years of eCommerce experience, a 6-year tenure as a Google Ads Product Expert and helping the Shopify community for several years, Emmanuel has accumulated a lot of knowledge and experience in this particular area.

 

Google’s rules and regulations…ugh!

One of the many pitfalls with Google is how strict they are with the sheer volume of policies required! This can be difficult for any merchant to understand in one sitting, especially seeing that Google's guidelines are never-ending and updated or changed every month! But read on and hopefully this article will provide you with a transformative experience!

 

With this article we will take you through the best steps to take and help you to avoid the traps that so many merchants fall into when they experience difficulties and even suspensions. The following are some great tips for long-term growth on Google from Emmanuel and his tips will combine policies, experiences, unwritten rules, as well as industry standards that are crucial to success on Google.

 

Pro-Tip 1: along with the policies from the Google Merchant Center, you must also comply with the Google Ads policies. So let's read on to find out how to “work smart and successfully” and avoid a suspension from Google.

 

The first step - your shop’s compliance

Before you try to install a data feed app or connect the feed to Google, it is essential to check your overall website compliance. This is important because if you get suspended, it's harder to get approved by Google again after that. So it’s best to maximize your approval probability by avoiding the most common and easily “avoidable” reasons for a suspension.

 

Make sure that you have the following up-to-date pages linked in the footer of every page:

  • Your Privacy Policy
  • Your Terms & Conditions
  • The Shipping Policy
  • A Contact Us page
  • A robust Returns & Refund policy
  • A Payment Policy
  • An About Us Page

 

It’s better to also add:

 

Please note that it is important to avoid copying and pasting policies from other websites; instead, use a policy provider to write the content for you. See below for some apps and online tools that can help to keep your policies up to date:

 

Many companies provide auto-generated policies following a guided Q and A, or have someone professionally write it for you. The essential pages you don't want to copy are the shipping policy, returns & refund, and about us.

 

The second step - your shop’s branding and details are important

The second most important part is to add accurate contact details. Avoid using free email addresses such as @gmail.com or @hotmail.com. Instead, try using a “branded” email address that matches your domain name such as help@yourdomain.com. Words like "info" or "support" in your email can also be increasingly classified as “spammy” by Google or Spamcop so maybe use your imagination to say the same thing in your email branding but with different words.

 

It’s all about trust!

While Google only asks for one contact method, if you have a new website or are planning to connect to Google Merchant Center then you should have multiple contact methods to demonstrate and build trust with your customers. We also recommend adding your email address, phone number, business address, contact form, social links, and business hours.

 

You might have noticed we wrote build trust, which is one of the most significant areas Google looks at. There are multiple ways to show trust, for example, by having a public presence, such as a Facebook page where the about us details match your website details, Google Business Profile, having reviews, etc.

 

Or, if you have linked accounts such as PayPal, ensure your details match Google's and your website.

 

Make sure all product inventories are up to date and add your product availability status on the product landing page, which means in or out of stock. See more on that here.

 

Do not use automated Geo IP-based modifications. For example, Google does not allow websites to modify a website's content or behavior based on a user's location.

Instead, if you want users to have a different currency, provide a currency drop-down.

 

Pro-Tip 2: To maximize your reach, you can localize your ads by submitting native currencies and languages in your data feed. See some app suggestions below.

 

The last part that some merchants often forget is adding the policies in the checkout. Ensure you include your privacy policy, terms and conditions, shipping, and the returns & refund policy. And in reality, you must also add your contact details. However, Shopify does not provide such a page in the checkout.

 

Do not block users' email addresses (even if they look strange) or have a checkbox requiring users to accept your terms and conditions. These are some of the most common issues we see on a website.

 

Pro-Tip 3: Create a Google Merchant Center account first, using the official website here.

 

It is recommended to create your account this way so that you have full ownership and can convert to an advanced account if you have multiple branded websites or target multiple countries with different top-level domains.

 

Once you have created your Google Merchant Center account, fill out all the necessary details, such as business details, shipping, returns, verify & claim your website and then link 3rd party accounts such as Google Business Profile, Google Ads, and Paypal. After completing everything, you are now ready to link up your website using a Google Shopping App. One of the best data feed apps on the market is Multiple Google Shopping Feeds

 

It has an easy setup guide for merchants who quickly and accurately want to set up a feed. It also has the ability for advanced users to fine-tune every little detail. In addition, this app has an advanced mode that allows you to set up rules, regular expressions, custom attributes, etc. It's genuinely an excellent app for beginners and advanced users. This app also supports the localization of currencies and languages.

 

After you have submitted your data feed to Google Merchant Center, you can improve the quality of the feed by following the recommendations and requirements here. The more attributes you add with quality content, the higher your product ranking will be, which results in better performance and lower CPCs (cost per clicks).

 

The top attributes we recommend you focus on are:

  • Use the title [title] attribute (see here).
  • Use the description [description] attribute (see here).
  • Use the short title [short_title] attribute (see here).
  • Use the product type [product_type] attribute (see here).
  • Use the product highlight [product_highlight] attribute (see here).

 

And for variants also focus on:

  • Use the color [color] attribute (see here)
  • Use the size [size] attribute (see here)
  • Use the age group [group] attribute (see here)
  • Use the gender [gender] attribute (see here)

Consider writing highly detailed content for titles based on what users are searching for. For example, the most common practice is to use the following sequence of information:

 

  • {Brand} + {Product Name} + {Variant Attributes} 

For example, Nike Air Force 1 Men's Size 9 Blue Shoes would title the product of Nike sneakers in size 9 and in the color blue.

 

Use your existing data to see how users are finding your products, such as Google Ads data or Google Analytics, or even tools such as SpyFu. For your descriptions, ensure the first 145 characters are your sales pitch, meaning a paragraph that convinces a potential customer to click on your ad.

 

For your product type, use your website's breadcrumb navigation. It helps Google better understand what you sell. For product highlights [product_highlight], show the key features of your product. However, this attribute should be added using a supplement spreadsheet feed because it will most likely be unique for each product. So, go the extra mile and add these attributes!

 

GTINs and MPNs -> When submitting product identifiers, the following is crucial:

The following topic area is a bit technical but a necessary one in order to ensure that your products are correctly listed in Google. Our help doc on Google Product Data Violations is a great way to understand how to use GTINs and MPNs in Google correctly.

 

Issue 1

If a manufacturer has assigned a bar code, then you should submit the brand (vendor), MPN (if available), GTIN (barcode), and set “identifier exists” to yes. If the manufacturer has not assigned a bar code, remove the values brand, MPN, GTIN, and set identifier to no. See more on that here.

 

While the official Google documentation does mention that you can submit the brand and the MPN and ignore the GTIN, in most cases however, this will cause issues and generate warnings such as limited performance due to missing identifiers. See more on that here.

 

And as of June 2021, specific categories and/or countries require barcodes to be submitted, regardless if you have any. So, in this case, if you are the manufacturer, you need to get official GS1 barcodes.

 

 

Issue 2

 

A secondary reason for issues is when you use the SKU as the MPN value, which is incorrect. SKU stands for "stock keeping unit" and — as the name suggests — it is an alphanumeric value (usually eight alphanumeric digits) that retailers assign to products to keep track of stock levels internally.

 

An MPN, or manufacturer part number, is a manufacturer-assigned, unique, alphanumeric value used to identify a product among other products from the same manufacturer.

 

See more info on the differences between the different codes in the following Google documentation here:

 

 

If you are still getting the warning of “limited performance”

 

With certain apps, you will still have issues with warnings related to limited performance due to the app not correctly submitting the data (even if you set it up correctly). Therefore, we recommend you create a Google Merchant Center feed rule by going to Products -> Feeds -> click on your feed -> feed rules.

 

Click on the plus sign and create the following three rules.

 

  • GTIN attribute
    • [modification] If GTIN (processed) does not match regular expression ^\d{12,14}$ clear value
  • MPN attribute
    • [modification] if GTIN (processed) has no value then clear value
  • Brand attribute
    • [modification] if GTIN (processed) has no value then clear value
  • Product Identifier attribute
    • [data_sources] if GTIN (processed) has no value, set value to no

 

You can also view a guided tutorial here on YouTube that starts at 200s on the clock counter.

 

Issue 3

 

And lastly, try to avoid having any branding, logos, watermarks, or text on your images. Have them as natural as can be and according to one of the UX Design principles: WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get)!


And finally…the Google Ads

With advertising, your first step is to install conversion tracking with the enhanced feature, which allows you to track around 5 to 6% more conversions than usual. This is because with Apple’s ATT users can now opt-out of tracking, which means not all conversions can be tracked. By using enhanced conversion tracking, you can get some of that extra tracking back!

 

And of course, don't forget to install remarketing tracking and ensure that the ID value in the remarketing tag matches the ID value in the product feed.

 

Depending on how old your integration is, you can go to Google Ads -> tools and settings -> audience manager -> from the left-hand tab, click on your data sources -> in the Google Ads tag card, and click on details.

 

  • Here you want to view either [ecomm_prodid] or id
  • ID is the new parameter.
  • Here you check if the ID's match the ID's in the feed.

 

With Google Analytics Universal shutting down next year, keeping track of your traffic needs to be done by using Google Analytics 4. Here is a step-by-step guide on setting up GA4: 

 

 

We are nearly there! Now you have a choice. You either use standard shopping or performance max. Smart shopping is still an option for 2022. However, it will disappear this year in favor of performance max, which is the new campaign type. Are you a small business with regular sales? If you don't have time to manage your ads, use performance max. This works pretty well, but not perfect!

 

If you want to control your ads and see data or utilize an advertising expert like Emmanuel, we recommend using standard shopping. It allows you to manage every little detail. However, even for some of his clients, Emmanuel sometimes uses performance max, depending on the strategies, business type, performance, country, and goals. For standard shopping, when combined with priority settings, you can fine-tune how much you bid based on the intent of the search term. 

 

For example:

  • Create a high-priority campaign, bid low for generic search terms.
  • Bid medium for relevant search terms (medium priority campaign) and bid high for branded and converting search terms using a low priority campaign.

 

This is achieved by adding a negative keyword to the low priority campaign so that it ends up in the medium priority campaign (excluding relevant search terms). Then exclude branded and or converting search terms, to push them down in the low-priority campaign.

 

Google does not explain this strategy, but the tools are provided as you can read here. This does require more management, so this setup is not for everyone. If you are planning to use standard shopping, assign a shared budget to all three campaigns to prevent the setup from breaking. Because standard shopping only targets shopping ads, you must create text ads and display remarketing. 

 

When using Performance Max, you don't need to set up text and display. Instead, it is all integrated into one campaign.

 

Conclusion

There is much more to advertising than meets the eye. However, this article should provide you with the first few steps for kickstarting a successful advertising campaign on the Google Shopping channel.

 

Further resources:

Any Questions? See the Feedarmy Resources here and their video base here. Feel free to post any questions in the comments below too if you have any.

3 Comments