Up until the fall of 2012, Google Shopping used the same search engine optimization algorithms as the regular search results, which meant retailers were able to market their products without spending extra money. Today, though, Google Shopping is a pay-per-play option that works much like Google Adwords and other pay-per-click advertising techniques.
How It Works
Retailers must choose the items they would like to feature and bid for spots in the Google Shopping results. Each time a browser clicks on a retailer’s link, the retailer pays for the privilege. This leaves many retailers to consider many factors to determine how to best use this feature of Google. They must think about how much of their marketing budget to set aside for this initiative, which products to feature and how to manage this area of their marketing efforts. It is up to online retailers to weigh the pros and cons to determine if Google Shopping is worth the money.
Online retailers can gain many benefits from the proper use of Google Shopping as an aspect of their search engine marketing plan. When you list your items on Google Shopping, you will obtain the following benefits:
- Reach a highly targeted audience that is more likely to convert into more sales for your business.
- Take advantage of an avenue consumers are already using to find what they need.
- Pay only for the consumers that actually click on your ad, not for the space itself.
- Advanced targeted options allow you to decide who will see your products for the greatest impact.
- Greater exposure to your top products, bringing consumers who are likely to buy other products as well.
- Control over which of your products are featured so you can showcase your best sellers.
- An attractive set up for consumers, allowing them to easily comparison shop and sort the results, which means more people may be exposed to your products.
As with all aspects of your marketing plan, it is important to evaluate the disadvantages as well so you can determine if it is worth the time and money it will cost your business. Some of the disadvantages of using Google Shopping for online retailers include:
- Bidding wars over certain products can drive up the price of your advertising beyond what you are willing or able to pay.
- Smaller retailers are at a disadvantage to larger retailers that are able to spend larger amounts of money on their search engine marketing.
- It can be difficult to determine the cost vs. return on investment, leaving you to wonder if Google Shopping is worth it for each individual product.
- One minor mistake can cause a great number of problems with your listing, which can lead to loss of sales.
- The management of this type of campaign can be time consuming and confusing for some users, requiring outside help.
Getting Started with Google Shopping
Once you have made the determination to move forward with Google Shopping as part of your marketing efforts, you need to learn how to get started and create a strategy. First, you need to determine which of your products are likely to attract the most customers and which ones are your best sellers. These are the products with which you are more likely to see a better return on investment.
After you have selected the products you want to showcase through Google Shopping, you need to compare your products to the others already available through this avenue. Make sure all your products are search engine optimized in the meta tags, descriptions and other content to boost your efforts. Look at pricing and make sure you offer competitive pricing so you aren’t disappointed in the results, or lack thereof.
Bidding on the listings for Google Shopping can be one of the most difficult aspects, especially when you are first starting out. The best thing to do is choose a product you can list for a lower rate to gauge how it fares. Once you are familiar with how it works, you can add more products to gain more exposure for your Online Store.
Monitoring your success is an important element to ensure your success. Keep a close eye on the level of traffic that comes directly from Google Shopping, as well as how many clicks each item creates. Compare the number of clicks to the number of sales that occur from those clicks to determine the return on investment for your campaign. With the right tools, you will be able to see whether your products are successful or not.
Google Shopping is a great tool for many businesses. While it isn’t the perfect option for all businesses, when you look closely at the advantages and disadvantages, you will be able to make the decision that is right for your Online Store. With the exposure you will gain and the traffic you will generate, being able to pay only for the clicks you use can be a great way to spread out your online marketing budget.