It's that time of the year again! Retail advertisers are ramping up their digital efforts and ironing out their eCommerce strategies. Then, Google rolls out new exciting product updates.
September was a busy month with several Google Shopping updates coming out, just in time for merchants to prepare for the holiday season.
So sit back, pour yourself a cup of coffee and take a look at these new Google Shopping features and updates.
New Google Merchant Tools
Google Merchant Center has released new tools for merchants, upgraded feed rules and is suggesting high-value opportunities for merchants.
Probably the biggest change is changing the terminology and structure of their feeds. They have renamed their regular shopping feeds to Primary Feeds and introduced Supplemental Feeds.
Think of it as your normal shopping feed that allows you to remove and add products from and to your feed. If the primary feed includes all the required data from Google Merchant Center, then it can be the only feed you submit to Google.
If the primary feed doesn’t include all the required data, or you want to enhance this feed with additional data, you can use the supplemental feeds.
They are used to enhance existing data from the primary feed. It cannot be used as the main data source, but it has to be connected to the primary feed through the id attribute. Moreover, it cannot be used to add or remove products from the feed.
You can use supplemental feeds in addition to your primary feeds to:
- add or modify promotional information
- add or modify custom labels
- replace values
- add GTINs
Primary feeds and Supplemental feeds are under Products>Feeds(new) in your Google Merchant Center Admin account.
Google Merchant Opportunities
Are created to help advertising retailers improve their feed data and campaigns with tailored recommendations.
Until now, merchants had the Diagnostics tab where they could see all the items that were not compliant with Google’s requirements.
Now, they’ve taken everything a step further and added the Opportunities tab. With opportunities, retailers can see where they can improve the campaigns, which products can be modified and how these changes will impact the overall shopping costs.
The opportunities highlighted at this point are limited to a few product data and campaign recommendations, but we should expect to see more in the coming months like:
- Product data opportunities: missing GTINs, missing gender, missing age group and mismatched prices;
- Campaign opportunities: budget raising and bid lowering.
Other upgrades to the Merchant Center suite include:
- team-based Merchant Center accounts with Admin and Standard users
- new feed rules
- changed processing notifications to send emails only if the valid items in a feed drops by 5%
Expand internationally with a single source feed
One of the major hassles for the merchants, who want to sell internationally, is creating dedicated feeds and landing pages for the countries they want to sell in.
Merchants can now sell in 21 out of the 37 Google Shopping countries by submitting a single English master feed. Some of the countries that accept English feeds are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Netherlands, New, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey. Here you can find the complete list.
After the feed compliance, the next roadblock used to be the currency, which is also handled efficiently with the Currency Conversion tool.
Google Currency tool automatically shows the product prices in the local currencies.
If you want to know how it works, some of the advantages and how to start using it, we’ve covered it in detail in this post dedicated to the Google Currency Conversion tool.
Using your English feeds and Google’s conversion tool is a powerful combo to have your products sold in other countries with very little setup.
New shopping reporting and metrics
New metrics and reporting for Google Shopping campaigns have been added to the recently released Adwords interface.
Product Status report
Shows the status on individual products in the shopping campaign:
- Disapproved – if a product is disapproved in Google Merchant Center, meaning that it is not showing up in the Google Shopping results;
- Inactive – if the product has been excluded from the campaign;
- Approved – the number of products that meet the Merchant Center requirements;
- Active – the products that meet the requirements and are not excluded;
- Not ready to serve – if the products are out of stock;
- Ready to serve – the products are active, approved and in stock.
This is a nifty report since it gives valuable insights on product level and it helps you prioritize your efforts.
Let’s say you add performance data like Clicks and Conversion to this report and you can decide how to better allocate your resources. You can start by prioritizing the disapproved products that have the best performance.
Top Spot Impression Share
Is a new metric that shows merchants: the percentage of impressions you received divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive.
If your Top Impression share is low it means that you need to make some bidding adjustments or improve the ad quality. Attributes that impact the ad quality are relevant product titles, accurate categorization, and high-quality images.
Product Listing Updates in Europe
A few months ago we were asking ourselves if the €2.42 Billion Fine was going to change the shopping advertising landscape in the short or medium term. And we have a partial answer to that. Recently, Google has announced that it will feature the ads of the other Comparison Shopping Engines next to their product listing ads in Google Shopping.
This means more screen real estate for the CSEs, who can now advertise on Google Shopping in Europe on behalf of the merchants that list their products on their websites.
You can see how the product listing ads advertised directly from Google Shopping are branded ‘’by Google’’.
We haven’t seen any CSE’s advertising on Google Shopping yet, but we should expect to see a similar branding style. For example, ‘’by PriceRunner’’ or ‘’by Kelkoo’’.
This change can open up a lot of implications, but it’s too early to tell.
With the holidays just around the corner, now is the time to start fine tuning your advertising strategy.
This year, e-commerce retail sales are expected to maintain the growth trend from past years, but at the same time, the competition is going to be ruthless.These Google Shopping features should get you in good shape for the holidays.
If you have questions or comments to share, write us in the comments section below.