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How to Improve Customer Conversion in 2020 with TOP Google Shopping Updates

2019 was a busy year for Google! They have played catch-up on the eCommerce front by introducing a range of new features. Retailers and marketers could be pleasantly surprised when logging into their Google Merchant Center accounts. Several new updates bring major improvements to both brands and consumers.


From automatic image enhancement to the frictionless shopping experience of Shopping Actions - the latter displaying an uncanny resemblance to Amazon's shopping experience.



Curious how these changes may affect your PPC campaigns in 2020?

Here is a recap of the top features announced in 2019 and a few priceless tips on how to use them this year to outsmart the competitors.


Table of Contents


Shoppable Ads on Google Image

Google has brought shoppable lifestyle content into Google Images results


Shopping Actions Updates

Google aims to establish partnerships with retailers and to push back on Amazon


Enforcement for unique product identifiers

Google no longer requires GTINs, but retailers cannot game the system anymore


Automatic Image Improvement Feature 

Google automatically fixes unaccepted images by removing promotional overlays


Automated Feeds available globally - multicountry feeds 

Google enables Merchants to reach multiple countries with a single feed submission


Final Thoughts


Shoppable Ads on Google Image


Google cites some recent studies. It claims that around 50 percent of online shoppers were inspired to purchase by product images. Following this tendency, more and more shoppers are also turning to Google Images when browsing for their next purchase.


The problem is that for broad search terms the results are overwhelming and uninspiring. This is why new Ad formats that connect sellers to visual shoppers on Google Images were needed. Shoppable Ads make search results more useful by turning it into the next frontier for product discovery. It gives people the opportunity to buy the products they’re not only looking for but also the ones they discover.


For shoppers, it’s way more appealing as it is not just one product on a flat background. They see a depiction of a lifestyle - an example of what you can achieve.  It lets advertisers highlight multiple products within a single ad unit. These ad units will appear among Google Images results and behave like shoppable pins on Pinterest or Instagram.


Ads appear in image search results and are labeled as “sponsored” as well. Like on mentioned platforms, they are tagged for sale and the prices just like the brand and other information. They are all revealed as soon as the user hovers over the price icon. 


This is an additional step toward opening up Shopping to upper-funnel audiences. With rich media ads that surface for broad search queries is much more likely to convert. This is where better content - lifestyle content comes in. It is inspirational by nature.


HubSpot Video

source: Google


Do you still wonder why should you care about Google Shoppable Ads? Let us tell you the reasons.


  • First of all, consumers expect it to be the norm. Google follows Instagram’s “Product Posts” and Pinterest’s “Shop the Look”. That's because shoppers want those experiences to be common. Clickable product tags to provide information on all of the products in the imagery meet shoppers’ desires.


  • You need to be an early bird to catch the worm. Take inspiration in the most innovative brands to outsmart others. It is worth to invest your money and efforts into promising developments before they get bid.


  • Last but not least - the huge scale of the search stage is the reason you should put your attention into new ad units. Thanks to Google Shoppable Ads you can efficiently reach a wide audience. This is a great chance to influence their further shopping journey.


Get Ready for Google Shoppable Ads


  • Select images:
    By elevating your aesthetic on Google you will stand out among multiplied image bots. Make sure you're selecting the best possible images that will grab the shoppers' attention. Check out our tips on how to select the best image.


  • Follow your data and prioritize it:
    Start with analytics to localize the most viewed products. Then, ensure to get the most shoppable and lifestyle image content for those.


  • Deploy your imagery and do A/B tests:
    This is a trusted way to get familiar with the way your audience engages. It helps to justify your spendings on content with ROI also.



Return to top of page or download the Ultimate Google Merchant Center Handbook

Shopping Actions Updates


Shopping Actions is a streamlined, friction-less shopping experience. First released in March 2018 but got updated and improved lately. As Google has struggled with marketing of the separate properties, they have decided to enhance and add new features to existing assets. And this is how Google Express was replaced as Google Shopping Actions with one universal cart. Program is still available for users in US in France only.


It allows online shoppers to reach a brand’s products on multiple Google surfaces. This is a significant piece of strategy to push back on Amazon. Google aims to establish partnerships with retailers. The goal is also to allow customers to easily turn browsing into buying.


Immediate purchase is possible by using a universal shopping cart and instant checkout. Payment credentials are stored in Google accounts. The order is then shipped to the customer.





As Google will handle sales, support, and returns, you will still be responsible for fulfillment.  Shopping Actions will probably stay complimentary with already existing Google Shopping Campaigns. The model of payment is pay per sale, so expenses rise along with the success of sales.


Why you should care:


  • The ability to find the lowest prices:
    As we are all aware Amazon is frequently criticized for not offering this. A price-tracking feature lets users receive notifications - they are informed when the prices on tagged items drop.

  • Recommendations that are not only omnichannel but first of all personalized:
    Consumers see shopping suggestions based on their shopping or search histories, and lists they have made.

  • Possibility to buy online or locally:
    There is an option for an online/pick up in-store if that’s supported by the retailer. Google says it has mapped more than 2 billion products to local retailers.


This is a meaningful ambition of Google to remain relevant in the retail sector. Now, when Shopping Actions are alive and updated it becomes clear that merchants need to adopt this experience. Especially if they want to get prominent visibility across various Google advertising surfaces.



google-shopping-actions-updatessource: Google


Wondering how to start with Shopping Actions and optimize?


You can set up and manage the program through new sections in already existing Google Merchant Center property. You can view inventory data, tax, and shipping settings as it is with other campaigns in GMC.


You can also view Retailer Standards there which is a monthly rating system for Google to reward or penalize participants of the program. 


It’s a definitely high time to look into this unfolding eCommerce opportunity. You should do it with the Retailer's Guide to Growth with Google Shopping Actions. Here you can find tips to upgrade your performance and optimize your campaigns to increase ROI. You can easily find the answers to all the searing questions you have:


What is Google Shopping Actions

Benefits and implications for merchants

Machine Learning

Getting on the program 

Shopping Actions program standards for retailers

Feed Requirements 

Is Google Shopping Actions right for me? 


Whether or not you find Google Shopping Actions as a rival to Amazon you might see a positive impact from streamlining the purchase process. 



Return to top of page or download the Ultimate Google Merchant Center Handbook

Enforcement for unique product identifiers


As Google has changed rules for UPIs when it comes to submitting identifiers in feeds, they can affect the visibility of products.


As Google states:


  • Items missing required UPIs will no longer be disapproved: 

These items will now be eligible to serve in Shopping ads. However, similar items with correct UPIs will receive higher priority. 


  • The performance of items without correct UPIs may be limited:

To maximize the performance of your items, make sure that you provide the correct UPIs.


  • Items for which the idenfitier_exists attribute is incorrectly set to “false” will be disapproved:

Keep an eye if the same GTIN is used across multiple different products. Those items will be considered ambiguous and will be disapproved.


What does it mean in a nutshell?


It’s still crucial to label products with the correct Unique Product Identifiers so that Google recognizes them. As experienced retailers know UPIs usually include Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs), Manufacturer Part Numbers (MPNs), and brand names. 


Why is it important to use correct unique product identifiers? 


If you use the wrong ones you can receive disapproval from Google Merchant Center. This is the straight way to put your Shopping Ads in jeopardy.


This means for sure that it’s better to have no UPI at all than have an incorrect or invalid one. But as always, the real benefit goes to retailers who keep this data correct in their feeds. Especially when acting in competitive sectors among multiple sellers. Those with correct and complete UPIs will get priority over those without.



Return to top of page or download the Ultimate Google Merchant Center Handbook

Automatic Image Improvement Feature 


You can now automatically improve uploaded images. Ensure they meet requirements, and improve overall user experience with automatic image improvements. Check out this new feature in Google Merchant Center. 


When you enable this feature, Google will attempt to automatically fix unaccepted images. Surprised? It’s going to be done by removing promotional overlays. They are not allowed in images for Shopping ads. And if the removal is successful, the image will be replaced and the offer will be reapproved. 


Turn on this feature in Merchant Center. The improvements will automatically be applied to relevant images in your account.


automated-image- improvement-google

 source: search  engine land


To avoid image disapprovals, Google will automatically remove promotional text in product images. It happens when you turn on the automatic removal tool in Merchant Center.


Be sure to review the image updates and ensure you’re satisfied with the changes. Machines don’t always get it right. Promotional text may remain or other parts of an image might get removed. You’ll need to upload a new product image if you’re not happy with the system’s attempt to improve it.


How to set up the feature?


1. To enable automatic image updates, select “Automatic Improvements” from the Tools dropdown in the upper right corner of the Merchant Center. 


2. Then select the toggle under the “Image Improvements” tab and click “Save”.



google-merchant-center-image-improvementssource: search engine land


If you still wondering how to choose best and optimize existing images, meet the image best practices in our article. 



Return to top of page or download the Ultimate Google Merchant Center Handbook

Automated Feeds available globally - multicountry feeds 


We are finally here. The multi-country feeds let you reach multiple countries with a single feed submission. Automated feeds are available in all Shopping Ads countries at last.


Merchant Center can crawl retailers’ websites and extract structured product data into an initial feed. You can create a new primary feed using this option if your product data are properly configured. The use of supplemental feeds with automated feeds to provide additional information is possible too.


Google promises crawled feed data will be refreshed “regularly, depending on the traffic that your website receives from Google.” The giant enables to target multiple countries that share the same language by using a single feed.


Here is the example Google has given us:

"if you upload product information in German for Germany, those products may be automatically available to show in other German-speaking countries, such as Austria and Switzerland “


How to start with multicountry feeds?


  • Set up shipping and location targeting for these countries in your Shopping campaign.  It's needed in order to start promoting your products in these new countries.
  • Your shipping settings should reflect your Google Ads location targeting settings, including ‘‘Area of Interest” (AOI) or “Location of Presence” (LOP). 


If you do not complete these steps, your products won’t show in additional countries.


  • Automatically add additional countries of sale:
    Depending on the primary country of sale your product data may become automatically available. The countries in which you can automatically advertise using the same product data will vary depending on the country group of your products’ primary country of sale.

  • Manually add other languages or countries of sale:

    For all other languages and countries, you can manually add a new country of sale to any primary feed.
    Please note that feed connected to multiple countries of sale must meet the policy requirements of this new country.

    Here are steps to add a new country of sale:
    1. Sign into your Merchant Center account.
    2. Click Products on the navigation menu, then click Feeds.
    3. Select the feed to which you want to add the new country of sale.
    4. Click on the Settings tab, then click Add.
    5. Select the new country and language (if applicable).
    6. Click Add.

The new country of sale will appear in your feed list and the additional country and language combination(s) will take effect upon the next feed upload.


Google at last gives retailers a chance for opening up to new target markets. It is an excellent way to double or even triple your sales. Especially now, when it becomes easier than ever to roll out, merchants shouldn't wait long to get this set up for their stores.

If you are interested in how to Run Google Shopping Campaigns In Multiple Countries, you definitely need to get at our detailed article on our blog.


Return to top of page or download the Ultimate Google Merchant Center Handbook

Final Thoughts


Google amps up the frequency but also the meaning of the updates relating to the Merchant Center, product feeds, and Shopping programs. 


It all makes the platform a much stronger competitor in the battle for eCommerce dominance. Google is not only fighting against the Amazon with mirrored reflection features. It has also introduced some unique ones solving practical shopping challenges. They resolve some shopper's issues while protecting the interests of retailers selling on its platform.


All in all, last year brought a major upgrade and made Google Shopping more promising for consumers and retailers alike.





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