Adwords Shopping Ads Certification – Exam Notes 2018

Another Adwords Certification exam done and dusted, this time it was the Adwords Shopping Ads. Like last time, here are my study notes which I hope might be helpful to some ones out there, maybe your taking the exam soon, maybe you are hoping to open an online store to sell retro discmans.

The Basics of Shopping Ads

The Benefits of Shopping Ads

  • Attractive to buyers directly in search
  • Uses product feeds (XML or CSV) from your website or inventory system
  • Can run alongside existing search ads
  • Better control

Where do Shopping Ads appear

  • Google Search
  • Google Shopping (only available in particular countries)
  • Google Search Partner sites like image search and Youtube

Google Merchant Centre 

In order to get shopping ads running, you will need to setup a Google Merchant Centre account, which is where you will import and manage all of your product data. The process looks like this:

  1. Product Feed (from your website XML, API or text document like Excel)
  2. Google Merchant Account
  3. Google Adwords

Like Analytics, you can easily link Merchant Centre with your Adwords account in order to start running ads.

What is in a Shopping Ad

Here is what one looks like, this one is for a discman, I didn’t know you could still buy these. The available fields include:

  • Title
  • Price
  • Store Name
  • Product Image
  • Promotional Message (Optional)

What can’t be advertised?

  • Financial Products
  • Tickets (sorry scalpers)
  • Real Estate
  • Vehicles
  • Business Services
  • Currency
  • Travel

Product Enhancement Available

  • Product Reviews
  • Can include local inventory and closest brick and mortar store available
  • Showcase ads for product ranges like ‘hand bags’ for example

The Merchant Centre

The Google Merchant Centre is where you import all your products so you can create some product ads. Here is the spiel from Google:

“Shopping on Google begins with Merchant Center.
Merchant Center is a tool that helps you upload your store, brand and product data and make it available to Google Shopping and other Google services. To advertise your products on Google, you’ll need a Merchant Center account.”

Visit the Google Merchant Centre website to find out more

Website Requirements

  • Must be able to purchase product directly on your site
  • Use offical language (what ever that means)
  • SSL checkout
  • Have a return and refund policy
  • Collect user information responsbly
  • The Web URL has some rules around it as well:
    • Must be https:// or http://
    • No IP addresses
    • No ports like :8080
    • No fragments in urls

Product Data Feed

The data feed of you products can either be a text based spead sheet (like a google sheets or tab delimited text file) or and XML feed from your website.

Basic Feed Fields

The minimum required fields include:

  • id
  • title
  • description
  • price
  • condition
  • link
  • availability
  • image_link

Here is an example I found on Google’s help page:

There are other options fields, which may be required based on which type of products or country you are selling to, here are some of the most common:

  • category
  • brand
  • gtin (Global Trade Item Number)
  • mpn (Manufacturer Part Number)
  • identifier_exists

Now, if your product is handmade or custom and does no have one of the above, you can use the column identifier_exists, and set it to ‘no’.

Here is a great reference to all the fields on Google help page

Feed Best Practices

  • Use a test feed in trial all is working before submitting your full feed
  • Update your feed every 30 days minimium
  • The price on your feed must match the price on your product page
  • Structure data in the if using XML
  • you can only include one category per product, so if your product is available across many categories, then you will have to just pick one.
  • Adult products require the adult field included

Custom Labels

  • Are 5 additional fields, that allow you to add custom values
  • These can be imported into Adwords to aid in the campaign setup and optimisation process
  • Some examples of how this can be used include:
    • ‘Summer/winter’ to promote products on a seasonal basis
    • ‘Best seller’ to promote these groups more
    • ‘High margin’ to increase bids on these

Other Tips and Terms

  • When setting up, you must define the Country of Sale
  • Measuring performance tools include:
    • Product Grouping
    • Predefined Reports
    • Auction Insights
    • Bid Simulator
  • Allocate budget to best performing product groups
  • Impression share (coverage) is impressions received divided by total available impressions  
  • Like search campaigns, negative keywords work in the same way and can to used to