Over the past number of years, Irish Internet users will have noticed distinct changes in the layout and content showcased on Google Search Results Pages. From news articles to integrated maps, search results pages in 2018 are a far cry from their early 00’s predecessors. The latest addition to the search results pages in Ireland is Google Shopping. Google Shopping has revolutionised Ireland’s eCommerce landscape. But what exactly is Google Shopping and how does it all work?
Google Shopping itself is a paid advertising system that allows users to search and compare products from eCommerce websites, side by side in Google Search. The initial concept was developed in 2002 by Craig Neville Manning and appeared in December that year as Froogle. Since then the concept has gone from strength to strength and experienced incredible uptake by consumers and businesses alike. However, it wasn’t all plain sailing for the platform and in June 2017 Google were hit with a record breaking (and much publicised) fine of €2.4 billion from European Regulators for abusing their dominant position to capitalise on the ever competitive world of online shopping.
Nowadays, any product related search is highly likely to return Google Shopping results. And by Google Shopping Results we mean the itemised tiles at top (or on the right hand side) of your search results page. These tiles include an image of the product in question, the product’s title, price and advertiser details. In some cases, advertisers can also choose to include an elevator statement such as Free Shipping should it apply to the product.
Simple product related searches return Google Shopping Ads at the top of Search Engine Results Pages
Users can browse through these results and compare prices right there in the search results pages. The result? A much improved experience for shoppers who do not necessarily need to browse individual links to find vital purchase information.
How does it work?
Having your products appear in Google shopping is relatively straightforward. Essentially, there are two Google Services which you will need to utilise to have your products appear in Google Search – A merchant account and an Adwords account.
Your merchant account acts as a kind of intermediary for the product information you want to display. Here you can choose to manually upload your product data, or set up a scheduled feed of information from your eCommerce system. Google has set out a criteria for the information you must provide and covers elements such as stock levels, product URL & a designated Google Product Category. The more information provided in your merchant centre, the better Google is at showcasing your products to customers.
We mentioned that Google Shopping is a paid advertising platform, and to facilitate this you must use a Google Adwords Account. You can link your Adwords account with your merchant centre (where you have provided your product information) and set up a Google Shopping Campaign. All the usual Adwords parameters apply to your Shopping Campaign such as bids, budget, location targeting, ad scheduling etc. giving you unprecedented control over when and where your product ads show.
So there you have it. Google Shopping looks like it is here to stay, and if you own an eCommerce website or sell online, we strongly recommend you use it.