Transition to paid Google Shopping

July 23, 2012 by Paul Byrne


If you have ever fed your products to theĀ Google Shopping feed, you have probably experienced the lift in traffic and sales it brings, especially if you are in a niche market like, say, used networking equipment or cell phone batteries.

Google, however, recently announced that it will be requiring merchants to pay for the service. I’ve had a number of eCommerce operators ask me exactly what that means for them and how it works, so, I thought I would write up answers to a few Frequently Asked Questions about the switch. These answers apply specifically to Magento, but, will also apply to most platforms, especially Magento Community and Magento Enterprise Editions.

The new ads are called Product Listing Ads.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will Google switch to paid placement only?

As of today, Google hasn’t given a specific cut off date, though, they have indicated it will be sometime this fall. Merchants who place PLA ads using their Google Product Feed

How much will it cost me to advertise on Google?

Very good question. There will be two pricing models. Merchants who are qualified as ‘Preferred’ will pay on a performance basis. Everyone else gets the old ‘pay per click’ model.

How do I place ads and advertise my products?

You need:

  • A Google Merchant account
  • The ability to feed products using a data feed, or, to create the products manually (or via upload) in your Merchant Center account. All of the Magento products offer this capability, as does ProStores, and a variety of other systems.
  • A Google Adwords account
  • To link your Adwords and Merchant accounts

How do I configure my Product Feed for best results?

Magento platforms create your Google Product Feed based on your product attribute sets. You should do a review of those sets to make sure they are grouping products effectively. If you have been meticulous in setting up the attribute sets for your store, you won’t have a problem. If not, you may want to think about some reorganization.

Do I need to make changes to my data feed when Google definitively changes to paid?

If you already have a Google Product Feed, you should be in good shape, assuming it is set up well.

Where do I find this in my Magento Go/Community admin area?

You’ll need to properly configure the feed in 4 places:

  • Go to System > Configuration > Google API > Google Shopping - add the information from your Google Merchant Center account here and add the Google Product Categories you’ll be working with (they use the IT term ‘taxonomy’) here.
  • Next, you’ll need to add the following attributes to the attribute sets you plan to add to your data feed:
    • Brand (or Manufacturer)
    • Condition (new or used)
  • Then, go to Catalog > Google Content > Manage Attributes and map the attributes you added to the Google Product Feed attributes of the same name. If you don’t do this, the feed will fail and give you an error that doesn’t really explain what the issue is.
  • Then, go to Catalog > Google Content > Manage Items and add items to the feed by searching. Look at the lower left for the View Available Products button, it should be pretty easy from there.

NOTE: If your Merchant Center account is new, you will need to give it some time to get approved. Until you do, attempts to upload your products will result in an error.

If you need assistance with this, you may want to consider getting some help from Razoyo to speed you along. Our Razoyo On Demand Time Hours may be just what you need.

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