Tools, apps and e-commerce websites
google shopping, google ads, google

What are Google Ads and how do they work?

You surely haven’t forgotten about Google, the biggest online search engine globally – with over 246 million views, 3.5 billion daily activities and a sizable return on investment to boot, at around 700%. We’re bringing this up because you also might’ve heard that as of this week, Google has recently announced that it’s free for merchants to sell on Google. Google listings are now free to create, and will start taking over the Google Shopping tab. This could mean that your product is exposed to literally millions more customers than ever before. This update is going live in the US before the end of April, while you can expect global rollouts to be completed before the end of 2020. In the time of extreme uncertainty that is happening globally, now is a great opportunity to learn about Google Ads and how they work. You should read more to learn how to tap into this bustling market, as we’ve got a lot to share.

So, let’s start from the beginning. What are Google Ads and Google Shopping?

Google Ads has been around since 2000, and was previously known as Google Adwords until 2018. Chances are, if you’ve used Google before to search for something specific, you’ve come across Google ads, whether you realised this or not.

Before things get more complicated, we’ll explain the basic workings of Google Ads.

Essentially, you choose specific keywords that a searcher might use on Google, and then create an advert that will appear on the SERP or search engine results page. This result is purely based on your keywords.

You’ll definitely not be the only company trying to serve ads to people who searched for those particular terms, as rival companies will bid for the same search term.

To get your ad appearing to searchers at all, you’ll have to bid against other advertisers on how much you’re willing to pay Google Ads every time someone clicks on your ad.

The more you are willing to pay per click, the more likely it is that your ad will appear in the search results (this is normally referred to as PPC, which stands for Pay-Per-Click.

Google Ads are part of a larger paid marketing campaign in an attempt to generate more clicks – with the aim of generating more customers for your business. Google Ads is a great platform to use to create and share well-executed and well-timed ads (on both mobile and desktop platforms) to your target market. One advantage of using Google Ads is that you can increase your rating on search engine results pages or SERPs at exactly the right moment for your customers to find your business. Your business will also show up in Google Maps and Search queries. 

One of the many advantages of using Google Ads is that you can tailor your ad spending to suit your budget, no matter the size of your business. Google Ads includes integrated tools that allow you to stay within your monthly spend cap or even pause/stop your ad from running at any time. It’s truly intuitive and operates with business in mind. 

Before things get too complex, we’ll explain exactly how Google Ads work.

 Now, you might be wondering – do Google Ads actually work as well as we claim and why should I use it ?

We’re going to start backwards and answer the latter, with some pretty insightful statistics. For starters, Google owns 71% of the search market share…which is hefty and can give you an indication that you’ll gain a large amount of traffic. Next, 86% of consumers reportedly used the internet to search before making a purchase, while Google display campaigns reached 80% of internet users globally.

So then, do Google Ads really work?

Businesses make an average of $2 for every $1 spent on Google Ads following the Google Economic Impact Report. In addition, 70% of people contact business directly following a Google search, and another 70%of customers take action within an hour after conducting a Google search. Secondly, Google Ads boasts a click-through rate of around 8% – which is incredible! 

All in all, yes, Google Ads really do work. And you might want to get started with using Google Ads by reading a comprehensive guide here.

Hang on, we’re not finished. Remember that Google Ads is not the same as Google Shopping. So what, then, is Google Shopping?

When you use Google Shopping, you’re looking at products from advertisers and all kinds of sellers and stores who have featured their products on the Google Shopping platform. Ranking on the Google Shopping platform is related to your current search terms and activity, as well as other advertiser bids and relevance. You can learn more about it from Google Help Centre.

Listings on Google Shopping are commercial, and as such, must comply with Google policies to determine what can and can’t be listed. Advertisers are encouraged to keep their listings’ details updated frequently.

Next, an important feature with Google Shopping is customer reviews, which are totally voluntary and work in combination with Google’s Customer Reviews system. Reviews are collected from advertisers, merchants, third-parties and customers – while advertisers are required to show both negative and positive reviews. 

The main benefit to using Google Shopping is that it provides a super-fast and hassle-free shopping experience for your customer; you can buy something just as quickly as you can search it. It’s also extremely accessible, meaning that you’ll be able to buy anything from all over the world.

Google’s extensive catalogue means that you can find everything, including niche products from atypical product categories. What’s great is that you’ll also be able to see a lot of related information when using Google Shopping, such as links, similar products, customer reviews and much more.

The perfect storm is creating a Google Shopping ad, combining the best of both features for your own benefit. We know this can be a bit confusing, but it helps to differentiate between the different kinds of services that are offered by Google – of which there are a lot!

What we’re talking about are Shopping Campaigns – a digital marketing strategy that promotes digital and physical products in your inventory, and can help with boosting traffic to your physical/ecommerce store and generate better quality leads. 

To get going, you’ll need to upload product data to Google’s Merchant Center and create a brand new campaign with Google Ads. This campaign will be used to create new ads on Google and around the internet, where you’ll gain maximum exposure for your products. These are known as ‘placements’ because they appear differently to typical PPC ads and are more visual in comparison, often including pictures of your product, prices, your store’s name and even more.  These placements ads are best used to give your audience a strong idea of what your company sells and what is on offer. 

Your ads can appear in the Shopping tab on Google’s search page, next to results on the search page, on partner websites and on other websites as part of the Google Display network, including Youtube, Gmail and Google Discover. 

One of the benefits of running an ad campaign in this way is that you have one easy control point that is integrated, and only serves to promote your products. Instead of relying on keywords, Shopping Ads use attributes which you can create in Merchant Center to feature on your ads themselves. You can als

o group your products. Naturally, as with any interaction with Google, you’ll be creating a broader presence for your products. It’s possible that your text ad and Shopping ad can appear at the same time, meaning that the amount of people you can reach could be as much as doubled. 

If you’re still not convinced, we’ve got some stats to share about Google Shopping. As of 2018, Google Shopping ads drove 76.4% of retail search ad spend, and generated over 85% of all clicks on Adwords or Google Shopping ads. Some of the categories of businesses who have benefitted the most out of Google Shopping ads include Home and Garden, Beauty and Personal care, Sport and Fitness and Electronics, though most industries saw over 60% of Google Shopping ads compared to, at most, 33% of text-only Google ads.  Google Shopping Ads are taking over, as consumers are swayed more easily by visuals, as well as the plethora of other information that Google offers to  its users.

If you want to read more about Shopping Ads, click here to read Google’s overview


By harnessing the relationship between Google Ads and Google Shopping, you can quickly list your products online. This could be a great idea if you’re looking to start a new ecommerce business, or are looking for ways to bolster your current venture. The fact that Google Shopping will soon be free to list will mean that it’ll become a whole lot cheaper for ecommerce owners to get started with listing their products.

Do you need help with setting up your own Google Ads and Google Shopping accounts? Consider using ShoppingFeeder, an all-in-one multichannel marketing solution for ecommerce stores. ShoppingFeeder combines hands-on management with integrated analyses to make sure you’re getting the most out of your ecommerce marketing strategy.


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