The Google Merchant Center is a part of Google services and is a dashboard where e-commerce businesses manage their advertising appearance across Google. It serves as half of the process when creating an advertisement on Google Ads when selling your products. The first is setting your pay-per-click bids for keywords and products through Google Ads while the second is about adding information about your product where Google can use it to match someone’s search intent.
How Does it Work?
The Google Merchant Center works together with your Google Ads account. Its primary goal is to allow businesses to tell Google when they have a product to sell by giving the necessary information for Google to create an ad for you.
Creating a data feed is the first thing when you want to create an ad for a specific product. Data feeds are essentially a product inventory of all the products you plan on advertising on Google. A product data feed list is the information that describes your products and includes:
- Title: The name of your product that will be shown when your ad appears.
- Description: The description of your product that will be shown when your ad is clicked.
- Product Type: This is defined by you based on what product you are selling.
- Product Identifiers: Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), Universal Product Code (UPC), Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) used by manufacturers and retailers to identify products.
- Product Category: Chosen from Google’s predefined categories.
- Product Availability: Is what you’re selling in stock or out of stock?
- Price: How much does your product cost?
- Sale Price: Is this product on sale? If so, what is the price?
- Shipping Price: The cost to ship your product to customers by a shipping carrier.
Google takes this information and includes it in ads displayed based on relevant Google Shopping searches.
How to Create a Google Merchant Center Account
Before creating your Google shopping campaign, you have to create your Google Merchant Center Account. You can use any Google Account, like Gmail, to sign up for Merchant Center.
If you don’t have a Google account, you can go to accounts.google.com and create an account. Google Merchant Center will also link to Google Ads so if you don’t have a Google Ads account, it would be helpful to have one.
How to Create a Product Feed for Google Shopping Ads
Once you have your Google account, you can start to create your Merchant Center account. The first thing you will do in the Merchant Center is to enter your business information. Here you can choose the location of your business by country and add your business name.
Here, we went with our fantasy business, Sneaker Heads, as an example. Your business display name can be your business’s name, your website’s name or your store name. Remember, the name you add will be used as your Merchant Center account name and will be visible to users on Google Shopping.
Choose Your Program
Next, you can choose your Merchant Center program. You have a choice between two programs depending on your goal.
Surfaces across Google is a free program that allows users to see products from your store through multiple platforms on Google Images and rich results. Shopping ads, however, use the product information that you include. For this article, we chose Shopping ads.
After choosing your program, you will see the Overview screen of the Google Merchant Center. If this is the first time using the Google Merchant Center, you will have to create a new Shopping ad. On the left side, you can view Merchant Center announcements, summaries of your ads and their performance.
The Overview page contains information for each ad you create along with feed information and performance. On the Products page, you can manage your product feeds, review feed data and view a detailed list of your products. The “Growth” page allows you to explore different opportunities in the Merchant Center that can help you improve your product feed data.
Creating Your Shopping Ad
When you start to create your Shopping ad, you can include more specific product and business information. Information like tax, shipping costs, specific product data, and your product page can be added. You can also link your Google Ads account which allows product data to be shared between Google Ads and Shopping ads.
The next step is to create a new feed for your product. You can start this by clicking on the ‘Products’ then clicking ‘Feeds. The first step in creating a new feed is adding basic information about your product and where you want to show your products. You can select the country of sale and what language you want your ad to show in.
The next step is to add a name for your feed. This can be a product name or something that helps you understand what your feed is about.
You can also choose how to add your feed information. Google Sheets is a spreadsheet like Microsoft Excel, that can be used to input information. You can also upload your file or use data from your website.
Once you have selected an input method to add your data, you will return to the ‘Feeds’ section where you will see the feed you just created. If you didn’t upload any product data from a file, you can open Google Sheets to add product data. This is where you would input product title, description, link, product image, price, availability and more.
Once you have created and uploaded your feed information, you can now create your Shopping campaign from within Google Ads. The settings of your campaign include the campaign name, the country of sale, maximum cost-per-click bid and your daily budget. After creating your Shopping campaign, you will be able to manage and edit your campaign.
The Google Merchant Center works as a universal template that allows you to transform your product information into advertisements. It is the best way to seamlessly implement and organize your product data to Google Ads.
The Google Merchant Center helps to create comprehensive and accurate Google Shopping ads so that consumers can easily find your products. It’s one of the first steps to take towards marketing automation to boost your sales online. Without it, it may be difficult to keep track of your advertising strategy for every product you want to promote.