Google is constantly changing. This is something we're all familiar with when we search at google.com, but this applies just as well to their advertising platform. Last summer, Google AdWords formally became Google Ads, and while dropping 'words' from the title at least makes it easier to say, the name switch is about much more than that. It represents a generational shift away from keywords as the primary means for reaching potential customers.
Representative of that shift is an ad type that started 5 years before the name change: Shopping Ads. Advertisers like myself were probably also astonished by the lack of keyword targeting options, and more likely bummed that they couldn't apply precise matching strategies to a new medium. Ensuring the right reach for your product doesn't start with keywords, and doesn't even start in Google Ads. Its starts in the Google Merchant Center with the product data specification.
Building Out Product Feed Data
In order to run Google's Product Listing Ads, a product feed has to be enabled to send information from your website to the Ads platform. There are a number of required features that make viable product data:
id - product's unique identifier
link - product's landing page
image_link - url to an image of the product.
These product attributes will get your shopping ads up and running, but they are only the tip of the iceberg of those you can specify through the product feed. In total, there are 55 attributes you can specify for a single product. Don't panic yet, some of these depend on the type product you sell and the country you live in. However, there are a few that can really expand the reach of PLAs.
Google Product Category
Using Google's predefined taxonomy, you can designate what your product is in broader terms. This attribute helps your products show up in more general searches. The product groupings have a large number of subgroupings, so it's easy to remain as precise as you need.
Additional Image Link
Droves of people are informing theirselves to purchase decision before leaving google.com. Giving shoppers more pictures (up to 10) of your product ensures that they can see a detailed view before clicking a link; that click may be the only one they do before buying.
What your product looks like is not trivial. In many cases, shoppers have already imagined themselves with the product they want. Designating the color will increase the chances that your offering shows when they search specifically or use faceted navigation in Google Shopping.
Your product data specification holds the keys to your targeting strategy when it comes to advertising your ecommerce products with Google. Configure your Merchant Center product feed to integrate your data with Google Ads. If you need help, feel free to reach out.