In 2018, Google Shopping ads (a.k.a. Product Listing Ads, or PLAs) have become by far the dominant online ad format for retail advertisers. A recent study for the first quarter for 2018 shows that nearly 80% of all retail search ad spend is going to Google Shopping campaigns. Further, Google Shopping ads are driving over 76% of all retail search ad spend, generating 85% of all clicks.
This is important to know in an era when many retailers are wondering how much, if any, of their advertising budget ought to go toward seemingly also-on-the rise social media platforms, like Facebook. While displaying your ads on Facebook can work, especially if you focus on a narrow demographic niche, many retailers having been moving away from social media advertising – in fact, a recent report of small business owners reports that over 60% believe Facebook ads to be “ineffective.” 
The reason is quite simple: People aren’t going on Facebook to shop. They’re going on Facebook to keep in touch with friends, to stay up to date with what’s going on in their lives, to see what other people are talking about…and though something might pique their consumer interests here and there, on Facebook their primary intent is not to shop.
When people go online to look into purchasing a product or service, more often than not: they Google it.
Google conservatively estimates that last year their search and advertising tools helped generate $222 billion for over 1.5 million businesses.
With Google Shopping, potential customers see not only words and calls-to-action, they see just about every element known to drive conversions online: images, in-depth reviews, product details, price comparisons, and customized information. Also, clicks on Google Shopping are often much cheaper than clicks for text ads. You can pay 25 cents for product queries opposed to 60 cents with regular text ads.
Of course, getting your Google campaign up and running effectively can be a very technical process, and optimizing its performance can be quite time consuming, which is why many businesses hire professional digital marketers to make sure the job is done right.
To make the process more efficient, we’ve put together the following 5 helpful tips which can help you increase your conversion rate, one of the most significant KPIs for any Google Shopping advertiser:
Add Promotions to Help Boost Sales
If you’re selling products or services online, you should consider adding a promotion. This could take the form of a discount code, seasonal sales prices, or even free delivery for certain items.
When what you’re selling is also sold by other merchants, Google Shopping will display it as part of a price comparison among other options. If you add a special offer, your listing will stand out from the competition by the display of a tiny gift tag icon, helping draw the attention of interested customers to you.
Compare Prices with Competitors
In order to stay ahead of the competition, you should be proactive in comparing your prices with those of your direct competitors. Having a low price is one of the key strategies to success on Google Shopping. Not only are customers more inclined to choose a product that is priced cheaper (especially if it is supported by solid product reviews), Google is more inclined to show a cheaper product more often.
Google’s algorithm has been shown to favor products that have been priced cheaper, even if it’s only a few pennies cheaper. Especially if it’s the exact same product as a competitor but at a lower price, there’s a strong probability you’ll be the one to get more clicks and conversions.
The Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) is the unique number assigned by a manufacturer to a specific product. Make sure to include this information in your Google Shopping listing.
Not only does including a GTIN enable Google to showcase your listing among your competitors on Google Shopping, it can also provide you with increased visibility on Google Search. Further, many savvy, ready-to-buy customers will search for the GTIN for a product they intend to purchase.
Add Remarketing Lists
Using Google’s Remarketing lists is a great wat to make use of the data stored by Google AdWords to drive increased traffic from previous visitors to your website. Using these lists, you can target specific groups of previous visitors and encourage them to return to your site and make purchases.
Here’s an example from Google showing how—and why – these lists work:
Example: An airline wants to show ads about flight deals to people who visited a product page on their website in the past month. They create a “Flight deals” list with a membership duration of 30 days and a rule to collect all visitors to a webpage that has a URL that ends with “flight-deals.html.” When people visit this flight deals page, they’re added to the “Flight deals” list which the airline can target with an ad campaign about flight deals.
By segmenting shoppers into specific lists based on their histories, you can target them more specifically with future ads, and increase the likelihood of sales.
Use Negative Keywords
One of the best ways to make sure you’re getting relevant clicks on your offerings is to filter out irrelevant traffic, those customers who aren’t looking for what it is you’re selling.
For example, if you sell only new goods, you can add “used” as a negative keyword to filter out those customers who are looking for something previously owned. Or add “free” as a negative keyword to avoid those who have no intention of spending money on the item they’re seeking.
Effective use of negative keywords means you won’t be spending your budget on visitors who won’t be your customers
If you’re looking to launch an online marketing campaign for the first time, or if you’re looking for better results than your previous marketing efforts, the team at JXTGroup is here to help with their years of online expertise and success. Contact us to day.