chapter 1

Introduction: A Traffic Source that Lives up to the Hype

It’s an exciting time to be an online merchant. Marketing channels abound. New ways to target, reach, and woo potential buyers pop up all the time. It’s also a time filled with obstacles. Competition is fierce. Customer expectations for shopping experiences are high. Technology has leveled the playing field in some ways, and consolidation has given big advantages to giants like Amazon.

I admit, I’m a marketing and ecommerce junkie. I love new marketing ideas and enjoy testing new channels. But more than finding what’s new, I enjoy finding what works consistently. Right now, my absolute favorite source of traffic for online merchants is Google Shopping (aka Product Listing Ads or PLAs). Google Shopping ads are displayed when a user searches for a product in Google. They appear along the top of or often in the upper right hand side of a search results page (see below). Shopping ads can also be found by clicking the “shopping” tab. What we care most about is the 1-8 shopping ads that appear on the Google search results page (see below) - that’s where the magic happens.  


Your success as an online merchant hinges on your ability to attract new customers at an acceptable cost. Google Shopping ads are one of the leading traffic sources that can give you an edge in a competitive landscape. To get you excited about Google Shopping let me share some recent success stories. I want you to see the potential this holds for your business. I’ll share some average results in a minute, but first, here is a highlight reel. The kind of results listed below are not unheard of, but aren’t necessarily typical either. It’s kind of like watching a two-minute clip of all the fantastic finishes and magical moments of the NCAA basketball tournament after it’s over. These client examples do not reflect everyday behavior, but they are real and they do happen. So here goes:

A company in the watersport industry who is generating $12 in revenue per click with an average cost per click of only $.24, spend $.24 and get $12 in return...not bad. A parts company who averages $12 to $14 in sales for every $1 spent with Google Shopping ads. And the coup de gras - a company in the outdoor space, who I helped generate $19,000 in sales from 165 transactions with an experimental campaign that spent a total of $67. Yes, you read that right - $19,000 in sales on $67 in total spend….no kidding. Yes this one is like the half court shot at the buzzer - doesn’t happen very often at all, but pretty cool when it does.  

Want some more conservative examples? How about 300-600% return on ad spend (ROAS) on average across all the campaigns we managed last year? Would you be willing to spend $1 to get $3-$6 in sales in return? I think most merchants would. So how do you do that? That’s what this guide is all about. From set up–to ongoing management and optimization, we’ll walk you through the X Factors that will help set you up for success. 

Google Shopping Volume Now Greater than Search Ads

Over the last few years Google Shopping has transitioned from a new channel into an established and critically important channel for most online retailers.  In Q1 of 2017, Google Shopping accounted for 52% of click share for retailers marking the first time shopping clicks have exceeded search clicks(text ad).  For non-branded terms, Google Shopping click share is a staggering 75% (Search Engine Land).  I mention this to point out that Google Shopping is competitive.  It’s still very possible for you to promote your products profitably on Google Shopping, but it’s not quite as easy as it was in 2015 or before.  

It should come as no surprise that Google Shopping clicks on mobile devices is growing at an even faster pace than clicks on desktop.  In 2016, 29% of Google Shopping revenue came from mobile devices.  That’s up for 17% in 2015.  Also, Google Shopping revenue accounted for 16.1% of online retail sales in 2016, up from 9% in 2015 (Retail Dive).


Next chapter

2. What is Google Shopping and How Does it Work?

1 min

Start your free 14-day trial today!