Onboarding guide for Shopping ads

This onboarding guide will walk you through the steps you need to take to get started with advertising your products on Google, from uploading your product data in Google Merchant Center to creating and monitoring Shopping ads in Google Ads.

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Before you begin

To set up your Shopping ads, you need to:

By using Google Merchant Center and Google Ads together, you will be able to promote your products by providing customers detailed information about what you're selling before they even click your ad, reach a wider audience of potential customers and track the performance of your products over time by using retail-centric reporting tools.

This infographic is a guide through the steps to set up your shopping ads.


Onboard to Google Merchant Center

  1. Sign up for Google Merchant Center, where you’ll add information about your business and products.
  2. Verify your online store. If you run into any issues, learn how to fix verification issues.
  3. Upload your product data either automatically from your online store or by manually uploading a file with all your product details, such as price, title, image, etc. Refer to the product specifications for more information. If you encounter any issues, refer to troubleshooting your data source.
  4. Your products will be reviewed for compliance with Google policies and regulations. If there are any issues detected, you can find them in the Needs attention tab.
  5. (Optional): You can enhance your product data by providing additional information such as promotions, shipping, estimated delivery dates. Learn more about annotations and badges in Shopping ads and organically showing products across Google.

Onboard to Google Ads

  1. Create a Google Ads account.
  2. After you've created a Google Ads account, enter your billing information.If you run into any problems, refer to billing & payments issues.
  3. Next, link your Google Ads account to your Google Merchant Center. This is how your campaigns will receive product information to generate Shopping ads.
  4. Set up conversion tracking for your website. If conversion tracking is not active, Google Ads may limit your campaign spend. If you run into issues, refer to this article for help.
Tip: If you are an advanced advertiser, consider setting up conversions with cart data, which is an extension to conversion tracking on your website. Using this you can provide the details of the products that are sold for each transaction. By providing this additional information, you can understand your ads’ performance and drive further optimizations.
  1. (Optional but highly recommended): Set up your data segments to re-engage with your customers by adding your website and app visitors. You can also use dynamic remarketing to show ads to your past site visitors and customize those ads based on the section of your site that people visited the most.
  2. Before you create your first campaign, make sure you meet the Shopping ads requirements. If you have any issues, refer to Policy Issues.
  3. Create your campaign. Shopping ads can be served by both Performance Max and Shopping campaigns. Performance Max campaigns are the best way to maximize your online sales as they reach a wider audience by serving your products to all Google Ads inventory from a single campaign. Learn more about the differences between Performance Max and Standard Shopping campaigns, and about how to create a Performance Max campaign and how to create a Standard Shopping campaign.
Note: After you’ve created your campaign, it takes 1 to 2 days for newly created campaigns to be reviewed to ensure that they meet all policy requirements.

Monitor Ad Performance

Note: Your campaign may require up to 2 weeks to learn. Campaign performance may fluctuate during this time due to the learning period, as your bid strategy is still learning. Learn more about Duration of the learning period for campaigns and what affects it.
  1. If your campaign is not serving or has low traffic, review common reasons and learn how you can troubleshoot by referring to Google Ads Performance Max campaign not running or low traffic and Google Ads Standard Shopping campaign not running or low traffic.
  2. If all campaigns with a Merchant Center feed in your Google Ads account are not serving, check your Google Merchant Center Account for issues.
  3. If your campaign performance is fluctuating, review the different reasons why this may happen. Learn more about Performance Max campaign performance fluctuations and Standard Shopping campaign Performance fluctuations.
  4. To improve your ads performance, adopt best practices from optimize your Performance Max campaign and Monitor and optimize your Standard Shopping campaigns.
  5. Measuring the success of a campaign is essential to ensuring that your marketing efforts are effective and that you are getting a return on your investment. There are many ways to measure the result of your campaigns. If you have conversions with cart data set up, you can review reports to understand the revenue and profit generated by your campaigns. Alternatively, if you have conversion tracking, here are metrics to review success.

Frequently asked questions

Google Ads Setup

Can I simultaneously run Standard Shopping campaigns and Performance Max campaigns for the same products?

It’s possible to have both a Standard Shopping campaign as well as a Performance Max campaign targeting the same products. However, if both campaigns are targeting the same products, as well as same locations, languages, hours of the day and other overlapping targeting settings, then Performance Max will always take precedence over the Standard Shopping campaign. This means that only Performance Max ads will show until the campaign’s budget is fully exhausted for the day. But, if the bid target of your Performance Max campaign is set too high, conversions may not be found for them, and in this case, your Standard Shopping campaign would serve instead. If you would like to compare how a Standard Shopping campaign performs against a Performance Max campaign for the same set of products, we recommend that you use our A/B experiments tool. Learn how to Set up Performance Max experiments in the Experiments page.

How do I add negative keywords to my campaigns?

The negative keywords allow you to opt out of showing your ads alongside content that may not be appropriate for your brand or serve your advertising goals. It is important to note that negative keywords aren’t available at campaign-level for Performance Max campaigns. However, you can create account-level negative keywords for Performance Max campaigns. For Standard Shopping campaigns, you can create campaign-level negative keywords by referring to this article.

How do I create ads for specific regions or countries?

Here are the steps on how to target ads to specific geographic locations.

What is the waiting period after linking a Merchant Center account with a Google Ads account?

There is no waiting period after linking a Google Ads account with a Merchant Center account. You can start using your Google Ads account immediately after linking the two accounts However, it may take some time for your products to show up in your Google Ads account. This is because Google Ads needs to crawl your Merchant Center account and index your products. The crawl and indexing process can take a few hours or even a few days.


Why do changes in budget, targeting, or bid strategy affect the performance of my campaign?

Campaigns’ performance can fluctuate for many reasons. You can use Performance Max campaign performance fluctuations and Standard Shopping campaign performance fluctuations to track and understand changes Note that frequent changes to your Google Ads account can make it difficult to track the performance of your campaigns. If you need to make changes to your account, it's best to make them gradually and in small increments. This will give Google Ads time to adjust your bids and collect data, and it will make it easier to troubleshoot problems if they occur. Learn more about Duration of the learning period for campaigns and what affects it.


Why are my products not showing on Google?

There are a few reasons why your products might not be shown on Google. First check your campaign using how to fix Google Ads Performance Max campaign not running or low traffic or how to fix Google Ads Shopping campaign not running or low traffic. To identify what's stopping your products from showing, visit the product diagnostics page in Google Ads. Read more about product diagnostics.

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