How to Create a Google Shopping Ad Campaign (In 3 Steps)

Sometimes when you look up a product using Google, you’ll see some listings directly from other websites, which include prices. Those are called ‘Shopping campaign’ ads, and learning how to use them can give you a leg up on the competition.

Usually, search engines just send visitors to your website, and it’s up to you to transform that traffic into sales. However, if you can get your products to show up directly in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), you can jump right to the conversion stage, simplifying your sales funnel.

In this article, we’re going to talk about how Google Shopping ads work. Then we’ll teach you how to create a new campaign to promote your products. Let’s go shopping!

What Google Shopping Ad Campaigns Are

Google Ads is a platform that enables you to create ads and display them across its network. There are several types of campaigns you can set up, each of which works differently.

For example, there are:

    • Search network ads
    • Display network ads
    • Video ads
    • App ads
  • Shopping ads

For this article, we’re going to focus solely on Shopping ads. These promote one or more products from your inventory:

To make that happen, you’ll share a datasheet of your inventory with Google, including your product and image URLs. Google then enables you to create ads based around specific products, parts of your inventory, or the whole catalog:

Keep in mind that Google Shopping ads merely showcase your products – they don’t process purchases. Instead, when people click on your ads, they’ll be taken to your website. Then, it’s up to you to make the sales happen.

How to Create a Google Shopping Ad Campaign (In 3 Steps)

Creating a Shopping campaign isn’t complicated, especially if you’ve already dabbled in the Google Ads network. However, you will need to follow a few basic steps to get started.

Step 1: Set Up a Google Merchant Account

The Merchant Center enables you to upload and store product information with Google. That way, you’ll be able to use it across all the related services, including Google Ads and Shopping campaigns.

First, head to the Google Merchant Center site and select Register:

Google will ask you for some basic information concerning your business, such as what your store is called and where it’s based:

Then, you’ll need to log into your primary Google account to finish the registration process. Once your Merchant account is ready, it will automatically redirect you to your dashboard.

After that, navigate to the Products tab, then go to Feeds and click on the plus sign button to start adding products:

Select the Products option under Type, choose a target country, and enter a name for your feed:

Google will ask if you want to generate a spreadsheet using its product template (say yes!). You’ll also need to decide how often it should check for updates (the Daily setting is a safe bet):

At this stage, a Google Docs spreadsheet will open, and you can enter your product information within. Each item gets its own line, and you’ll need to add a title, description, price, and links:

Keep in mind that you can update your product feed any time you want, so you don’t need to add everything at once. When you’re done, simply close the datasheet. Google will automatically pull information from it when needed.

Step 2: Create and Configure Your Shopping Campaign

For this section, we’ll assume you already have a Google Ads account. If you don’t, go ahead and sign up for one now. Then open your Google Ads dashboard and add a new campaign. Select the Sales button, and pick your Shopping campaign’s type:

Next, you’ll need to indicate which Google Merchant account you want to pull data from, and where you’ll sell your products:

After that, you get to choose from two campaign subtypes – Smart and Standard. You can read more about Smart campaigns in Google’s documentation, but for now let’s focus on the Standard option:

At this point, you can configure your new campaign. It will need a title, and you’ll also get to decide if you want to generate ads for your entire product feed, or just for specific products:

Then scroll down to find the settings for your bidding strategy and budget, which will largely determine your ads’ success:

Bidding and budgeting in Google Ads can get complicated, so we recommend that you read up on how the system works before you start playing around with these numbers.

Next, you can configure which networks your ads will appear on. We recommend that you disable the Include Google search partners option if you have a small budget, since it tends to result in lower conversion rates:

Finally, you can configure the duration of your campaign. You can either set specific dates or run it indefinitely:

Once you’re done, you can save your campaign and move on to the last task.

Step 3: Set Up Your First Ad Group

After you save your campaign’s configuration, you should see a screen like this one:

Every Google Ads campaign needs at least one ad group, which is a collection of one or more ads. We’re going to pick the Promote individual products ad type, which only shows one picture for each advertisement. However, you can choose whichever option you like.

You’ll also need to set a name for your ad group, and an initial bid. Once you hit Save, you’ll be able to pick which products you want Google Ads to promote from your merchant account:

That’s it! Now all you have to do is wait to see how your campaign performs, and adjust it as you go.


The goal of Shopping ads is to get your products more clicks, and hopefully increased sales. With a polished Shopping ads campaign, even small businesses can compete with the big boys. After all, if Google shows your product within its SERPs, that helps to establish a base level of trust with your audience.

If you’re interested in launching a Shopping ads campaign, it only takes three steps:

  1. Set up a Google Merchant account.
  2. Create and configure your Shopping campaign.
  3. Set up your first ad group.

Do you have any questions about how to create effective Shopping ads with Google? Let’s chat in the comments section below!

Image credit: Pixabay.

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