Does my business need Google Shopping?

by | Jan 11, 2022 | Digital Marketing

If your brand uses ecommerce, the chances are you’re familiar with Google Shopping. Introduced in 2002 – originally under the name of Froogle – Google Shopping ads in the UK accounts for around 82% of retail ad spend.* However, this way of online selling doesn’t lend itself to every business model. The redPepper Digital team dive into the question ‘does my business need Google Shopping?’ by weighing out the pros and cons.

So, how does it work?

Google Shopping works by asking users to create a Google Merchant centre account, where they list the products they would like to sell from their website. These products then appear to users searching for related keywords in Google. Users can search products by category, price and brand, making it easy to compare similar items.

While listing products on Google Merchant centre is free, you can also use the platform to set up a paid Google Shopping ad campaign within Google Ads. When setting up a Google Shopping campaign, you will have complete control of the budget, the campaign audience, and which products you are listing, as well as the information you are providing about the products. You will need to send up-to-date product data to Google at a minimum of every 30 days.

Once the campaign is up and running, you will have Google Shopping ads running for your chosen products. These products will now appear for those making relevant Google searches, giving them the option to be redirected to your website to make a purchase.

That sounds like a good idea, right?

Selling products via Google has certainly been effective for many businesses across different markets. One reason that Shopping ads are effective is that users who find the products already have the intent to buy – hence making the internet search. Therefore, your ad doesn’t have to work as hard to convert them to purchasing.

There’s also the fact that Google Shopping ads in the UK amount to a huge proportion of retail spend, showing that the ads themselves are engaging to shoppers. If you are a business that’s selling online, your competitors are likely utilising Google Shopping campaigns to sell their products. Google Shopping usage grew by 40% year on year in the first three months of 2019 alone, proving just how many businesses are using these campaigns. 

With more than half of online purchases now being made on a mobile, there also is a pretty convincing argument to optimise your Google Shopping campaigns for mobile users, which is worth bearing in mind during your set-up.

What if it’s not for me?

Google Shopping isn’t suitable for everyone. Firstly, certain products are prohibited from being sold on Google. This includes items relating to healthcare, products containing political content, or products promoting alcohol use or gambling. If your products fit these categories, your listing will likely be disproved.

Although Google Shopping is widely available, it is not able to be used in all countries. It is worth looking into where your target audience is shopping from, and taking this into consideration.

Lastly, setting up a product feed in Google Merchant Centre can be time-consuming – this mostly depends on the e-commerce platform you are using, the size of your product catalogue and your previous knowledge of Google. If you don’t have the resources for this, running Google text ads is a good alternative that can still generate Return on Investment for your business.

If you could use some help with your e-commerce strategy, or any other area of marketing, get in touch with the redPepper team at


The rise of Google Shopping

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