Google Ads Introduces Merchant Promotions to Shopping Actions

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

Listing products on Google is a good way to increase exposure and generate sales. Retailers who use Shopping Actions can easily sell products to customers searching for things they need on Google. There are many benefits to using Shopping Actions, such as customers being able to instantly checkout with saved payment credentials, and Google has just added another one. Just in time for the holidays, Google Ads is introducing Merchant Promotions for items available through Shopping Actions.

As any business owner can tell you, discounts and promotions can drive sales. This is something Mausam Bhatt, a project director at Google, noted in his blog post announcing the new Merchant Promotions feature.

“According to the National Retail Federation, one-third of shoppers said that all of their holiday weekend purchases were driven specifically by promotions (+11.4 percent YoY),” wrote Bhatt. “Google’s recent study with Ipsos shows that 57 percent of holiday shoppers say promotions/coupons are an important part of their holiday shopping.”

The new Merchant Promotions feature lets retailers run online promotions for the products they sell on Google. When a Merchant Promotions user adds a discount or sale to items in their Shopping Actions inventory, it will be displayed more prominently for online shoppers. Whenever one of those products show up in Google Express (the carousel of products that match a search query at the top of the page), shoppers will see the promotion (e.g. 10% off) highlighted on the product card.

This small change has been shown to increase the appeal of an offer and encourages shoppers to buy. One of the merchants who took part in the pilot program saw an average of 9.4 percent increase in conversions (add to cart) and 9.5 percent increase in GMV (Gross Merchandise Volume) per session when they used Merchant Promotions for their offers.

To get started with Merchant Promotions, everyone needs to sign up and go through the approval process. Once signed up, merchants will need to link their inventory to the promotions they run. This can be done manually in the Merchant Center by selecting Shopping Actions on the promotions tool in the promotions section of the account. Users who are already using Shopping Ads will just need to check the Shopping Actions button in placements.

Users can also create a Promotions feed and set the promotions destination attribute to “Shopping Actions”. Users who already use this method Shopping Ads can update the promotions destination attribute in the promotions feed to include Shopping Actions.

All of the usual Google Ads editorial requirements are in play, and Merchant Promotion ads that violate them can be taken down. There are also some restrictions to the kinds of promotions that can be used with the Merchant Promotions feature. Most discounts are allowed, such as a percentage off, a promo code, fixed amount discount (e.g. $5 off) and quantity discounts on the same item (e.g. buy one get one free).

On the other hand, there is a rather lengthy list of prohibited offer types. These include: trade-in offers; mail-in or email rebates; products and services that are usually free; sweepstakes; text used to advertise a product without a discount; offers for less than $5 or 5% off the current price of an item; discounts on the tax/value added tax (VAT); and discounts reflected in the stock keeping unit (SKU) price on the Shopping ads product page or product landing page.

The benefits of the Merchant Promotions system make it a valuable tool for retailers who are listing their products on Google. Shopping Ads were possible in the past, but anything that makes discounts easier to see and faster to use is worth trying.

For more news about recent updates to Google, read this article on what seems to be a change in the way Google handles the rankings of ripoff and complaint websites.


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