What exactly is Google Shopping?

Symbol image Google Shopping

Symbol image Google Shopping

Google Shopping What exactly is Google Shopping?

Published on 03.05.2022 by Cynthia Rousseau, Digital Commerce Trainee, Post CH Ltd

Anyone who uses Google will no doubt have come across the shopping area in the Google search results. This post explains how Google Shopping works and why it is of interest to retailers.

Google Shopping goes beyond simply searching for retailers. This particular section of the search results is shown whenever a user searches the name of a product or product range. This is of interest to retailers.

When local shops had to close during the coronavirus pandemic, many retailers started looking for new sales opportunities. It made sense to open an online shop as an additional point of sale. However, with so many other retailers now online, the competition has intensified even further. This makes it even more important for retailers to have the strongest possible online presence, so their customers are made aware of their offers. Google Shopping is one way to increase your visibility.

Aren’t Google Shopping and Google Ads the same thing?

A Google Ads account is the basis for Google Shopping. While classic (text) ads are displayed on the basis of keywords that you choose, Google Shopping is focused on product names, product descriptions, product images and prices.

What retailers need for Google Shopping

The technical basis for Google Shopping is a “data feed”. This mechanism compiles the necessary information into a special format. A data feed can be set up in various ways. This works via the Google Merchant Center. Alternatively, an interface from a partner solution such as Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce etc. can be used. Various components are linked together to set up and manage a data feed:

  • The Google Merchant Center (which manages the product information) and a linked Google Ads account (which manages the campaigns and ads).
  • We recommend that you establish a connection to Google Analytics for your subsequent analysis.
  • The Google account is the basis for the use of all Google services.
  • The Google Shopping policies must also be observed.

In some countries, including Switzerland, a programme is also available for Comparison Shopping Services. These services differ in a number of respects: some deal directly with managing campaigns and product data while others simply provide tools. The retailers still have to complete the set-up themselves. Comparison Shopping Services are also called CSSs. This list of the different providers shows you the various options available.

How is the product data sent to the Merchant Center and what do I need to keep in mind?

There are four options for uploading the product data to the Merchant Center.

  1. Google Sheets: You fill in the product data in a Google Sheet. The sheet must be updated on an ongoing basis.
  2. Planned retrieval: A file with the data is made available on a website. Google then accesses the file at regular intervals to retrieve the data.
  3. Uploading: The data is stored on a local system and transferred to the account via SFTP, FTP or Google Cloud, either manually or at scheduled times.
  4. Content API: The data is automatically transferred to the system via the interface.

Here are a few tips to help you optimize your data feed:

Titles and descriptions

  • The information provided should match the information on your target page.
  • The most important product information should be on the left so that it is immediately visible in the ad.
  • The title is most effective if it is less than 70 characters long.
  • It’s best to keep the product description to between 500 and 1,000 characters.
  • Google Analytics reports can be used to create titles and descriptions.

Product images

  • Use the highest resolution possible for your images. Images up to 4 MB in size are permitted.
  • An image size of 800 x 800 pixels is ideal.
  • A white (or at least light) image background is best.
  • Show the product from different angles.
  • Avoid placeholders, logos, watermarks, advertising elements or frames.

The option to automatically improve images is available in the Merchant Center. This function is primarily used to remove unnecessary text.

What is Smart Shopping?

Smart Shopping campaigns are a special type of advertising. Google uses data from the product feed to deliver these campaigns in the form of ads on various (advertising) networks, including Display Network, Google Search, Gmail and YouTube. The ads are automatically created and displayed by Google. The advantage of this is the enormous reach of these product ads. However, unfortunately, there are fewer options for individual settings. It’s also not possible to influence the date of display or the platform used.



Are you looking for a professional to help you create your ads? If so, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Cynthia Rousseau
Digital Commerce Trainee
Post CH Ltd

Cynthia Rousseau is a trainee in the Digital Commerce team with Swiss Post. In this role, she supports retailer customers in improving their level of digital maturity by providing strategic advice relating to digitization and designing solutions.

Portrait Cynthia Rousseau

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