If you’re reading this blog, you’re likely already sold on Google Shopping. If you’re not, you can read up on our take on Google Shopping here. For the purposes on this article, let’s assume you’re ready to spin up your own campaign. Where do you start? Well, understanding these Google Shopping best practices will help set you up for success.

Google Shopping Best Practice 1: Campaign Structure

If you’re familiar with Gravitate, you know we’re big on having an effective baseline. If you have the right structure, you’re set up for growth from the get-go.

A general Google Shopping campaign structure is pretty straight forward:

1. Campaign
2. Ad Group
3. Product group – Hosts products

Digging a little bit deeper into campaign structure, it’s important to keep your Google Ads campaign structure in mind. After creating a campaign, create individual ad groups that are tightly themed around the products that they will host. Think of ad groups as a way to organize your product groups.

If you’re selling iPhone accessories, from iPhone chargers to cases, you would want to separate the different iPhone products into separate ad groups.

Within each ad group, you will add product groups such as “iPhone chargers” and “iPhone cases.” When you add a product group, by default it will house all your products in one grouping. If you’re looking to adjust bids more granularly by product (you should!), just click the “+” next to all products. This will give you the option to subdivide your products.

Once you’ve divided the product group into another category, such as “iPhone cases,” it will give you the option (with the “+” sign again) to divide the product category even further. Here, you can narrow this even further, such as “wood cases vs. plastic cases”, again breaking this out for each individual product.

Remember how we said structure is everything? Breaking products out this way will allow you to adjust bids for those direct products and product categories. In our example above, let’s say you want to adjust bids for your wood iPhone cases because they have a higher margin, or perhaps you want to get rid of them faster for a new product coming in. It will be a lot easier to make this turn the knobs you need with your products broken out.

It may sound complicated, but it’s worth it.

Google Shopping Best Practice 2: Negative Keywords

Unlike paid search where you can control your targeting with match types and keywords, Google Shopping pulls it’s ranking data from your product title and descriptions. This essentially means that your targeting will be very broad. That is why it is imperative to review your search terms on a weekly basis (depending on volume of traffic) for optimization opportunities.

This is easily accessible through clicking on “keywords” in the left menu when you are in the shopping campaign you’re focused on. A drop down menu will appear; just click on search terms.

This will pull up a list of search terms that triggered your ad. Make sure to adjust the columns to lay out what KPIs you wish to measure. My main go-tos are:

  • Impressions
    Avg. CPC
    Cost per Conversion

With these core KPIs set in my columns, I’m equipped to view both ad engagement along with on-site engagement (after the click on the ad).

Google Shopping Best Practice 3: Product Titles

We have mainly just talked about how to manage the ads, let’s chat about how to actually create them. This happens in your Google product feed in Google Merchant center – the heart of your Google shopping campaign.

On this sheet, you will have several fields you are required to fill out, with product titles and descriptions being on the top of the list.

Any improvements you make to the product titles of your ads to be more relevant to your products will increase the CTR and improve overall campaign performance.

Fortunately there are many opportunities for optimizing your product titles. For example:

  • You could increase your ad CTR by including the most popular product-related search queries you find through your search query reports.
    You can rearrange the keywords in your title based on what you see your competitors are not doing.

Keep in mind that it’s still best practice to keep your titles concise and cover your most valuable keywords first, as your product title will cut off depending on where it is shown.

Example: Referring back to our earlier example of selling iPhone cases, a solid product title would include all of the important information early one with additional details after.

iPhone 11pro Max iPhone Case Black & Red Polka Dots

When the ad is shown on the first page of the Google SERPs, it will cut off and only show the bolded words (which is the most important information) vs. when the ad or listing is shown in the Google Shopping section. For the latter, the full title will be able to be seen.

Google Shopping Best Practice 4: Product Images

Seeing that Google shopping ads are set apart from Google text ads because they show an image makes it that much more important to have good images connected with your products on Google Shopping. In fact, it is crucial to being successful on the platform.

A couple of simple best practices:

  • Have a white background with a high resolution shot of your product as the main image.
    If you are selling the same product or brand as other retailers, stand out with slight variations of the product image.

    • This may be expensive, but even these slight changes can separate you from the pack and make a big difference in sales.
  • Take advantage of Google’s offerings by having several additional images attached to your listings.
    • Showing the back, sides, and lifestyle shots with the product will help shoppers make a purchasing decision.

Google Shopping Best Practice 5: Audience Targeting

There are many hidden gems in Google Ads. One of those is audiences—specifically, observing audiences.

When you set up your campaign, turn on your reporting tools! This can include ad scheduling, demographics, and audiences. Set this up to begin recording as soon as ads are turned on, then observe behavior. You can use this data down the road when refining your campaigns.

To set up audiences:

  • Go to the “Audience” tab and click the blue pencil Icon.
    Choose to either apply these audiences to the campaign level or ad group level.

    • The difference here is that with ad groups, you are able to have more granular control.
      If you want multiple key targeting groups to have consistent settings, you would want to manage audiences at the campaign level.

Once you have made your selection, you will come to a new screen where you will see two choices: “targeting” and “observation”. Since in this scenario, we’re at the beginning stages of collecting data on the people that are clicking on your ads, select “observation.”

After selecting “observation” you get the fun of diving in and building the audiences that you want to observe, learning where your current traffic falls into. There are several main options to choose from, including search, ideas, and browse. The browse tab is normally my go-to. Browse allows you to choose how you want to find your audience. For example:

  • Who they are
    What their habits or interests are
    How they interacted with your business

You can drop down each menu and select which audiences correlate with your ideal audience. As a best practice, I like to make sure to add all audiences under the category “who they are.” These are the basics like marital status, parental status, education, etc.

After you have chosen the audiences that you want to monitor, click “save” and refer back to the “Audience” tab to see who sees your ads, who engages with them, and who actually makes a purchase!


Google Shopping is a great tool created to improve user experience in search. It helps your products dominate real estate in search and showcase your products visually for an audience that has a higher intent to purchase. Even if you don’t get direct purchases, you’ll see a ‘halo effect’, where purchases are made through other channels, but there is attribution to Google Shopping as a touchpoint. Follow these Google Shopping best practices and you’ll be able to get started and see an impact!

Shameless Plug – If you’re confused, we’re here to help.