On Friday 9th of April 2021, Google released a statement through 9to5google, which confirmed that the company is ending support for its shopping app on Android and IOS. And on the same day, the app started displaying “Something went wrong” to end-users, which shows that the company is really taking down the app.
However, in the statement released by the Google spokesperson, it was clearly stated that the company would continually develop the features provided by the app and ensure that they are all available on the web shopping tab. This implies that people can still use the platform to find products at the best prices using the web experience.
“Within the next few weeks, we’ll no longer be supporting the Shopping app. All of the functionality the app offers users is available on the shopping tab. We’ll continue building features within the Shopping tab and other Google surfaces, including the Google app that makes it easy for people to discover and shop for products they love.” Google spokesperson.
It’s nearly a year after the announcement, and people are curious to know what has become of the platform. Is Google still developing its shopping features as promised? Or that was the end for the platform. Moreover, is the promoting and highly convertible Google Shopping Ads dead?
Before we give our verdicts, let’s understand the Google Shopping platform or, rather, what it used to be.
Google Shopping App
Google Shopping is a product comparison service designed to help people find products easily on the Google search engine and compare prices from different merchants. Also, it’s an ad service exclusive for merchants that sells physical products to advertise their products and compete for top positions on Google SERPs.
Google shopping ads appear just below the SERP search bar when you research a product. It’s an array of similar product ads, and each is enclosed within a rectangular box. The products are displayed with their stunning images, titles, names of the retailers, ratings, and some specific information such as shipping costs. Below is the Google shopping tab for PlayStation 4 research.
The shopping app used to offer a similar shopping experience as the web platform, and they both share the same feature except that the shopping app has a bottom bar instead of the navigation drawer on the web. On the home page, you can see product recommendations and saved products. And you can start payment in the “cart” tab of the service tab.
Is Google Shopping ad dead?
Google shopping ads are still very much alive, and people are still using them to advertise and push their products to the top positions of shopping results. Shopping Ads work just like Google ads, in which you pay only when people click on the ads.
However, there are some controversies about how Google ranks products on the shopping tab. Some people actually believe the system is biased, and the search engine is only using it to sponsor or promote the products they like. This could have been why the EU Commission fined the service €2.4 billion in 2017.
Instead of getting fairer, they only become smarter in their operations. Until April 2020, they used the “paid listings only” policy that favors people that pay a fee instead of ranking products based on quality, customer reviews or fair conditions like they do for SERPs. But that April, they came up with a policy that ranks all products registered on the “Google Merchant center.”
This could have been fair, only that the products that actually get listed are those whose feeds were sent to Google by the retailer or merchants. It doesn’t really work like their search engine algorithm that crawls through web pages for relevant keywords to find resourceful pages, catalog, index, and ranks. The shopping tab only ranks businesses whose products feeds were received.
It can’t still really be considered a fair system. Besides, Google’s announcement on making the advertising platform available only to web users makes it weirder. Why rank shopping results on the web when it doesn’t use the same unbiased system that ranks SERPs?
However, you don’t really have to worry much about this when you opt for the shopping ads campaign. With worthy bids, your products will be leading the lists for relevant searches. Do you want to give it a try? These are the steps to starting an ad campaign on Google shopping.
How to create Google Shopping ads
The steps to unlocking sales through Google Shopping involve three simple stages. The first stage is the creation of a Google Merchant Account. The second involves settings configuration and product uploading. And finally, ads creation and free product uploading.
Follow through the guide below to get through each stage easily.
Creating a Google Merchant Account
- Go to the Google merchant center
- Click on the Get Started button to register for an account using your Google email.
Registering an account is straightforward on Google merchant center. All you need to do is to follow the on-screen instructions. However, you may want to have a little challenge on what programs to choose that fits your objectives.
You either sell products on your website, directly on Google, or in a physical store. The first option would be the best if you already have an eCommerce store. Otherwise, you can choose to sell directly on Google. Meanwhile, mortar and brick store owners could go for the third. Whichever you pick, Google has the facility to support your business.
- Once you’ve decided, click on continue.
- Hit the create account button on the new page to complete the first stage.
Settings configuration and product uploading
Your last step would take you to your account home page. Then, you can navigate to the setting page to make some changes and decide on what configurations you want for your account. After this, you can proceed with product uploading by clicking on the shopping feed in the left-hand column.
By setting up your feed, you’re providing Google with product details to be displayed on SERPs. You can do this by filling up the information, such as product ID, product title, product link, image link, and price requested by the Google spreadsheet in the feed section.
To be eligible to create ads for Google shopping, you need to connect your merchant account to your Google ads account. To do this
- Click on the Tools icon
- Navigate to settings
- Hit Linked accounts
- Select Google Ads
- Tap the link account button
- Enter your Ads customer ID to the space provided
- Request for link
Note: If you don’t have an Ads account, you can register one within your merchant account.
Once you have the account linked, you can set up ads for your Google Shopping. To do this
- Log into your Google ads account and hit +Campaign
- Select “Shopping” out of the list of options
- Name your campaign
- Select a country for which you want to run your campaign
- Decide on inventory filter
- Set up bidding and ads budget
- Choose the “Networks, locations and device” you want your product ads to appear on.
Google Shopping might no longer be available as an IOS or Android, but it’s still alive. You can leverage the shopping ads to push your products before millions of potential buyers and researchers on the search engine.