Out of all the Google Adwords campaign types available, we feel that Google Shopping has to be the hardest one to set up. Many new Adwords users give up and just contact us for Google Shopping management. We can do that for you as well, but if you’d like to jump into it yourself, then let’s get started!

What Is Google Shopping

If you’ve done any sort of product related searches on Google then you’ve no-doubt seen Google Shopping results yourself. Here’s an example:
Google Shopping Results
When you click those results, you’re taken into the Google Shopping area where you can do more searches with more refined settings. Not exactly, but in a way It’s Google’s answer to Amazon. If you’re reading this we’re assuming you’re looking to get your products shown here as well.

Setting Up Your Merchant Center Account

Your first step to selling in Google Shopping is to head over to the Merchant Center. This is where you’ll be uploading your products and letting Google know that they exist. It’s a little easier said than done, but we’ll try and do our best to explain it clearly for you.

Like the video above says, sign into Merchant Center with your Google account that you’d like to use. If you happen to already use Google Adwords, use the same sign-in here.

You’ll be filling out details on your business name and contact information. You’ll also need to verify and claim your website. The website where users will be taken to when clicking on your product listings. This requires that you have an account on Search Console set up and ready to go. If you don’t, click that link(opens in new window) and take care of that first. If you’ve never heard of Search Console (formally called “Google Webmaster Tools”), here’s a great rundown on what it is.

Google Shopping Feeds in Your Merchant Center Account

(Selling on a platform like WordPress or Shopify? Skip down to the tools section below!)

Once you’re signed into Merchant Center click on “FEEDS” in the left menu, and then click the orange +Data Feed button:

merchant center data feed

This is where you’ll upload your products into your Merchant Center account by registering a new feed. You can choose to upload a test to get the hang of it first. Just choose that option from the dropdown if you’d like to do that. If not, pick “Standard”.

Then you’ll be choosing if this is an update to existing products, or a brand new Product feed. Most of you reading this will probably be uploading a brand new feed, so you’ll choose, “Products” as the Feed Type.

Finally give the feed a name.

Now you’ll be met with a screen that looks something like this:

merchant center feed input

1) If you use Google Sheets then there’s a really convenient option to choose from here. Choose the GOOGLE SHEETS option, and then hit the CONTINUE button. On the next screen you can choose to have a template generated for you. I highly recommend this method. If not you’ll be doing more manual work than needed.

2) The next option you see there is where you can host a product feed template somewhere online, and then tell Google to regularly pull from it on a scheduled basis.

3) Your third option is to manually upload a product feed template via Excel or TXT file. If your file is under 20mb you can quickly upload it right there at the push of a button. If your template is larger than that you’ll need to go the FTP route. Most of you just starting out will probably be able to use the easy upload button method here. If not you’ll need to follow the directions here in order to get FTP set up correctly.

The quickest way to get started with #3 is to grab one of the the example templates mentioned here in this Google help page.

But wait, there’s more! A lot more. We told you this was a rough campaign type to set up!

Now that you have your example template ready you’ll now need to read up on what is required to go in your feed template. A few things are always required. Others are needed depending on the type of products you’re selling, as well as what country you’re selling in.

Get started reading this Products Feed Specification article here.

But here is what’s required for everyone:

1) ID

The one which gives people the most problems is that last one, Unique Item Identifier.
Google does a pretty good job going over it all right here.

Tools For Easier Google Shopping Feed Management

If your website is built on a platform like WordPress, Shopify, or BigCommerce, then you want to pay close attention to this part. It will


Many of these popular platforms have easy add-ons and plug-ins that do most of the feed template setup work for you. You’ll still need to sign up for your Merchant Center account, but you can let these tools do the rest of the work.

Sell with WordPress and WooCommerce?

woocommerce google merchant center

A plugin like this one is what you’re looking for!

Many people are selling with Shopify these days.

google merchant center shopify

This Shopify app is a must!

If you’re a BigCommerce user then they do have a similar tool, but it looks to be only available for Plus and Enterprise plans. You can read the details here.

After Your Feed is Submitted

Once you’ve got your feed uploaded to your account you’ll then need to wait a bit before it’s reviewed and processed. On average, our clients’ feeds take at least 24 hours before any new data is showing under diagnostics:

merchant feed diagnostics

Shortly you’ll know if there’s any warnings, or if there are any major errors. Warnings won’t prevent your feed from being used, but errors could.
Once you see that your feed is active with no major errors, it’s time to jump into the actual Adwords platform!

In part two we’ll show you exactly how we save our clients’ money on Google shopping campaigns.