In the world of online shopping, even the smallest promotion can give your products an edge. This edge becomes even more critical as Black Friday approaches and brands compete for the attention of deal-seeking customers.

If you’re looking for a way to differentiate your ads in a sea of very similar product listings, Google Merchant Promotions is an effective marketing tactic that can be applied to all or just a few products.

Three benefits of using Google Merchant Promotions:

  • Boost your campaign’s CTR
    Discounts and offers like “Free Shipping” stand out and give shoppers a reason to click on your product.
  • Increase conversions
    When people see your product is on sale for a limited time there is more incentive for them to convert and buy now.
  • Capture multi-screen traffic
    “Special Offer” links are shown on both mobile and desktop platforms for maximum exposure to your promotion.

How much of a boost in performance can you expect? In the video below, Google states their data shows that ads with promotions have seen an average of a 28% lift in conversion rate.

Find out how to increase your product sales with Google Merchant Promotions.

How Google Merchant Promotions Work

If you have an active product feed in Google Merchant Center (GMC) you can create promotions for your shopping campaigns. Even if you’re not an experienced search engine marketer or eCommerce guru, running GMC promotions for your shopping ads is straightforward. All you need to know are the basics to get started.

Google Promotion Requirements

According to Google, there are three requirements for using their Merchant Promotions.

  1. Products need to be redeemable at checkout or by the time of purchase
  2. The promotion needs to expire within 6 months of the date the promotion starts
  3. Promotions have to comply with Google’s promotions policies and editorial requirements

Google Merchant Promotions are currently available in Australia, France, Germany, India, the UK, Canada, and the US.

Google Promotion Types

Before we get into how the set-up process works, it’s important to know what types of promotions are available and their criteria.

  • Discounts:
    • $ off or % off – Discounts must be at least $5 or 5% off
    • x% off, maximum discount $y
    • $x off $50+, $y off $100, or $z off $150 – Tiered discounts allowed
    • x% to y% off – Floor discounts (like minimum amount or percent saved) must be stated
    • Buy one get one free or buy one get 2nd x% off
    • $x cash back or $x cash rebates – Must be reflected at the cart  or checkout
  • Shipping
    • Free or discounted shipping – Must have a valid redemption code.
    • Exception: No redemption code is necessary when combined with another permissible promotion (for example free shipping + 10% off)
  • Free Gifts
    • Free item – Must clearly describe the free gift and the item can’t be samples or trials
    • $x gift card on purchase – The title must clearly state the gift card value and the gift card must be from your own store

Source – Google Merchant Help

Google Promotions Set-Up

To start your set-up, you must fill out the Google Merchant Promotions interest form. Once you get approval verification after a few days, you’ll see a Promotions tab in your GMC account.
From this point you have four options to set up your promotions:

Option 1: Use the Promotion Builder (manual route)

If you have a small number of promotions you’re running for a specific period, manually add each item by going to your Merchant Center account, clicking on “Marketing” and then “Promotions”.

Once you’re in the Promotions section, this is what you need to do:

  • Click the blue plus button
  • Choose where you want to run the promotion. You can select more than one.
    • Shopping ads
    • Free listings
    • Buy on Google listings
    • Local inventory ads
  • Select your promotion categories.
  • Follow the prompts and click Save when you’re done.

Get in-depth information on using the promotion builder.

Option 2: Create a Promotions Feed (automated route)

To run a large number of promotions simultaneously go to the Feeds option in your Promotions tab and follow Google’s instructions on how to connect your feed.

Feed set-up options:

  • Use a product feed management solution
    If you don’t have the time or the expertise to create feeds then use a Google Merchant Promotions Feed Service that works with you as a feed management partner for all of your marketing channels.

Option 3: Use the Content API for Promotions

Another way of sharing your promotions with Google Merchant Center is by using the Content API. This feature is only available in English within the United States and Canada.
Learn more about getting started with Content API for Shopping.

Option 4: Use Promotions from Third-Party Partners (the US only)

Product discounts can be shared with Google Merchant Centre through two platforms:

  • Shopify
  • WooCommerce

Configure your discounts on the eCommerce platform and it is shown within your product ads without having to set up the promotion in Google.
Learn more about managing your promotions through third-party partners

How to Add One or More Merchant Promotions to a Google Shopping Campaign

Once your promotion is set up and connected to Google Merchant Center, the next step is to map it to either all or specific products in your feed.

NOTE: If you’ve used Google’s Promotion Builder then you’ve already done this step.

All Products
You can apply up to 500 products to a promotion at one time, and only have to use one [promotion_id]. Use [all_products] as the value for the product applicability [product_applicability] attribute in your feed.

Specific Products
To create specific promotions choose “Apply promotion to products that meet these conditions” in the promotions builder tool, or work with your feed provider to map them to the [promotion_id] of the corresponding products in your feed.

Once your products are mapped to the correct promotion then all you need to do is register your feed once per target country.

Follow these steps to get registered.

  • Sign in to your Merchant Center account.
  • Click Marketing in the navigation menu.
  • Click Promotions.
  • Click Promotion feeds in the right corner.
  • Click the plus button.
  • Provide the mode, target country, content language, and name of your feed.
  • Choose an input method:
    • Google Sheets:
      • Select Google Sheets, then click Continue.
      • Select Generate a new Google spreadsheet from a template, or Select an existing Google spreadsheet, then click Continue.
        • If you selected Generate a new Google spreadsheet from a template:
          • Select Promotions, then Feeds.
          • Select your promotions feed.
          • Click the three-dot icon in the upper right-hand corner, then select Access Google Sheet.
          • Enter your data using the generated template.
        • If you selected Select an existing Google spreadsheet:
          • Browse to navigate to the file of the existing Google spreadsheet that you created on your computer and click Select.
          • Select Continue to upload your feed to Merchant Center.
    • Regular upload:
      • Select Upload, then Continue.
      • Enter the name of your feed file.
      • Select Upload a file now.
      • Drag and drop your feed file into the dotted box, or click Browse to navigate to the feed file on your computer, then click Open.
      • Verify that the filename is correct, then click Continue to upload your feed to Merchant Center.

Source – Google Merchant Help

How Data Feed Optimization empowers your Google Merchant Promotion

If you’re using a Google Merchant Center Promotions feed and a Google Shopping feed to advertise your products, consider how your feed is built and updated to get the best results from your ads.

The foundation for your campaign starts with the structure, content, and synchronization of your product feed. The correct product information should be displayed and formatted properly to entice buyers to click on your ad and purchase your promoted item.

For the best performance, focus on these feed optimizations:

  • Frequent Synchronization: Frequent updates of your feed, can prevent a negative user experience with your ads. If an attribute like inventory, has changed to below 1, a feed updated in real-time can signal to Google Shopping to stop running the ad instead of letting people click on an ad when the product isn’t available.
  • Enticing Content: The location of certain product attributes in your product listing can change the CTR of your shopping ads. We work with you to ensure important content, that gets your products noticed, is placed in the right order using advanced mapping techniques and look-up tables.
  • Well-Structured: Google has specific requirements when it comes to creating feeds for their platform and if you don’t follow them your products will get disapproved in Merchant Center. Highstreet.io is on top of these ever-changing rules to get your products approved at scale.

Create and Manage Promotions with the Right Technical Partner

If you’re worried that your promotions aren’t being executed the way you want, your products are being disapproved in GMC, or your promotion data isn’t correct; a product feed management solution can help you get on track.

To get your feeds optimized quickly and effectively in time to run your promotions use Highstreet.io’s easy onboarding service to create your Google Merchant Promotion Feed.

Get started in three steps:

1. If you don’t have a master feed already, your onboarding specialist works with you to import your product data from one or more sources in multiple formats.

2. From your master feed, we standardize and optimize your product data to create a Google Shopping Feed for one or more countries and currencies.

3. Using our feed management platform, a Google Merchant Promotion Feed is easily made by mapping your [promotion_id] to all or specific products for your promotion in your Google Shopping campaign.

4. Once the feed is created on our platform and submitted to Google Merchant Center, updates can be made quickly within your feed and live on your ads without having to work on your promotions directly in GMC.

Have questions about GMC Promotion Feeds? We are here to help you enrich your Google Shopping feed with the right promotions.     Reach out to our team to get started.