Google Shopping ads and Facebook ads are powerful channels for e-commerce advertising.
While each of these channels is strong on its own, the winning advertising strategies are holistic campaigns that maximize on conversion opportunities by combining Google Shopping ads with Facebook ads.
They are very different approaches to advertising that, when used together, allow advertisers to reap a number of benefits.
It will allow you to engage with a wider audience that can boost your bottom line, for one thing.
However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to getting your multi-channel advertising strategy ironed out. The specifics will greatly depend on many factors such as your site, industry, and campaigns (as well as what you want to track in your campaigns).
To help you build your Google Shopping Ads and Facebook Ads combined advertising approach, we created a 10-step checklist that you can follow when getting your strategy off the ground.
It can be doubtlessly stated that Google and Facebook dominate their respective domains.
With more than 2 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the world’s largest social media network. Google is by far the world’s largest search engine: 2018 estimates are in the vicinity of 5.5-billion searches per day.
If you still think you need to make a choice between Facebook Ads and Google Ads when deciding how to allocate your advertising budget for 2019, now relax!
Here’s the answer: eCommerce companies must use both advertising channels to promote and sell their product.
In the advertising world, they complement the other.
Google Ads and Facebook Ads can supplement each other’s work and work together in a complementary way to skyrocket your ROI.
This article explains how to get started with your combined advertising approach to get more results in 2019.
How to Build Your Google Shopping Ads and Facebook Combined Approach
First, you’ll need these essentials:
- A Google Merchant Center account (with admin access)
- A Google Ads account (with admin access)
- A Facebook page (with admin access)
Then you need to get some work done, it’s quite easy (and it can be even easier if you use AdEspresso, (shameless -but useful- plug :oops:)
Here is the checklist of the 10 Step you need to take:
- Understand the consumer decision-making process
- Link your Merchant Center to Google Ads
- Create Google Shopping ads campaigns
- Connect audiences from Google Ads to Facebook
- Create Facebook ads to generate impressions
- Create a retargeting campaign
- Set up campaign link tracking and reporting
- Learn how to track and report on campaign performance
- Designate a landing page for shoppers
- Make your Google Shopping ad stand out
Enjoy your results!
Step #1) Understand the Consumer Decision-Making Process
Your end goal is to get customers to purchase.
Before we dig too deeply into why a strategy that combines Google Shopping ads and Facebook ads is your best bet for driving conversion, let’s first take a step back to think about one critical question:
What steps happen in the lead up to purchase?
The consumer decision-making process typically follows this pattern:
- They identify a pain point. For instance, let’s say they realize that winter is on its way and they don’t have an adequate winter coat.
- They research solutions to the problem. In this case, they might find that for their climate, buying a light winter jacket is more than sufficient.
- They compare different products. Nearly half of all e-commerce customers (46%) want to see product comparisons. Before making a purchase, consumers will often shop around to see what’s out there. In this case, they might search for “light winter jacket” online to see what results come up.
- They choose a product and purchase it. This happens after consumers have identified what they need and decided a certain product is the best solution to their problem. Ads can help consumers make a product selection, which eventually leads to purchase.
- The “aha” moment. This happens after a purchase when the consumer is using a product and realizes that they indeed make the right decision.
The purchase decision process emphasizes why Facebook ads and Google Shopping ads work so effectively together, as shown in the Venn diagram above.
Facebook ads can help consumers identify a pain point through ads made specifically to help customers identify pain points.
Depending on your campaign, Facebook and Google can both facilitate the middle steps of consumer decision-making.
Whether it’s through Google Shopping ads or a Facebook re-targeting ad (or a mix of both), a consumer will follow the journey of researching solutions, comparing products and arriving at a final decision about what they want to buy.
Used together, Facebook and Google Shopping ads guide consumers along the purchase decision-making process in a fluid, natural, and, most importantly, holistic manner.
Step #2) Hook Up Your Merchant Center to Google Ads
To create advertising campaigns on Google, you need to enable data transfer between your Merchant Center account and Google Ads account.
Getting both accounts hooked up is easy.
Before you get started, make sure you have a Google Merchant Account and a Google ads account. You will need admin access in both to complete this setup.
Here’s how to do it:
- Head over to your Merchant Center account to get started.
- Log in and you’ll see an icon with three dots stacked on top each other. Press “Account linking,” then “Google Ads.”
- You will be shown your Google Ads account information. Once that’s up, you’ll see your customer ID. If you have multiple Google Ads accounts, you’ll likely see multiple customer IDs. Find the customer ID you want to link to your Merchant Center and go ahead and select “Link.”
- That’s it! Now you’re ready to transfer product data from Google Ads to your Merchant Center.
By putting products front and center on relevant Google searches, Google Ads are a golden opportunity for e-commerce companies to get the most bang for their advertising buck.
If you’re not completely sure you’re targeting the right audience on Facebook, you can refresh your memory about how to do that with this guide. You can also run split tests with Facebook ads to refine messaging and keywords.
Step #3) Create a Google Shopping Ads Campaign
Now that your Merchant Center and Google Ads accounts are linked, you can get started on creating shopping campaigns!
Again, this process is straightforward.
First, you need to create a Google Ads campaign. Log into your Google Ads account, then follow Campaigns > + Campaign > Shopping.
This will bring you to a page where you can add campaign details.
- A campaign name (under “Select campaign settings”).
- A merchant identifier (“Select account” from the dropdown menu).
- Country your campaign applies to. You can also target specific locations under “Locations.”
- Optional Campaign priority (under “Shopping settings [advanced]”). Do this is if you have multiple campaigns running simultaneously. When you add a new campaign, it’ll automatically be set to “Low” campaign priority. You can change that to “Medium” or “High” to best fit your needs.
- Optional Inventory filter (under “Shopping settings (advanced)”). If you have 200 products in inventory but only want to sell 50 through this campaign, you can specific that with this field.
- Search partners to widen exposure to your campaign. The defaults are the Google Search Network and Google search partner websites, but you can add others.
Next, you’ll need to select your bid strategy.
Since you’re mainly interested in conversion, select “Enable Enhanced CPC.” You can also select “maximum cost-per-click big (max. CPC)” or “enhanced-cost-per-click (Enhanced CPC).” Max CPC means you’ll set bids for clicks by setting a manually setting a max bid that you’re willing to put out. If you want to maximize conversions, however, go with Enhanced CPC. That will automatically update your max bids, meaning you get more out of your ads without spending more money.
- Identify your budget.
- Under “Advanced”, you have the option of adding more specifics to your campaign, such as ad scheduling and URL tracking. These fields is not required, but helpful for staying even more on top of your shopping campaigns.
- You’re done!
Go ahead and save your campaign.
Step #4) Connect Audiences from Google Ads to Facebook
To launch a multi-channel advertising strategy, you’ll want to transfer audience data over from Google to Facebook.
Syncing audiences between these platforms can allow you to use Facebook custom audiences to retarget on Google Ads:
It will also help you get REALLY specific about your target market by transferring Facebook data over to Google.
To help you decide which strategy to go after when connecting your audiences between Facebook and Google, we put together this handy guide.
Step #5) Create Facebook Ads to Generate Impressions
Google Shoppings Ads are great for driving sales, but a consumer won’t buy something until they realize they want it. Through Facebook advertising, you can catalyze that realization by hooking your audience.
Facebook calls this “impressions.”
You should strive to create meaningful impressions before you push consumers to buy. Otherwise, you’ll skip ahead of critical steps in the consumer buying process and will likely lose your audience’s attention.
Facebook is a great way to generate impressions by putting your product on the radar of potential customers. This will start spinning the wheels that lead to purchase.
After you’ve got an audience’s attention, Google Shopping is how you close the deal.
This is valuable because it gives you a scalable way to introduce an idea, and then a way for consumers to follow through with a purchase once they arrive at a decision.
A strategy for selling the idea is as important as a strategy for selling the actual product; 55% of e-commerce consumers make purchases after they “discover” products through social media.
To run ads that will bring in the most engagement, you need to figure out what will generate the most impressions for your product.
There are so many ways to do this depending on what you’re actually selling. These include but are not limited to:
- Demo videos that show how your product works or demonstrate its value.
- Before and after photos or videos showing the effect of your product.
- Influencer videos or testimonials videos to generate hype.
- “Lifestyle” ads visualizing the attractive outcome of purchasing your product or subscription (for example, if you’re a designer dress rental company, you could have videos featuring various dresses at glamorous events, like in this Rent the Runway Facebook ad).
- Photos and copy that highlight the unique selling proposition(s) of your product. For instance, if you’re Patagonia, you might mention that your jackets have “down fill,” are made of “100% recycled polyester,” or that they are “ultra-light and packable for travel.” Take your features, such as those shown below, and turn them into short snippets to promote in your ads.
Another example is Rothy’s.
Notice that the advertisement below sells an idea rather than a product for purchase. They don’t even list any prices. There is no direct pressure or call to action to buy.
Why do they do this? Because Rothy’s knows that giving consumers a reason to buy the shoes incentivizes them to follow through with a purchase. Put simply:
More Impressions = More reach. More reach = More conversions
Facebook impressions facilitate the critical steps between identifying a pain point and choosing a product.
If someone saw the ad and later decided to look for the flats online, they could run a Google search for Rothy’s or simply “recycled flats” and come across Google Shopping ads that fluidly guide them to purchase.
Remember to use Facebook Custom Audiences to drive engagement. As the biggest social network in the world, Facebook collects enormous volumes of rich user data to help you get your ads on the right screens.
Use Custom Audiences to specify the demographics, geography, and interests your ad should reach. These should be based on your consumers and target audiences. If your ad gets to the right Facebook users, you’ll benefit from more engagement, impressions, and reach – all of which can indirectly result in more conversion.
Step #6) Set Up a Facebook Retargeting Campaign
Google Shopping ads and Facebook are the perfect complements for creating a holistic, multi-channel advertising campaign that works in tandem to drive conversions.
One way to do this is with retargeting.
Have you ever visited a company’s website, looked at a specific product, and closed out of the tab only to see a Facebook ad for the same product just a few hours later? It’s not a coincidence. It’s retargeting.
For example, to receive the Facebook ad above you would first have to express interest in the product by looking at it on REI’s website. Then, REI would identify you as an interested and even purchase-ready consumer.
In that case, the Facebook ad pushes an already-engaged consumer further along in the decision-making phase to hopefully drive a purchase.
To re-engage an already-interested audience, you need a Facebook tracking tool called Facebook Pixel. It’s just a bit of code that’ll help you stay on top of your campaign audience (read more about it in our guide).
Next, you’ll need to get your Pixel code hooked up.
Facebook will give you two options:
- Work with one of their integrations (BigCommerce, Google Tag Manager, Magento, Segment, Shopify, Wix, and WooCommerce).
- Manually add the code if your setup doesn’t include one of their existing integrations. This is not complicated; all you need to do is add your Pixel between <head> tags in your site code.
For basic tracking, that’s all you need to do.
But for more advanced tracking, you can add some more code to monitor user events such as:
- Generate lead
- Complete registration
- Add payment info
- Add to cart
- Add to wishlist
- Initiate checkout
- View content
Each of these will be shown as a toggle. If you toggle a particular event, it’ll generate code to add to the relevant area on your website. After you get the code you need, make sure you press “Done.”
You can learn more about mastering your Facebook Pixel here.
Step #7) Set Up Link Tracking and Reporting
When you’re advertising on multiple channels, you need a way to understand web traffic patterns to know what is driving conversion. Then you can double down on efforts that most closely associate with conversion.
You’ll do this with “UTMs.”
UTMs are “Urchin Tracking Modules.” They’re how you keep track of activity associated with your Google and Facebook ads.
For example, to keep track of clicks on this Facebook ad, Rothy’s will create a UTM for the link connected to this ad:
When you click on the link, you’ll be taken to a landing page displaying the shoes featured in the ad:
But notice the link at the top. It’s not a nice, clean slug. Rather, it’s a long, awkward-look string of text:
Notice the structure of the link. It’s the normal site link (women’s new arrivals, in this case) combined with the UTM associated with this particular Facebook ad. That makes it really easy to attribute traffic to its referring source (e.g., Facebook or Google).
Step #8) Track campaign performance with UTMs
You can use UTMs to monitor multi-channel campaign performance in Google Analytics.
- Go to your Google Analytics and select “Customization.” From there, go to “Custom Reports.”
- Create your custom report. Add a title, dimensions (such as campaign, source, landing page, or medium.)
- Add metrics to track. You can track the basics, such as the number of users and bounce rate. You can also get more in-depth insights by measuring the e-commerce conversion rate, internal promotion clicks, product adds to cart, product checkout, and more.
- Save your custom report!
Step #9) Send Shoppers to a Designated Landing Page
Your goal is conversion. In e-commerce, that usually means your goal is sales. So, when someone clicks on your Google Shopping ad, they need to be taken directly to a way to complete the purchase.
Landing pages are how you do just that.
Let’s say you’re on the hunt for polarized sunglasses. You run a search in Google and voilà, you’re met with a full suite of Google Shopping ads showing polarized sunglasses.
You click on one option, which brings you here:
Since you’re still shopping around, you try another listing:
Different product, different brand, different company. But the two listings share one extremely obvious similarity: their landing pages.
Both landing pages are bare-bones simple. Their one and only purpose is to drive consumers to conversion.
What you include on your landing page can vary. In fact, it’s probably worth testing out a few ideas to see what performs best in terms of percentage of conversions per click. For sunglasses, it looks like the winning landing page layout turned out to be a big photo of sunglasses and a very obvious “Add to cart” button.
Ultimately, how you choose to design the landing page linked to Google Shopping ads is secondary at best. Making the landing page in the first place? Absolutely critical to conversion.
Step #10) Highlight Product Perks in your Google Shopping Ads
With Google Shopping ads, your product is often listed side-by-side with comparable products from other companies:
This means that the pressure is on. In just a few words, you need to make your product stand out by advertising the perks that differentiate your product from the others.
Shown in the example above, the companies use the following ways to grab your attention:
- Price cuts. One company advertises a 27% price drop, which implies this deal is a limited time offer.
- Free shipping. Even if the other companies offer free shipping and just don’t advertise it on their Google Shopping ad, putting this information on your ad makes your listing look more attractive at first glance.
- Average user ratings. 69% of e-commerce customers want more product reviews or testimonials. Displaying ratings is a way to emulate that in an immediately recognizable way that can help drive a purchase decision.
- A short but specific description of your product. Mention the product brand, model and any important information.
The better your ad is at capturing consumer attention, the better it’ll be at encouraging people to select your ad, visit your landing page, and potentially make a purchase.
To make your Facebook ads lead into your Google Shopping ads, use consistent wording to help guide shoppers to your ad. Because Google will determine shopping ad relevance based on your website and Google Ads bid settings, it’s key that the same keywords carry through from your website to your Facebook AND Google ads.
In 2019, Guide Consumers to Conversion
The combination of Google Shopping ads with Facebook ads puts the power to boost your 2019 advertising results straight into your hands.
Thanks to Facebook impressions to Facebook retargeting to Google Shopping ads, you can strategically guide consumers along the buying decision-making process.
And you can do all of this without being pushy about your sales process. The best-combined advertising strategies are the ones that seem so natural to consumers that they don’t even notice it.
To dig deeper into each advertising channel, read our related post, “Facebook Ads vs Google Ads: When To Use Each Ad Network.”