3 Ways to Make the Most of Google Merchant Center

This post assumes that you already have a GMC account up and running. If you don’t, visit Google’s onboarding guide to help you get started.

Get Started with Your Managed Programs

In GMC, under Growth, go to Manage programs. There, you’ll see a variety of areas you can enable.

Menu pointing to Growth dropdown and selecting Manage programs

A few key ones to note include:

  • Free product listings (formerly Surfaces across Google) which opts you into free product listings on Google – this one is a “must have” since it gets you free organic traffic.
  • Dynamic Remarketing which is essential for this shopping display remarketing ads.
  • Customer Reviews to allow Google to collect and display customer reviews.
  • Product Ratings to show 5-star reviews for shopping ads.

If you have a physical store, then Free local product listings and Local inventory ads would also be of interest to you.

Just be sure to check these regularly in case any new programs are included. You can also click on the gear in the lower right of each enabled program to check your status.

Status of enabled programs

Test Promotions

Promotions can be added directly in your feed with the promotion_id or in GMC. Simply head over the Promotions section in the Marketing tab. Click the Plus sign icon to get started.

Promotion in GMC are available for the US, Canada, Australia, UK, India, France and Germany. See all the other participation requirements here.

You can select if you’d like the promotion to be for Google Ads, Free Listings or both. You can test different promotions for each of these placements which may be something you want to try. For example, you might be able to afford a discount on certain products for Free Listings, but maybe your profit margin is too low to be able to afford a discount on top of ad spend.

Next, decide how you want to offer your discount. Your options include:

  1. Amount Off (a set dollar amount off, such as $5 off $25 or more)
  2. Percent Off (a flat discount amount)
  3. Free Gift (receive this when you buy that)
  4. Free Shipping

For each of these, you can add parameters for how they work, such as get $5 off $25 vs $5 off when you buy 3 products. You can create minimum purchase thresholds for free shipping or the gift. There are plenty of options here to meet your needs.

Options for promotion destination and category

Next, select your products, redemption code (if applicable), and sale dates as your final step.

Options for products, promo codes, and sale dates

Since Google has been working to enhance their filters for items like “on sale”, promotions could really help your products stand out.

Google shopping filters displaying On Sale items.

Create a Supplemental Feed

If you aren’t familiar with them, supplemental feeds are an additional feed that contains additional data. You can’t use them as an alternate feed but more like a secondary enhancement to your primary feed.

A few ways you can use supplemental feeds include: 

  • Fix Google Merchant disapprovals and/or errors
  • Create or update custom labels
  • Change item attributes
  • Create or update promotion information (if you have it in the primary feed vs in GMC directly)
  • Add missing GTINs
  • Updated local inventory information (for local inventory ads)

So, why exactly would you use them? A few reasons. Remember, the more data you have, the more Google will know about your products to show them for more relevant searches. You can increase the number of attributes about your products so Google has more information abou them over what is just in your primary feed.

You can use your feed for testing purposes. You can test what you put in your product titles or descriptions to see the traffic impact. For example, maybe having a different descriptor in your product title such as style, size, flavor or color will impact relevancy. Think “Black Magicians Hat” vs “Adult Magicians Hat” vs “Adult Black Magicians Hat” vs “Black Adult Magicians Hat”. Do your keyword research here and then see what makes the most impact when you implement it. If traffic decreases and you have a supplemental feed to just test Titles, you can just delete the supplemental feed and Google will go back to relying on the primary feed.

Additionally, supplemental feeds can save you a tremendous amount of time. You can make bulk changes quickly and easily. You can streamline any promotions, custom labels, etc. so that you can easily adjust them seasonality and/or in your shopping campaigns. You don’t have to worry about changing them back afterwards as you can just remove the supplemental feed and everything will revert.

Page under products tab to add supplemental feeds

As you can see, Google Merchant Center can help you more than just being a “holder” for your shopping feed. Take advantage of all that it has to offer to get a step ahead of your competition.

How have you utilized Google Merchant Center? Comment below to share!