Google Shopping Sucks!

Because of the con perpetrated by Google when they switched Google shopping to a paid only service, we never ventured to get this started for our own stores. Call it hard-hardheadedness… Whatever. However, in this post I am going to demonstrate to you that Google Shopping is an absolute fail, unless your products are square and fit in to a square box.

So we have a very successful dollhouse miniatures website, thus a perfect candidate to “get our feet wet” by paying Google for shopping ads.

Step 1: In the merchant center we had to develop and submit a feed containing product information such as (below) for 16,000 products.

  • Product ID
  • Product Title
  • Product Description
  • Google Product Category (Taxonomy)
  • Product Type
  • Product Link
  • Product Image Link
  • Product Condition
  • Product Availability
  • Product Price
  • Manufacturer’s Part Number
  • Brand
  • Sales Tax
  • Shipping Cost
  • Offer Expiration Date

These are the minimum information parts that are required….. But guess what?

Google is using ONLY the product title and product description to trigger your ads!

Worse than that, in product search ads you cannot include keywords.

So The first few days running the campaign, we saw lots of clicks and a bunch of our money go away and not a single conversion. This is cause for concern as organically and even in regular Adwords our site performs very well.

So I called Adwords. I spent an hour and a half on the phone with 3 different specialists to set up the ability for us to actually try to see some data needed to improve the performance of the campaign.

Now, you will never see what products are actually clicked on… Well maybe in the products tab of the merchant center where there is a “sampling” of your products which includes a “clicks” column. However, this is of no use to us, and most merchants as the columns cannot be sorted and there is no pagination AT ALL. So searching through 16,000 products at 50 products a page which no sorting tools at all is a lost cause for our 320 pages!

However, the young lady in the Analytics department was able to help be correctly tag my feed urls so I can at least see what is being queried. Below is an example of a tagged url.


Now today we have queries in Google Analytics…. but they were still challenging to locate, so let me tell you how to find them.

  1. From the account’s dash in the left column select Adwords >> Matched Search Queries.
  2. Now if you are running regular Adwords or Express they are all in here as well. But, we can help you locate them.
  3. From the list of queries Click the “Secondary Dimension” button, then Advertising and finally select “Campaign Code”.
  4. Now you still have the whole list, but we can further limit it to your Google Shopping campaign by clicking the “Advance” link under the filter box.
  5. The first dropdown will remain “include”, next dropdown set to “containing” then enter the numbers in your campaign ID in the box and click apply down below.
  6. Now you have JUST your Google Shopping clicks and queries…. and if you did this correctly, many of you are already mad when you see them.

So back to our dollhouse miniatures shop… we have the following queries for today and not a single sale.

1 inch frogs
aquarium super glue
asphalt shingles prices
assorted mini liquor bottles
bowl of nuts
buy small cermaic pot
cheap wooden buckets
dollhouse bathroom
dollhouse shingles
dollhouse slate floor
drying rack dishes
escutcheon pins
fancy door handles
foyer table under 50
french door curtains
how to build a picket fence
ice cream cake roll
irish tea sets for adults
mini shoe shine kit
miniature coat hooks for a dollshouse
miniature dollhouse furtniture
miniature dollhouse sewing room set
miniature dollhouse squirrel
miniature little red wagon
miniature ouija board
miniture beach furniture
sewing doll clothes
sewing magazines dolls
small baskets with handles
sparklers fireworks
wainscoting lowes
wringer washer

I have bolded the queries that Google delivered to our website that we PAID for that are just ridiculous. Remember we sell dollhouse miniatures….. So this list of fails and the cost associated with it prompted yet another call to Google where I spoke to a Product Ads Specialist.

So this very patient Googler (because I really am pissed) proceeded to tell me that:

  1. No you cannot use keywords in your product ads to trigger your ad
  2. No we do not use all of your data to trigger an ad, we ONLY use the product title and description
  3. The system works! Just not for you!
  4. You can use negative keywords… but that won’t work for you either


So…. Google in it’s infinite wisdom matched someone searching for “cheap wooden buckets” to the following product.

Wooden Bucket w/ Copper Handle – Dollhouse Miniature
Wooden Bucket with Copper Handle
This carefully crafted and detailed dollhouse miniature is 1/12th scale and will make a fine addition to your miniature collection.  This wooden bucket is 1-1/8″H x 1-1/8″. in diameter without the handle.  The handle adds 3/4″ to the height.

And we paid for the privilege! Why on God’s green earth to we supply categorization to Google in our product feeds and they DO NOT care to use it?

I’ll tell you why in 2 words — FOR PROFIT. Google is a for profit business and that is the goal. I totally understand this, but question their integrity on the Google Shopping fail. I gotta tell you, I can think of a bunch of merchants we know that are paying, paying, paying and getting terrible matches to their products as well. My real concern here is the Googler I spoke to feels NO OBLIGATION to deliver our ads to qualified searches. In fact he said, and I quote…

You paid for ad space and we gave you ad space.

So if you are using Google Shopping I strongly suggest you setup Analytics correctly and have a good long look at how your ads are being triggered.