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  5. Google Listings & Ads

Google Listings & Ads FAQs

What is Google Merchant Center? ↑ Back to top

The Google Merchant Center helps you sync your store and product data with Google and makes the information available for both free listings on the Shopping tab and Google Shopping Ads. That means everything about your store and products is available to shoppers when they search on a Google property.

Which countries are available for Google Listings & Ads? ↑ Back to top

  • Free Listings: Learn more about supported countries for Google free listings here.
  • Smart Shopping Campaigns: Learn more about supported countries and currencies for Smart Shopping campaigns here.

What product types are supported? ↑ Back to top

Google Listings & Ads supports the following product types:

  • Simple
  • Variable
  • Virtual
  • Downloadable
  • Bundle (simple bundle products that require no user input when adding to cart) if they have the Product Bundle extension installed.

What extensions are supported? ↑ Back to top

Google Listing & Ads supports the following extensions

Google Listing & Ads also supports analytics, how does it differ from the WooCommerce Google Analytics extension? ↑ Back to top

While the WooCommerce Google Analytics extension simplifies the implementation of Google Analytics, allowing users to understand user behaviour within Google Analytics reports. The Google Listings & Ads extension manages WooCommerces integration with Google Merchant Center and Google Ads, providing in-product performance reporting of free Listings and Google Ads campaigns.

How does the WooCommerce Brands support work? ↑ Back to top

Google Listings & Ads does not automatically set the brand attribute on products. If the WooCommerce Brands extension is installed, a new option will display for the brand attribute under the “Google Listings and Ads” tab on the product edit page. Each product can then be edited and have its brand attribute set to “From WooCommerce Brands”.

We are looking to make bulk attribute management easier and add additional support for extensions. If this interests you or you have ideas/feature requests please let us know.

Why are there more products uploaded to the Google Merchant Center than I have listed? ↑ Back to top

Google Listings & Ads uses the Content API method to sync products with the Merchant Center. This is a special type of feed.

Each individual single product and each variation (not variable product) needs to be submitted for each selected language.

For example – if a merchant has the following combination of products:

  • 10 * Simple Products
  • 1 Variable Product with 5 variations

You would expect to see 15 products because:

  • 10 Simple Products
  • 5 Variations

Note – in version 1.1 of Google Listings & Ads we only support a single language.

How does the product feed sync between Woo and Google work? ↑ Back to top

Google Listings & Ads relies on ActionScheduler to sync product data via the Content API for Shopping to the Merchant Center.

Once the extension is activated and set up after finishing the onboarding wizard, we schedule an Update job to submit all of the store’s products to Google Merchant Center. We also run a bulk product sync job when the program or extension settings are modified, for example, after the target audience or shipping settings change.

Whenever a product is created or updated, it will instantly sync to Google Merchant Center via an async job. Note that it may take a while for the update to appear on Merchant Center once we have synced the data – especially for products that have not been synced and approved previously.

To exclude a product, one can choose to “Don’t Sync and Show” the product under the “Channel Visibility” box on the product edit page. If a synced product is deleted/trashed, it will also get removed from the Google Merchant Center.

To keep the product information displayed in Shopping ads and free listings up-to-date, all products synced to Google Merchant Center expire after 30 days if they are not updated. A daily update job is scheduled to run at 3 AM (store time) to re-sync the expiring products and keep them active. A product is marked as expiring if it expires within three days.

The syncing process is done entirely via Google’s Content API for Shopping. The products are submitted as batches to Google and are assigned a unique REST ID based on their properties. This ID is then stored locally and used to identify each product when interacting with the Content API.

Where will products appear? ↑ Back to top

If you are selling in the US, then eligible free listings can appear in search results across Google Search, Google Images, and the Google Shopping tab. If you are selling outside the US, free listings will appear on the Shopping tab.

If you are running a Smart Shopping campaign, your approved products can appear on Google Search, the Shopping tab, Gmail, Youtube and the Google Display Network.

What should I do if one of my products is disapproved? ↑ Back to top

Issues will be listed in your Google Listings & Ads  product feed and will include all the necessary details, including the affected product name, issue, and suggested action. You can edit products individually or make edits in bulk. Your product feed will be synced automatically once the items are approved. 

Learn more about disapprovals for product data quality violations here.

Will my deals and promotions display on Google? ↑ Back to top

To show your coupons and promotions on Google Shopping listings, make sure you’re using the latest version of Google Listings & Ads (version 1.6+).  When you create or update a coupon in your WordPress dashboard under Marketing > Coupons, you’ll see a Channel Visibility settings box on the right: select “Show coupon on Google” to enable. This is currently available in the US only.

What are Smart Shopping campaigns? ↑ Back to top

Smart Shopping campaigns are Google Ads that combine Google’s machine learning with automated bidding and ad placements to maximize conversion value and strategically display ads to people searching for similar products, at your given budget. The best part? You only pay when people click on your ad.

How much do Smart Shopping campaigns cost? ↑ Back to top

Smart Shopping campaigns are pay-per-click, meaning you only pay when someone clicks on your ads. You can customize your daily budget in Google Listings & Ads, but Google recommends starting off with the suggested minimum budget, and then change the budget after a 14 day waiting period. Keeping a set budget for 14 days, and not constantly changing it after that is best practice. It’s also recommended to provide a healthy budget for best results.

Can I run both Free Listings and Smart Shopping campaigns at the same time? ↑ Back to top

Yes, you can run both at the same time, and we recommend it! In the US, advertisers running free listings and ads together have seen an average of over 50% increase in clicks and over 100% increase in impressions on both free listings and ads on the Shopping tab. Your store is automatically opted into free listings automatically and can choose to run a paid Smart Shopping campaign.

How can I get the most out of my Smart Shopping campaign? ↑ Back to top

Smart Shopping campaigns use Google’s smart technology to optimize your ads and automatically show your products to the right shoppers at the right time. 

These additional tips can help you set your Smart Shopping campaign up for success.

Optimize your product data 

Your product data shapes the way your ads and free listings behave and perform across Google. To make your Smart Shopping campaigns as successful as possible, you’ll need to provide and maintain high-quality product data

Get more tips about optimizing your product data here.

Set the right budget ↑ Back to top

When exploring a new marketing channel, it can be tempting to start small – but an overly restrictive budget can prevent you from seeing performance. You can customize your daily budget in Google Listings & Ads and can change this budget at any time. 

Tip: if you’re seeing positive return on ad spend (ROAS), try to fuel even more growth by increasing your budget. 

Create a seamless on-site experience ↑ Back to top

The success of your campaign also depends on what happens after shoppers click on your ads. Build trust by ensuring your website doesn’t include any counterfeit, false, or missing information, and consider adding customer reviews and unique selling points like fast shipping, 24/7 support, or free refunds. You may also want to boost your website quality by reducing load times and better tailoring your product images and descriptions to your customers’ needs.

How long does the review process take? ↑ Back to top

It can take around 3 days for Google to review merchant account and product data.

If rejected, the merchant will receive notification in both the WP Admin/Woo console and their Google Merchant Center.

Can the extension be used to create multiple campaigns in a single country? ↑ Back to top

No, currently it is only possible to use the Google Listings & Ads extension to create one free listings campaign. If you need to create multiple free listings campaigns, you’d need to create the other campaigns through your Google Merchant Center.

Merchants can create multiple Paid Campaigns for the same country.

Can I create paid listings via both the Merchant Center and the WooCommerce dashboard? ↑ Back to top

Yes, merchants can onboard to Google Listings and Ads with an existing Google Ads account of the merchants choice. This should then make the campaign information visible on the “All Programs” page.

Where can I see my invoicing details/charges? ↑ Back to top

Invoicing can be checked by logging into your Google Ads account from the Google Ads website. Currently, merchants cannot access their invoicing from the Google Listing & Ads plugin, or merchant centre front end. Merchants can, however, see cost metrics associated with their campaign through the plug-in dashboard.

How can I tell which products in the Merchant Center have been added by Google Listings & Ads? ↑ Back to top

Product IDs added by Google Listings & Ads have a gla_ prefix.

For example – a WooCommerce product with a product id 23 would have the ID gla_23 within the Merchant Center.

This allows Merchants to add have multiple product sources for their Content API feed if they choose to do so.

How are taxes and shipping handled? Could a site get penalised if there’s a mismatch? ↑ Back to top

Example: Manual tax or shipping rates set up on the Google site, automated rates delivered on the WooCommerce site.

If the shipping and taxes are significantly different, Google may pick up on this. The important thing as a store owner is to try and make it, so there is no considerable difference between shipping and tax charges for customers when navigating from a Google advert to your store to buy the products.

Why did I receive an account warning or suspension? ↑ Back to top

If your website or your products are not in compliance with Google Merchant Center requirements and Shopping ads policies, your products may be disapproved and you may receive: 

A warning email: This will include details about the issue, how to fix it, and a time frame in which to fix your issues (usually seven days).

An account suspension: If your issues are not fixed, you’ll receive a series of emails containing all of the relevant information related to Shopping ads policies and account suspension. Once you resolve all issues, your account or website will be reviewed and the warning will be lifted.

Learn more about account-level enforcement for policy violations here.

How do I request a re-review if my account has been suspended? ↑ Back to top

If your account has been suspended, here’s how to request a review:

  • Sign in to your Google Merchant Center account
  • Navigate to Account issues on the Diagnostics page
  • Locate the account-level issue that you’d like to have reviewed
  • Make sure that there are in-stock products uploaded and all issues for the affected country of sale are resolved
  • Click Request review
  • Read the pop-up window to ensure that you understand the review process and its requirements and limitations
  • Tick the box and click Request review

You can only request a review if there are no other pending requests. If your account has multiple policy issues in the same country of sale, the review will apply to all issues for that country of sale. If your account is suspended, you’ll have two opportunities to request a review.

Learn more about account-level enforcement for policy violations here.

How can I understand how my campaigns are performing? ↑ Back to top

Once your free listings and Smart Shopping campaigns are set up, you can track your performance straight from your Google Listings & Ads dashboard. The following metrics will be visible within your reports: 

Conversions ↑ Back to top

A conversion is counted when someone interacts with your ad or free product listing (for example, clicking a text ad or viewing a video ad) and then takes an action that you’ve defined as valuable to your business, such as an online purchase. Learn more about conversions here.

Clicks ↑ Back to top

When someone clicks your ad, Google Ads counts that as a click.  Learn more about clicks here.

Impressions ↑ Back to top

An impression means how often your ad is shown. Impressions are counted each time your ad is shown on a search results page or other site on the Google Network. Learn more about impressions here.

Total sales ↑ Back to top

This is the total amount of sales your store has received from your Smart Shopping campaigns.

Total spend ↑ Back to top

This is the total amount you have spent on Smart Shopping ads. 

Can I use Google Listings & Ads even if I started my Google Ads journey using another integration? 

Yes, you definitely can.  

Do I need to have a WordPress.com account? 

Yes, a WordPress.com account is required in order to sync your WooCommerce store to Google and set up Google Listings & Ads. You can either sign in to an existing account, create a new account, or recover your password straight from your dashboard.

Is Jetpack required? ↑ Back to top

Jetpack is not required to use Google Listings & Ads.

If you have an existing Jetpack connection on your site either via Jetpack itself or another extension like WooCommerce Payments or WooCommerce Shipping, Google Listings & Ads will use that connection.

Is Multi Site supported? ↑ Back to top

Network activation is not supported for the extension.

We do support individual activation on a Multi Site, each site is treated completely independently (as if it would be a different site).

If greater Multi Site support interests you please let us know.

Are multi-lingual extensions supported? ↑ Back to top

Google Listings & Ads does not currently specifically support multi-lingual extensions for product syncing.

The primary store language will be used when syncing products to the Merchant Center.

Google will choose to display the listing to its users based on their locale and language preferences.

If greater multi-lingual support interests you please let us know.

Are multi-currency extensions supported? ↑ Back to top

Google Listings & Ads does not currently support multi-currency extensions for product syncing.

The primary store currency will be used when syncing products to the Merchant Center.

Google will use its own currency conversion functionality to display localized pricing to shoppers.

If greater multi-currency support interests you please let us know.

Is WooCommerce Admin required? ↑ Back to top

Yes. Google Listings & Ads builds on the new admin experience offered by WooCommerce Admin.

If WooCommerce Admin is disabled using a filter Google Listings & Ads will display a notice that it is incompatible and will not load.

How can I setup advanced shipping rates? ↑ Back to top

For more advanced shipping settings, it is best to use the corresponding shipping setup feature in your Merchant Center.

Google has a support article on how to setup advanced shipping configurations within your Merchant Center here: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/6069284

How can I make payment methods visible to users before checkout? ↑ Back to top

One of the Google Merchant Center checkout requirements is to make all applicable payment methods visible to the user before checkout.

Google recommends including this information in the footer of the website or under the buy button of the product page.

There are a few ways to achieve this (especially if you are a developer). You can add an image or images to a widget and display it in your footer, or for an easy solution, try the free WooCommerce Accepted Payment Methods extension. This will allow you to display some basic payment method information in a widget without needing to do any code….

I’m getting an “Unable to insert site verification” error when connecting a Merchant Center account – what can I do? ↑ Back to top

There are a few things to look for:

  • Confirm whether your site has a “google-site-verification” meta tag like <meta name="google-site-verification" content="longstringofcharacters" /> if it does something may be blocking Google from verifying your site (see the third point below)
  • Check your wp_options tabe for a gla_site_verification field and that it has a corresponding value include the meta tag (example above). If you don’t have this value then Google Listings & Ads wasn’t able to receive the tag information from Google. Best to open a support ticket for further investigation.
  • Google will need to verify site ownership. This is an automated process, but verification may fail if Google’s servers can’t reach your site to check for the verification meta tag (for example, if traffic from certain countries is blocked). Check that your site is not blocking traffic from Google e.g. IP or geoblocking (using a security plugin or perhaps your hosting is doing it).
  • Check if your site is running any heavy/static caching that may be causing the meta tag to not appear straight away to Google for a period of time. You may need to disable caching briefly.

How can I change my Google Merchant Center account? ↑ Back to top

To change your Google Merchant Center account, please navigate to WP Admin > Marketing > Google Listings & Ads > Settings.

Click Disconnect all accounts. This will remove all accounts previously set during the initial configuration and will allow you to start again choosing different accounts, including your Google Merchant Center account.

How do I delete my Google Merchant Center account? ↑ Back to top

Please get in touch with us so we can help you with this.

Does the extension support Multi-client accounts (MCA)? ↑ Back to top

A multi-client account (MCA) is an advanced Merchant Center account that can submit multiple data feeds for multiple domains, each may have a distinct store name and URL. Currently, Google Listings & Ads doesn’t support multi-client Merchant Center accounts.

To be able to use the extension, complete the following steps:

  • Disconnect Merchant Center and Google accounts via /wp-admin/admin.php?page=connection-test-admin-page
  • Go to the onboarding, Connect a Google Account
  • Create a new Merchant Center account

Does the extension support remarketing? ↑ Back to top

By default, Google Listings & Ads supports standard remarketing – it adds a global site tag to a merchant site which is all that is needed for standard remarketing.

Dynamic remarketing requires additional custom attributes/events to be added to the site which requires custom or third-party code.

Learn more about Standard vs Dynamic remarketing here.

Why am I having issues with claiming my website? ↑ Back to top

Website claiming is pretty straightforward and the majority of issues generally boil down to overwrite permission problems.

  • Insufficient permission – existing, independent accounts don’t have permission to overwrite existing URL claims. If a user wants to overwrite an existing URL claim, there are two options:
    • Restart the Google Listings & Ads Merchant Center onboarding process and create a new account (which, as a sub-account of the WooCommerce MCA, will have overwrite permission).
    • Delete the existing claim by changing the website URL for the Merchant Center account that owns it (https://merchants.google.com/mc/settings/website).
  • Linked account not ready – in beta versions of the Google Listings & Ads plugin, there was a forced delay between the creation of sub-accounts and being able to operate on them. In some cases, the website claim was attempted before the new sub-account was ready, leading to an error. This issues has been resolved in the Google API and should no longer present itself.

How do I remove/revoke WooCommerce access to my Google account? ↑ Back to top

There are two (2) possible approaches to removing WooCommerce access to your Google account.

  1. If you have completed Google Listings & Ads set up, from the settings tab you can use the “Disconnect all accounts” button. This will revoke permissions.

2. You can manually remove/revoke permissions from your Google Account following the steps indicated in this article.

Note – if you remove/revoke access – any and all sites that use that Google account lose access.

I’m seeing a “Request had insufficient authentication scopes.” error in my logs – what do I do? ↑ Back to top

Google Listings & Ads requires a number of additional access permissions (authentication scopes) in order to make certain requests to Google (such as those used to verify your site).

If you connected your Google account without selecting those permissions you will likely have issues trying to set up the extension and will see errors like the following in your logs.

2021-07-26T15:45:08+00:00 ERROR Automattic\WooCommerce\GoogleListingsAndAds\API\Google\SiteVerification::get_token {
  "error": {
    "code": 403,
    "message": "Request had insufficient authentication scopes.",
    "errors": [
      {
        "message": "Insufficient Permission",
        "domain": "global",
        "reason": "insufficientPermissions"
      }
    ],
    "status": "PERMISSION_DENIED"
  }
}

For now, the best approach is to go to the hidden connection test debug page located at wp-admin/admin.php?page=connection-test-admin-page and then disconnect and reconnect your Google account (under the Google Account title) making sure you select/enable the required permissions.

I have a question that’s not answered here. ↑ Back to top

Visit the Google Help Center here.

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