If You’re Not Moving Forward, You’re Falling Back

A reader from the UK writes:

I'm a UK adword convert after buying and reading your book. I'm running what I think is a reasonably successful campaign and learning all the time. Recently one of my competitors adverts has been carrying underneath it a little blue cross and the words "show products from ….http://co.uk" when you click on it his advert extends and you see four of his products complete with images and descriptions. I've tried using google help to find out how to do it for my adverts but have drawn a blank. Can you tell me how to access this feature please?

My reply:

You can access this feature by setting up a Google Merchant Center account and connecting it to your AdWords account.

For those of you who aren't sure what we're talking about, here's a quick visual tour:

The first and third ads both have "Product Plus Boxes", such as the reader describes in his question. When a searcher clicks the plus sign (at no charge to the advertiser), they see an array of relevant products:

If you sell physical products that people are searching for by name, make, model, function, or price, and you're not using Product Plus Box and your competitors are, you're at a definite disadvantage. 

So let's take a quick look inside AdWords to see how to set that up.

First, though, you need to get a Google Merchant Center account at http://www.google.com/merchants. Then you have to do all sorts of complicated things, like set up XML product feeds, upload products directly, or use the Google API to let Google know what you've got to sell.

Then, go into your AdWords Campaign settings to hook up the Merchant Center:

When you click the "Edit" link within the red box above, you're given an opportunity to connect the Merchant Center:

The bad news about this is that it isn't something you can put together in a couple of hours. The good news, of course, is that this isn't something your competitors can put together in a couple of hours, either. 

Oh, and one more thing

If your eyes were peeled as you were looking at the Google screen shots above, you may also have noticed the "[Merchant] is rated [Number of stars] on Google Products" feature next to select ads.

Right now, Google automatically shows this line if you have at least 30 reviews averaging 4 stars or higher. And the advertiser doesn't get charged for a click if the searcher goes to the review page. Here's an example of what you'd see if you clicked the amazon ad:

So as the title of this post says, if you're not moving with AdWords, you're falling back rather than standing still.

If you'd like help navigating the ever-changing world of AdWords from folks who spend a lot more time than you do fretting over these things, here are some options from the world of askhowie:

  1. Get an AdWords X-Ray with me 
  2. Hire me to tell you what to do with an AdWords Genie
  3. Hire my online marketing company, The PPC Agency, to manage your AdWords and Facebook accounts on an ongoing basis
  4. Join the Ring of Fire and get answers to your marketing questions, as well as interviews and group coaching calls, starting at $20/month

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  1. #1 • Etienne said on July 29 2010:

    Hi Howie,
    I just learnt that in Germany this option only exists as a test for a very few adwords customers only.
    Too bad that it isn't accessible to us, yet, as we're all set with an adwords account and a datafeed in the merchant center :(
    Best regards