18 Jan 2023
Google Shopping is an important source of leads for online retailers. It gives them a head start in the sales process with product tiles placed on relevant search terms and keywords.
At the same time, it offers customers a quicker, more direct way to find the products they want. But how do sellers stand out in a sea of Google Shopping results? Are there ways to rank higher?
In this blog post, we’ll explain how discount pricing can help.
The mechanism Google Shopping uses to rank products and ads is complex. There’s enough content around the topic to fill a full-size text book.
But, in general, there's a handful of key considerations all retailers should remember when optimizing their listings for better rankings. These are:
Each of these factors has an influence on the way the Google Shopping algorithm ranks your listings. They also affect how attractive your listings are to customers.
Let’s take a look at product pricing in particular. It’s one of the factors that has the biggest direct influence on how your products are ranked.
Just like other forms of online advertising, Google Shopping uses a bid system to determine which competing product ads it shows to customers. Bidding strategy plays an important role when it comes to increasing product visibility. But bidding high costs a lot of money.
The price of a product is arguably just as important when it comes to determining its ranking in Google Shopping results. Data shows that Google Shopping gives preference to lower-price products when selecting top listings for any given search.
Take a look at the figures below, taken from a study by advertising researcher Andreas Reifen. He compared impressions and clicks on 700 Google Shopping product listings that were varied by price.
You can clearly see the impact lower prices have on these key metrics. But why does Google give preference to cheaper products?
We don’t know the inner workings of the algorithms Google Shopping uses to rank products. However, it’s common knowledge that customers are more likely to click on products with more affordable prices.
Ultimately, Google Shopping is all about giving customers a more convenient shopping experience. And price is the key factor that influences customer purchase decisions.
Google Shopping gives preference to lower priced products, so consider running discounts to increase your product's visibility.
Put simply, this rewards brands that list products with cheaper prices. But in reality, it’s a bit more complex than that.
Google Shopping allows sellers to add a list price (‘price’) and a discount price (‘sale price’) for each product. It uses these two different attributes to determine whether or not a product listing gets a ‘sale’ tag.
Sale tags are another small visual cue that increase the likelihood of getting clicks and conversions. Getting a sale tag to appear on your product isn’t as simple as just adding a list price and a discount price. The following conditions must be met:
The list price must have been applied for 30 of the past 200 days (although these 30 days don’t have to be consecutive).
The base price must be valid. This means you can’t display one price on your own website and feed another to your Google Shopping listing.
The product’s discount price must be lower than the list price.
The discount must be greater than 5% and less than 90%
While these restrictions are pretty simple, the first one can make things slightly trickier for businesses that like to change their prices frequently.
If you do meet the requirements for a sale tag, you can expect an even better reception from potential customers.
Google says that pilot merchants using these promotional tags saw a 9.4% increase in conversions.
Google Shopping sale tags are a useful feature that can help vendors stand out from the competition. As we’ve already mentioned, the eligibility requirements can be slightly restrictive. But this shouldn’t discourage sellers from feeding discount price data to Google Shopping.
Sellers can gain a big advantage just by listing discount prices on their products. Alongside sale tags, there are a few additional tags Google Shopping ads to listings when certain criteria are met. These include ‘price drop’, ‘free shipping’ and return policy tags.
The notable one in this case is the ‘price drop’ tag. To be eligible for a ‘price drop’ tag, an item’s price has to fall by 20% or more within a 90-day period. Google Shopping allocates price drop tags automatically, meaning you’re not guaranteed to get one even if you do meet the requirements.
So, we’ve explained how Google Shopping prioritizes lower-priced products. And we’ve seen that feeding discount price data to Google Shopping increases the likelihood of your product standing out with a special tag. But why is it a bad idea to follow this approach with all of your Google Shopping listings?
As with all promotional techniques, discounts should be used sparingly. Lower priced products will rank better on Google Shopping. But brands that list all their products with discounts stand to lose out in a couple of ways:
Customers will question the quality of their products
The business will lose out on additional revenue
Another issue is the way Google Shopping penalizes listings that frequently change price. If you add discounts to all your listings, you're effectively stuck with those prices for a while. Their rankings will fall if you revert them too quickly or too often.
A much more effective strategy is to list a couple of key products with significant discounts. These products will act as a channel to direct customers towards the rest of your Google Shopping listings.
The Promotion Engine supports all sorts of campaign types, from complex loyalty programs to reactive coupon campaigns. It also allows you to feed discount data to Google Shopping. This means you can get the full benefit of ‘sale’ and ‘price drop’ tags on your listings.
One of our customers in the publishing and analytics industry uses Talon.One’s dry request function to feed discount data to Google Shopping. Dry requests allow you to send and receive campaign data without storing it in the Talon.One database.
This improves operational performance and reduces latency so you're not sending excess requests, or using extra diskspace.
If you're listing your products on Google shopping, remember the following:
Google Shopping favors products with lower prices
You can add 'price' and 'sale price' attributes for each listing
You'll get better results if you meet the criteria for 'sale' and 'price drop' tags
Discounting too many products, or changing the price of your products to often, will harm their rankings
Join thousands of marketers and developers getting the latest loyalty & promotion insights from Talon.One. Every month, you’ll receive:
Loyalty and promotion tips
Industry insights from leading brands
Case studies and best practises
Loyalty & promotion expert at Talon.One
The World's Most Powerful Promotion Engine
Wiener Strasse 10
41 Church Street
B3 2RT Birmingham
One Boston Place, Suite 2600
02108 Boston, MA
1 Scotts Road, #21-10 Shaw Centre