Google Actions

Optimizing Results for Google Actions

May 31, 2020

In our previous post, we talked about “setting the table for Google Actions”  – the prerequisites you need to meet to position your products to be featured when users search for items like yours in Google Shopping.

Since Google is only compensated on a sale, it works hard to ensure a prospective buyer converts to a purchaser. So it’s going to favor products that have the best chance of success, and to reward merchants who reliably convert interested consumers.

This means winning the “Buy Box”.


Winning the Buy Box

If you set the table well, you’ve got a good chance to win the Buy Box (this is the small box with the “Add to cart” button illustrated below). Winning it is critical to success in Actions. This is because for each product searched, Google will pre-determine the default merchant and they will be the one chosen for the displayed results and the ones who appear as the vendor in the Buy Box (zip.dog in the illustration below).

What Influences Winning

So, what are the things that influence whether your product wins the Buy Box (products are judged on these factors over the past 7 days):

  • The price of entry is your rating, without it you won’t get a sniff.
  • Pricing: lowest price can be an advantage but having the lowest price is no guarantee of success. It  won’t overcome a poor shipping record for example. Your price will be calculated including shipping costs, so free shipping is a strong component. High cost plus poor shipping is the kiss of death.

Why Is the Buy Box So Important?

Simply put: because one, not all, products are served up against a search. From each search only one default merchant wins the right for their product to be the one selected for display in the Buy Box. So how do you get to be the default merchant? By setting the table better than your competitors. If not, you’ll be one of the other “buying options” listed further down the page (also displayed when “More buying options” is clicked). But, the vast majority of purchasers will go straight to the Add to cart button and click through to make the purchase. And that is why winning the Buy Box is “almost everything”.


It’s a Gift that Keeps on Giving

And, once a consumer has purchased from you, the next time he or she searches for a product that you happen to carry, yours will be the product served up. Why? If she had a great experience with her previous purchase from you, Google knows she’ll be more likely to purchase again from you through their universal shopping cart.


Tips on Winning the Buy Box

The Buy Box is so important to a performance that Google created the Insights section of the Merchant Center to show you the Buy Box performance of your products based on their win classification: high (66%+ wins), medium (33-66% wins) and low (0-33% wins).

As well, Google also displays Buy Box Week-over-Week changes. This tool allows you to analyze and address issues like price or shipping speed issues, isolate your best opportunities for wins; and identify the most popular products on Actions. For more information on Actions Insights, click here.

Keep in mind, though, that Google does not provide performance data for products that receive very little traffic or for items for which you are the only seller on Actions. This doesn’t mean you should avoid using Actions, as unique low-traffic items (i.e., not searched often) can still generate sales for you.



If your budget is tight, Actions is a great option as the cost is only incurred when a purchase actually takes place. If budget is not a concern, then consider running both Actions and Shopping Ads, as studies have shown that running them in conjunction with one another delivers stronger conversions and increased revenue (115% more conversions pairing a Shopping Actions campaign with Shopping Ads one).*

*Google Shopping Actions Playbook, 2019

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