Google Actions

Setting the Table for Success

May 29, 2020

Google Actions is a performance-based, cost-per-sale platform. There are no listing fees, so it costs you nothing until a consumer purchases one or more of your products through Google’s universal shopping cart. Then, once the sale is paid for, Google charges you a small commission (averaging around 12%) on the purchase price of your order.

Unlike their pay-per-click Shopping Ad cousins (first row below), Actions ads display a small blue shopping cart icon in the top corner of the ad (second row below).


Aside from Looks, How Do Actions Ads Differ from Shopping Ads?

Unlike Shopping ads where costs are incurred each time a user clicks through the ad to your site (whether they buy or not), there are no “upfront” costs for Actions – Google charges its commission only after it processes a purchase.

After each Actions purchase, Google records the order details in the Google Merchant Center. AdAmplify then syncs each order to your Shopify store, so you can manage Actions orders in the same place and in the same way as orders sold directly on your site. As well, we also sync your fulfillment information back to the Merchant Center, so that Google (who provides the first line of customer support) can answer any questions from a purchaser or issue a requested refund. Because refunds can originate either from Google or your store, AdAmplify syncs these in both directions, so both systems are kept current.

And, unlike Shopping ads where the merchant is responsible for setting up, managing, and optimizing their ad campaigns, Google manages these tasks for you. This means considerably less work in ongoing campaign effort and cost, which can be substantial if you are continually reviewing and optimizing your results.

Actions is governed by a very different algorithm than Shopping ads. Actions maintain a Retailer Standards Rating for each merchant, and along with it, looks at your record for speedy and timely shipping, and at how competitively each of your products is priced. It is critical to realize that Actions puts it on you for getting your products the best exposure possible. Not understanding the criteria Google uses means you could see poor or no results. So, there is ongoing maintenance here, but in our opinion, it is much less work and requires less expertise than optimizing campaigns on an ongoing basis.

Setting the Table for Actions

So, let’s summarize the things you need to focus on to make Actions work well for you.

Retailer’s Standards Rating: this is a qualitative score based on two factors – item defect rate and shipping defect rate. Item defect rate looks at the percentage of your items that had negative ratings (1 and 2 star reviews) because of quality issues or were canceled by you because they were out-of-stock. Shipping defect rate measures the speed and accuracy of your shipping performance, based on incidents where orders were not shipped on time, or an incorrect item was shipped, or an item wasn’t appropriately packaged.

Google awards retailers with the best ratings in two ways:

  • more frequent exposure in Google Shopping with no order cap; and
  • discounts on the commission it charges on your sales.

Google itself has the right to cancel orders not shipped within three days, and will mark you down for this. So, you need to strive to deliver quality products that are accurately described and illustrated on your site. And to meet or beat the handling and shipping transit times that you establish within Google’s guidelines.

Check Google’s suggestions on how to get out in front of these issues; check their recommendations out here.


Summary Is Google Actions Effective?

There are two appealing features of this program for merchants. First, you’re not paying a fee each time a user clicks on your ad. You’re only charged when Google sells an item for you. Second, your Actions items are displayed in the Google Shopping tab and will be found by more highly qualified users. That’s because users browsing Google Shopping tend to be one step closer to buying than those who see a Shopping ad or a text ad.

Read the importance of winning the Buy Box here.

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