Google Updates Merchant Center! What Does That Mean for You?

By Leland Reed| 4 Min Read | September 9, 2016
Google Shopping Tips

I’m sure you’re a lot like me and find it hard to get excited about anything in Google Merchant Center. The UI is bland, the features are lacking, and some things are downright confusing to use. For all of the work Google has put into its other platforms (AdWords, Analytics, Search Console, Tag Manager, and more) to make them more user friendly and easy to use, it seemed like Merchant Center was always neglected.

Sorry if that was a little depressing, I promise there’s a happy ending to all of this. Google Merchant Center has finally been updated!

It's like Merchant Center is all grown up
It’s like Merchant Center is all grown up

The look and feel of Merchant Center has been given a complete overhaul and is very similar to the previews of the new AdWords UI that has been shown off by Google. The design is very clean and feels much more modern than the old UI.

The best part about this update is that it was not only cosmetic. We have new features!

The first place you’re going to want to check out is the Merchant Center programs page. Here, you’ll find options for Product Ratings, Merchant Promotions, Shopping Ads, and Dynamic Retargeting. The Shopping Ads section is a little weird since the majority of people are using Merchant Center specifically for Shopping ads, but it is nice to have an area for people who are not familiar with them.

Look at the new features!
Look at the new features!

Two of the most exciting features in the Merchant Center programs section are Product Ratings and Merchant Promotions. Before, these two features were not easy to find within Merchant Center, leading many advertisers to not take advantage of the powerful tools.

Product Ratings work by showing a 5-star rating and review system to your Shopping ads and Merchant Promotions work in the same manner, by showing promotional text along with your ads.

The final section of Merchant Center programs is a little misleading. The header is Dynamic Remarketing, which makes me think that it would allow you to somehow enable dynamic retargeting through the Merchant Center, but sadly you can only see product status for those that are eligible for dynamic ads that you are running. It would be nice for Google to eliminate the code process for dynamic retargeting, but that’s wishful thinking for now.

How I felt when I saw you couldn't actually activate Dynamic Retargeting in Merchant Center
How I felt when I saw you couldn’t actually activate Dynamic Retargeting in Merchant Center

Along with those new features, Google also updated a few existing features, making them more user friendly and giving users more options.

Feed rules, which were just released over the summer, now allow you to change or update specific values, create new values by combining existing values, and extract values from other attributes. Before the release of feed rules, none of this was possible without resorting to editing your feed within a CMS or by using a third-party data feed management tool.

The Diagnostics page, your main dashboard within Merchant Center, has also been updated. Before this update, product information was updated twice a day. Now, product information is updated in near-real time, giving you fresh data for use during optimization.

The final new feature is something that has been in beta testing but has now been released to a broader audience: Currency Conversions allow you to show Shopping ads to users in other countries without having to go through the process of converting the currency listed in your feed.

This was an unexpected, but welcome, change to Google Merchant Center. This gives me a lot of hope for the upcoming changes to the AdWords UI. Will the changes and new features change the way you approach your Shopping ads and strategy?

Confused about all of this? If you didn’t know, DOM offers Google Merchant Center feed and campaign management!

To get more information on this topic, contact us today for a free consultation or learn more about our status as a Google Partner Agency before you reach out.

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