Merchant Promotions: What You Need to Know

Kaitlin Pursley / 17th June 2015 / Comment / PPC

This is the third in a series of “What You Need to Know” posts from our esteemed SEM expert Kaitlin Pursley. Be sure to check out her previous posts on Bing Image Extensions and Google Countdown Ads.

Maybe you’ve searched for a product on Google and seen a “Special offer” tag under the product. Have you ever wondered how to get that feature on your own Google Shopping ads? Wonder no more! In this post, we’ll dive into setting up Merchant Promotions and explore why you should be using them.

What Are Merchant Promotions and How Do They Work?

Merchant Promotions allow you to promote a sale on all products or a group of products on your Google Shopping ads.


An example of a Merchant Promotion.

Merchant Promotions appear on either all products in your data feed (if you are having a site-wide sale) or on specific products when your Google Shopping ads appear on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). The “special offer” tag will appear throughout the duration of your sale and will be automatically removed when your sale is over.

Why Should I Use Merchant Promotions?

Merchant Promotions make your ads stand out from the competition. They entice the searcher to buy from you (over your competitors) because you are offering a discount.

Additionally, Merchant Promotions significantly improve your Return on Investment (ROI). For a used book online retailer, I have consistently seen Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) maintain over 600% throughout the duration of the promotion. That’s a 50% increase over the usual (non-promotion) ROAS of 400%.

With returns like that, Merchant Promotions are a no brainer for my clients.

How Do You Set Them Up?

Now that you know what Merchant Promotions are and why you should use them, let’s set them up.

In order to use Merchant Promotions, you must have a Google Merchant Center and be running Google Shopping ads.

To sign up for Merchant Promotions, fill out the Merchant Promotion Interest Form. The form claims it will take 1-2 weeks for Google to review the application, but I’ve always heard back within a few days.

Once you get the green light from Google, you’ll see the “Promotions” tab appear on the left sidebar in your Google Merchant Center.

Now it’s time to set up your first promotion. Before you do, however, it’s important to know what kind of promotions you can use. Check out Google’s Merchant Promotions Quick Guide for a clear overview of what is and isn’t allowed. The biggest callout? Google won’t allow you to attract new customers with a discount. Promotions must not be restricted to certain groups of people.

When you have a sale that applies to all of your products, Merchant Promotions couldn’t be easier to set up.

  1. Click the “Promotions” tab
  2. Hit the red “+PROMOTION” button
  3. Create a Promo ID (I like to name it something similar to the sale)
  4. Choose your Country and Language
  5. Fill out the title (this is what people will see when they click on your “Special Offer” tag on your ads
  6. Enter in the redemption code (if applicable)
  7. Choose “All products” under product availability
  8. Select the dates and times of your promotion

And voila you are done. You don’t have to remember to turn the promotion on or off as Google will utilize the “Effective date range” you entered.

merchant_promotions_setupWhen you have a sale that applies to specific products (like cookbooks, for example), setting up Merchant Promotions gets a bit trickier.

You’ll follow the same steps for when you are creating a site-wide promotion, except when it comes to “Promo ID”. Since this promotion only applies to specific products, you’ll need to add your designated “Promo ID” into your Google Shopping data feed under the “promotion_id” attribute. Be sure to only put the ‘Promo ID’ on the products that should be included in your sale. Leave the “promotion_id” attribute blank for products that should not be included in your sale.

There you have it! It’s as simple as that. Merchant Promotions are simple to set up and drive incremental revenue, so why not try them out?

By Kaitlin Pursley