Online Shopping Discounts: Enhancing Product Listing Ads with Merchant Promotions

Merchant Promotions – also called special offers – give retailers an opportunity to highlight their products and better their chances of click through rate and conversion.

According to a study by Google, Venus, one of the largest direct marketers of women’s fashion and swimwear, was able to increase their click-through rate by 7% and decreased their cost-per-click by 11% thanks to leveraging merchant promotions.

Venus created a “free shipping” offer as its first Merchant Promotion, and in just one morning, enabled free shipping across Venus’ entire product inventory of over 12,000 items.

Benefits of using Merchant Promotions include:

  • Acquisition – Retailers can boost their click-through-rate by highlighting listings.
  • Conversion – Increase conversions by giving shoppers a reason to buy now.
  • Cost – No extra charge for including promotions with Product Listing Ads.



Top 5 Google Product Listing Ad Merchant Promotions:

    • Free Shipping


    • Lowering the Free Shipping threshold


    • Buy One, Get One or Buy One, Get One 50% Off


    • Tiered percentage discounts (Example: 5% Off Orders of $50, 10% Off Orders of $100 or more)


    • Brand specific rebates (Example: One for each brand, sponsored by the manufacturer)


According to William Parris VP of Accounts at CPC Strategy, the type of merchant promotions he has seen the most success with are tiered promotion and lowering the free shipping threshold.


For example: Normally, retailers offer free shipping on orders of $75 or more, but with the special merchant promotion the order is free on totals of $35 or more).


How Often Can Retailers Run Merchant Promotions?

Retailers can only input promotions for a max of 3 months. What that means is retailers would have to create new ones every 3 months for the same promotion.

Pro-tip: Retailers can create merchant promotions for the entire year, with a new promo set for every quarter. If it’s for specific products, they must make sure to add all 4 promo IDs to the respective SKUs in their feed. They should also be able to use an actual promotion feed to accomplish this as well.


Merchant Promotion Guidelines Include:

    • Promotions must add value above and beyond the product’s current price


    • Promotion title must be clear and accurate


    • Promotion redemption must be clear and simple


    • Promotions must not be overly restrictive


    • Promoted products must be clear to the user


    • Confirmation of promotion receipt must be clear


    • Promotions for free or discounted shipping must be associated with a redemption code


    • Combined promotions policies


    • Promotions must adhere to Google’s Editorial Policies


    • Promotions must adhere to Google Shopping policies


How Retailers Apply for Google Merchant Promotions:57B0602C705288F335719C4A6C20F34A3E21

Step 1: Merchants must have active product feeds before they can apply for a promotion

Step 2: Fill out the Merchant Promotions Interest Form. According to Google the request will be reviewed within 1 to 2 business days but can take up to two weeks for a response in some instances.

Step 3. After a promotions feed and products feed are processed, Google will review promotions against their guidelines and validate promotions before distributing them. Processing, review, and validation can take up to 24 hours, but typically is completed within 12 hours. We recommend submitting your promotions as early as possible for a timely review. The approval process requires 2 steps:

    • Policy review: The policy review ensures the promotion follows all our Editorial Guidelines and Program Policies. This review will occur shortly after a promotion is submitted during business hours Monday – Friday.


    • Validation review: When a promotion becomes active on a site, testers will verify that the promotion works and that it follows all Program Policies.


Click here for more on how to gain Merchant Promotions approval.

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