The Google Shopping certification was launched within the Google Partners platform just over a month ago, but it is only available within the USA at present. However, there is a massive interest in this new exam amongst PPCers across the internet, with many advertisers outside the USA requesting that this new exam be made available to advertisers across other countries to take ASAP.
Whilst the exam continues to be unavailable across other countries at the moment, there are many willing candidates who want to be prepared for the day when it becomes available within the Partners Portal. With that in mind, I wanted to share some information, learning topics and tips that should be given attention when studying to pass this new certification.
1. The Specifics
The Shopping exam features best answer questions which must be completed within 90 minutes. It has a pass mark of 80%. Once passed, the certification remains valid for 1 year. A candidate cannot attempt the Google Shopping exam until they have first passed the Advertising Fundamentals exam.
2. Question Style
Whilst you may be familiar with seeing some True/False style questions within the other AdWords exams, there are not any of this question type featured in the Google Shopping exam. All of the 63 questions are multiple choice single best answer questions. Make sure that you read each question and it’s answer options thoroughly before choosing your answer, as once you have clicked the ‘next’ button, you cannot go back and change your previous answers.
3. Question Content
When studying to take the Google Shopping exam, it’s important to understand the role of both Google Merchant Center and AdWords. For this reason, I have created a list of areas that you should pay specific attention to for best results under the two separate headings.
There are restrictions pertaining to what can be sold on Google Shopping. You should be aware of the types of products cannot be advertised. You will also need to be familiar with Merchant Center settings including the requirement of adding a store name, and a technical contact email address that will be used to contact you should any issues arise with your data feed, such as policy violations.
The exam specifically asks about Url claiming and verification within Merchant center, so you will need to understand how and why this should be done. You should also be aware of the purpose of a Multi-client account too, and the process of linking your Merchant Center account with your AdWords account.
Make sure that you know about the specific file formats requirements that should be met when creating a data feed, and it is vital that you have a good understanding of product attributes as the exam is crammed with questions related to this. You should know all about the attributes that are required within a data feed for all items, as well as the attributes that are recommended for use too. There are a few questions about custom label attributes, so you will need to understand their role and how they can be used.
Unique product identifiers feature quite prominently in the exam, so you will need to understand appropriate use cases for this type of product attribute depending on the certain types of products that are being added to a data feed. You should also be able to demonstrate your appropriate understanding and use of the ‘Identifier exists’ attribute with a value of ‘False’ too, for products such as custom goods, antiques, vintage books etc.
The exam features plenty of policy related questions so it’s important to be aware of all of the policy details, you will be tested on your understanding of scenarios that can cause feed disapproval, as well as what can cause Merchant Center suspensions.
Other topics include shipping settings, whether added at the global level within Google Merchant Center account, product level using shipping attributes in data feed, or both. You will need to understand which shipping settings can take priority for products too.
You should understand the specific requirements for, and the importance of maintaining an active data feed, and understand the difference between submitting a data feed using the ‘standard’ or ‘test’ mode.
Finally, you will be tested on appropriate action that should be taken should you wish to sell adult products, and best practices and rules pertaining to creating and submitting suitable product images.
Whilst I’m sure that you are already very familiar with AdWords, you will need to have knowledge of creating a Google Shopping campaign to be successful in the new exam. You will need to understand the specific actions can be completed within the AdWords interface, including advanced campaign settings such as campaign priority and appropriate use of inventory filters.
Shopping campaigns do not use the same components or follow the same structure as ‘standard’ or ‘all features’ campaigns on the Google Search Network, so you will need to have knowledge of the role of ad groups, product groups, and product group sub division. There are a few questions that ask about the purpose of the ‘everything else in all products’ product group too. There are a couple of questions testing understanding of promotional messaging for PLAs, including where it should be added and also editorial format policy. You will be expected to answer questions related to available bidding options, depending on whether conversion tracking is being used or not.
You will need to know about the Product Listing ad format and the device types on which the ad format can be seen. There are a few questions about reporting functions available within the dimensions tab and product groups tab, as well as benchmark and impression share data.
Finally, you will need to have an understanding of how bid simulator can be used to identify if a change in bids can optimize product group performance.
4. Shopping Exam: Our Top Tips
- Thoroughly read all of the learning material provided, including any information contained in additional reading links.
- Apply everything you learn to a Merchant center account, it’s essential that you sign up for one and get familiar with its features and functions.
- Apply everything you learn to a Google Shopping campaign, explore the different settings, advanced settings and other tabs of your campaign.
- Watch the Google Shopping advanced certification refresher hangout from Google.
- Don’t take the exam until you are ready.