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TPE 71: Boost CTR and CVR with GMC Promotions

Dec 04, 2023

Read time: 3 minutes

Yoyo, Bob & Miles back here with The PPC Edge.

Today, we want to give you an actionable tip that will help you stand out from your competitors.

It’s a quick and easy way to boost the CTR and CVR of your Shopping Ads:

Promotions in Google Merchant Center. 

If you already know and use Promotions, you have to check out the final note at the end (Google might be overwriting your promotions, and we have some solutions on what to do about it).

And if you’ve never heard of or set up Promotions in GMC…

Well then this is gonna be a gamechanger for your (Christmas) campaigns.

Let’s dive right in!


Boost the CTR and CVR of your Shopping Ads with Merchant Center Promotions.

“Promotions” is a feature that allows you to show … Well, you guessed it: promotions under your Shopping Ads.

It’s a powerful way to show a better offer than competitors and has a big impact on both your Clickthrough Rate & Conversion Rate.

The promotions show as a clickable link or a promotion badge

This is what they look like in the SERP: 

Important note: this feature is NOT a replacement of the “sale” annotations or striked-through prices — you still need to set up <sale_price> in your feed!!

Let’s look at how you can easily set up Promotions in Google Merchant Center.

Already running GMC Promotions? Good! Check out the final notes to ensure you’re actually showing the right promos…


Step 1: go to marketing > promotions.

In the GMC menu, go to marketing > promotions.

You’ll see an overview of all your past promotions and you can create new ones:

Step 2: click “+” to set up your promotion.

Now go through the following steps:


Step 2.1: Select country and language

Step 2.2: Select your destination

The destination determines where your promotions will show:

  • Shopping Ads (recommended)
  • Free Listings (recommended)
  • Chrome Browser (new)
  • Buy on Google Listings (meh)

 At minimum, set them up for Shopping Ads and Free Listings.

Chrome Browser promotions are new and only available in the US for now (they can show on the “New Tab” page in Chrome or in the Chrome address bar when a user is browsing your site). They’re part of Google’s new focus on helping people find the best deals online (read more here).


Step 2.3: Choose a promotion category and promotion type

Choose from the following:

  • Amount off
    • Fixed amount off
    • Buy quantity of products, get amount off
    • Buy quantity of products, get the same item at a discount
  • Percent off
    • Fixed percent off
    • Buy quantity of products, get percent off
    • Buy quantity of products, get the same item at a percent off
  • Free gift
    • Get a free gift
    • Get a gift card
    • Give a free gift from your inventory
  • Free shipping
    • Free standard shipping
    • Free overnight shipping
    • Free 2-day shipping


Don’t underestimate the power of free and fast shipping right before Christmas or other Holiday peaks!


Step 2.4: Add promotion details

Enter the discount, amount off, or whatever promotion you’re using, and set a minimum purchase amount if applicable.


Step 2.5 Add a promotion title and ID

Enter a title that describes your promotions and set up an ID to track it in GMC.

Make your title descriptive: include the promotion, value, and spend minimums (if applicable).

This helps to get your promotions approved faster.

Important notes:

  • Google may modify the title
  • Customers may see the title
  • Customers won’t see the ID

So keep the titles customer-friendly ;-).


Step 2.6: Add products and a promo code

Select which products are eligible for the promotion:

You can create filters for:

  • All products
  • Products with specific brands
  • Products with specific item IDs
  • Products with specific product types
  • Products with specific promotion IDs
  • Products with specific item group IDs

This confirms why it’s so crucially important to invest in optimizing your product feeds!

After you select the right products, add a custom promo code (if applicable).


Step 2.7: set a start and end date and hit “create promotion”

The last step: set a start and end date (please ensure you select the correct timezone!!), and click “create promotion”.

Congrats, your Promotion has been created!

Now you wait for Google to approve it…


Important final note 1/2: set up your Promotions early!

The downside of GMC Promotions: reviews can take a long time and they often get disapproved.

So make sure you set them up early → AT LEAST 72 hours before the start date.

And keep an eye on the dashboard to check the status of the promotions.


Important final note 2/2: Google can overwrite your data and create promotions for you…

Dennis Moons found that Google automatically created a promotion in one of his accounts, and it’s much worse than his own promotions:

Here’s what to do about it:

  1. End any promotions that were “modified by Google” if they’re not good.
  2. Opt out of all automated promotions (optional).


Mind you: automatic promotions are only available in the US for now but we suspect Google will roll them out to other countries later.

Want to opt out of all automated promotions?

Go to marketing > promotions — if you are eligible for automated promotions, you will see a green banner at the top that says “Your promotions are live on Google”.



When you click “manage”, you’ll see a pop-up that allows you to disable automated promotions.

Whether you do that or not is up to you — but now at least you know how that works!


Over to you: set up your own Promotions.

The Promotions feature in GMC is an easy way to make your ads stand out from competitors and has a big impact on both CTR and CVR.

Please make sure you set them up on time (at least 72 hours in advance).

Good luck smashing your competitors — whether it’s during Christmas or other promotions.

That’s all for today, thank you for reading!


Bob & Miles


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