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Google Merchant Center Next

Google Merchant Center Next: Walkthrough and Comparison

Google Merchant Center Next: Walkthrough and Comparison

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Post Summary

Google Merchant Center Next Walkthrough & Comparison

If you're like me and were itching to get into the new Merchant Center Next UI, then look no further! I took the time to record my first impressions of digging into it and I look for specific differences and comparisons to the old Google Merchant Center.

Video Transcript

Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk) (00:06):

All right. Hello and welcome to Merchant Center Mastery. We haven't done a video in a while. Lot's going on. Crazy stuff happening. I apologize. But also it is what it is. Sometimes you just have other things to do than record videos for your random YouTube page, site channel. You get the picture. Let's talk Merchant Center next. So, Google just recently announced this this past month at Google Marketing Live. For those of you in the space, we've been familiar with this for a while. It's kind of been rolling out here and there. So what I wanted to do was provide kind of a like diving into this and comparing it with the old merchant. I'm seeing it in with fresh eyes as you are, and just kind of walking through, trying to find some things.


They're gonna be in different places. I thought it actually might be interesting, you know, apologize if this gets a little longer, but this might be a good chance for you if you just take like a few minutes with me just to kind of walk through and think through as well. It might help you when you get access to just kind of know what's going on and know what's happening a little bit more. I'm gonna admit, like I've, I've, I've been in this briefly, but I haven't really spent a lot of time. So this is gonna be kind of a, a first impression sort of a video. You may think at certain times, Hey, Kirk's an idiot, cuz he can't find something. That's fair. It might be true. Okay. But we'll see what happens. I've had my, I've had my eyes on Merchant Center for years and years since it came out, so I'm pretty familiar with where things are.


So that might not be a good sign if, you know, I I'm not able to find something. But you know, might not be very intuitive, but we'll see what happens. And so let's, let's just kind of dig in together. So this is Merchant Center next. I also pulled up Merchant Center, just so you could kind of see the difference, the main differences being on these on, on the side here. The main menu nav system has definitely changed. So one of the things that I've noticed they've done is they've brought a number of, you know, what the settings would be and seem to make those a little bit more mainline into your main nav, which I, I think is a great idea cuz some of those were like important type things that were not just settings, right?


But let's just, let's just start here and maybe even just click around a little bit and see what's going on. This is our, obviously our main screen. It kind of gives you the information that you would most like to see. Kind of like the original merchant center. And then we have notifications here. I'm trying to think. Yeah, I was gonna say I don't, I don't remember those notifications as well, but yeah, I don't, that doesn't look very important. So <laugh>, you can, you can dig into that whether or not that'll be something that you eventually think will be important. Let's, let's move on to products. So now this is, I, so products, the old products, you had the diagnostics tab, which showed you then, you know, if there were certain levels, this is the old ui, certain, certain things, products, it was very visual, this is what's going on.


I kind of like that visual graph to be honest. And then you would see your all products where then everything lines up and you can see it all and then you could see your feeds and manage your feeds. Here. This is one of the main areas where merchant center next immediately changes very, very big, very big time, very bigly. And so we no longer have like the obvious feed section here. We go right to the all products and then the ability to change and edit things. So then, then it looks like this is your, what I guess kind of the diagnostics type tab was, I'm just gonna say right off the bat, very, very unhappy with this tab because like what I noted before, you know, having a visualized entity as well as the ability to, to navigate two, you know, certain items in that was, was actually pretty important.


So hopefully they add a little bit of a, a visualized aspect. Okay, there it is. There is a visualized aspect of course that required a click. Like why not just have that little graph like right here, right? I don't understand that one. Like literally, literally just have the little graph here or like just show immediately here's how many products need attention or are disapproved. I think that would be good. They do, interestingly enough, they pull from the settings member sales tax in the old UI used to be here in, in the yeah, like the, the main settings category here. Now it's within your products tab, which is a little bit interesting. It looks like the, the ability to, you know, edit all that stuff is is, you know, is right there. And then automatic improvements, I like how they pulled that in.


Basically anything having to do with pro products, they pull into the same UI and, and switch to this horizontal nav, which I'm, I'm all for. My, my probably biggest issue right now from what I can see right off the bat is just the need for more visualized I immediately immediate vi visualization of what products, of how many products need attention. Because in this, in this account we have just a few products, but you have an account with, you know, a hundred thousand products and that changes drastically in terms of of what you need to be able to make decisions on. So actually if Google, if you're listening like this diagnosis ability, like we utilize this all the time, is being able to see at a glimpse, this isn't a great one cuz we don't have a lot of violation of policies on this one cuz you know, we try to maintain it, we try to keep up with that.


But typically if there's a lot of 'em, we actually download that immediately to CSV and send that to a client. And it does look like you're able to do that here. I'm not sure. Okay, you can filter this, this is cool. You can filter for what needs attention, but do you see how like, I'm not even sure what needs attention is going on until I start clicking through these buttons. I I just think, yeah, I might be beating a dead horse here, but I just, I just really think that we need a better visually like this is what's wrong. That might be what this is. I'd be interested to see an account where there's like, cuz sometimes you can have 14 or 15 or 20 different needs. Attention is that, is that are just all of these gonna be, you know, labeled here.


So you're scrolling through a bunch of these big boxes if you have lots of attention needing things, I don't know it'll be interesting to see. And then, so all that to say you have, you have the all products then so one thing that I have not discovered yet, and I spent a little bit of time just noodling around in it the other day and I, and I could not find it. So some of you might know this better than I do, but as far as I know, I could not find a feed section. Now this one is the source is the API. So, so that might be it that this is connect, this is sync directly, this, this company is sync directly to Shopify. So that, that could be it, that it's just simply the API is, is connected through the API, but I have not found any way to manage the feed itself.


So, you know, if, if some of you know how to do that again, like am I an idiot? I don't think I'm an idiot, do I have stuff I can learn always, but like, I guess I would expect to be able to somehow find my way to the source content API feed. So like I have some questions. One would be like there are times where we've needed to replace the content API, especially if we're switching apps within Shopify app, within Shopify you know, so maybe that syncs directly, like if we, well like we utilize, we like utilizing Symprosis and Shopify quite a bit. So, you know, in the past there have been times where we may want to actually change that feed container. Not always, since it is API, you know, you can just, you can just utilize, you know, you can just switch the apps there.


So that should be okay. I would like to see, I've, I've not yet gotten access to a merchant center next where there is an actual feed file like sending a XML or a txt uploading one through ftp. I would be really curious to know what that looks like. I assume there's some way in order to manage that feed. I don't see it here and that could just be because of the, of the API. So there's, there's an interesting, so it looks like on this product, and then let, let me go through here just to show you the old UI as well, just so we can kind of see the difference. So definitely a lot more complex. You just definitely had a lot more information. You even had click information. Product details on this in Merc Center Next is way more streamlined and, and remember, so whenever someone like Google says the words like simplified or streamlined, so here's the deal, that's not always a good thing.


And, and it really bugs me when companies don't acknowledge that. So like, like, like to me, an entity should be as simplified or as streamlined as its complexity allows, right? So like there might be some aspects where, you know, someone might look at the inside like the engine compartment of a Tesla and say, wow, this is really complex when I get all the moving parts and I've figured it out, all the moving parts, like I really wish that this car was simplified. And there's kind of a level of like, well gosh, like what does simplified mean? Are you like removing parts of the engine in order to like, make it look more streamlined because those parts of the engine are kind of needed, right? So you can only simplify something to its like base level of necessary complexity, right? And, and my concern sometimes with UI simplifications is with something like this is like, are they actually removing things that we actually do utilize that like is needed for a complex product?


So I, I think there are just some aspects like that where as I dig into this, I'm just a, I'm a little nervous. So for instance, you know, one example would be I really do enjoy, I really do like scene like on this one you can see the click data over time. I like seeing that. I like seeing on that specific product. I know there are other ways to get that information. You could go and search for this item ID within Google Ads and find that click data and pull that graph as well. So like there, there are other ways, but to me some of it is like sometimes when you're making a decision immediately or you're, you're finding visibility on this specific product within this specific UI, having something like that is, is actually pretty helpful. It does look like we have those, the same, the individual product edits, which this, if, if you recognize it, this looks like heck of a lot like like the actual product edits within within the old merchant center, right?


So they, they've kind of, they probably were working on that and you know, transferred that over. Although it looks like some changes. I like the individual product edits, although you just have to be really careful with that because you can, you can start changing so many things that you don't remember what was changed. So let's see. Here is, so here, here's the main product page too, by the way. You can add products still <laugh>, I, this is like super per let's see, this is, this is super my own thing, but I really like that this is less of a call out button. Finally, this is always like, it took me a while. It used to be used to be I think a giant plus, right? Or something like that. But I actually like, oh, that's interesting. I think they even changed that recently.


But anyway I actually like that it's not quite the same call out because like a lot of people don't use that to add their products. So anyways, it looks like you have your basic status, that sort of thing. Price, I, I really like that they have the sale price and the price field actually right there rather than separate. I really like that. So you can see that I do really like I like the visibility. I, I like the visibility stuff here as well that it even like shows you what this product will look like. So I really like that. And then even the last update, I love that information. So I, I think there's some helpful and interesting information. You know, I'm not sure as we get into this, but to me Google would do a service to advertisers to give them as much possible information because we hear this, a lot of feedback from people from advertisers, which is like, we would like more information as to when I try different attributes, like what will that change in my, in my actual listing showing on Google in terms of actual visibility.


So, so I think that would be, that would be really awesome to in to, you know, to continually, intentionally do that. And then interestingly enough, so, so now like so products moved and then performance marketing growth. So marketing was things like your promotions performance was, you know, dashboard reports, that sort of thing. And we do still have performance there marketing and I'm not sure it could be on this specific account. I'm still learning this. Okay, here's, okay, so this specific account does not have promotions activated. So at some point they would, they would want to do that. And I, I assume that's gonna pop up under marketing just like the old way of doing things. So, so I think there's some you know, some interesting stuff there. And then it does look like, at least in this view I'm seeing that growth opportunities, price competitors, that's, that's all missing from here, which is really interesting to me. So I'm not sure if that's just what I'm looking at here. Although, oh interesting, okay, here's market demand. So that might be some of what we're seeing. That might be some of the growth. The growth period or the growth stuff here showing how you're relating to others. I'm not sure if I see a price competitiveness option.


Interesting. There might, and there might be ways as we get into this to figure that out, but it looks like that could be, could be different. Here is, here's that graph, but basically just giving you information that you can see. Let's go back to business info just to see what that looks like overall. It does look like I'm not seeing the option to include images anymore. So that's changed. And then here's where you add the countries, which is a little interesting cuz that countries used to be tied to the feed, if you remember. And here's, here's the old business information page where you had your website and then branding as well. So branding was you actually would upload a logo. I don't see that at all. I'm not sure if that'll change. It sounds like Merchant Center next is still being, still being worked on.


So some of this is, is interesting just to see like what is, what is different and like what is being worked on and what will actually like change, like what is actually gonna be taken away from us. But you obviously have the comparison Shopping services, the CSS as well over here. General account options was just a super generic language and time zone. So, and then you can manage your, your people and your access. So I mean that's, that's a quick look at Merchant Center next. So I'd, I'd love, you know, some helpful comments if you have them. Like if you've looked at more Merchant Center Next accounts than I have, you know, feel free to like give us some more information about what you're aware of. But this gives us at least a, a brief insight into like what is even going on in Merchant Center next.


Would love to get more insight into what happens with feeds when that occurs. And you know, there's quite a few things quite a few things that are different, but then some things that are same, some things I think are removed that aren't, aren't helpful. And then some things that I, I really like on the product page of showing us a little bit more insight into how that product will show up. So I think as long as Merchant Center Next, like kind of my little monologue there, I think as long as Merchant Center Next doesn't actually overly oversimplify something that is necessarily complex, I think if that's the case, you know, overall it looks like a fairly similar interface and, and you know, I don't, I don't think it'll be too interruptive as long as we still have access to be able to do what we would need to do.


Because without feeds option, there's no supplemental feeds and there's no feed rules. And that might be one of the biggest, one of the biggest concerns that I have initially is just like, if there's no supplemental feeds and feed rules, those are more bulk options, right? So you can go into your data and fix it. There are lots of reasons why that's not always a real easy possibility, especially since sometimes the dev team manages your data, your data source, your original feed source and like another, like an advertising team may manage the products and optimizations. And so that's a case where, you know, a lot of times in the past we've utilized supplemental feeds and feed rules. It's not a great option to go in and edit individual products either, frankly cuz like I said, okay, if you have 12, you know, 25 products, you can, you can adjust unique products. If you have 150,000 products, you've gotta use something bulk like supplemental feeds and feed rules and there's not that functionality right now in Merch Center next. So that would maybe be the number one ask that I would have is just some bulk way within GMC to be able to edit products moving forward. Otherwise, I guess we'll keep an eye on the product and see how it goes. Keep learning Merch Center and we'll hang out with the new UI, whatever happens.

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Kirk Williams
@PPCKirk - Owner & Chief Pondering Officer

Kirk is the owner of ZATO, his Paid Search & Social PPC micro-agency of experts, and has been working in Digital Marketing since 2009. His personal motto (perhaps unhealthily so), is "let's overthink this some more."  He even wrote a book recently on philosophical PPC musings that you can check out here: Ponderings of a PPC Professional.

He has been named one of the Top 25 Most Influential PPCers in the world by PPC Hero 6 years in a row (2016-2021), has written articles for many industry publications (including Shopify, Moz, PPC Hero, Search Engine Land, and Microsoft), and is a frequent guest on digital marketing podcasts and webinars.

Kirk currently resides in Billings, MT with his wife, six children, books, Trek Bikes, Taylor guitar, and little sleep.

Kirk is an avid "discusser of marketing things" on Twitter, as well as an avid conference speaker, having traveled around the world to talk about Paid Search (especially Shopping Ads).  Kirk has booked speaking engagements in London, Dublin, Sydney, Milan, NYC, Dallas, OKC, Milwaukee, and more and has been recognized through reviews as one of the Top 10 conference presentations on more than one occasion.

You can connect with Kirk on Twitter or Linkedin.

In 2023, Kirk had the privilege of speaking at the TEDx Billings on one of his many passions, Stop the Scale: Redefining Business Success.

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