Major Announcement: Free Product Listings on Google Shopping
This week, Google made the major announcement that it was opening up its Shopping tab to free listings.
Bill Ready, President of Commerce, announced on the Google blog:
“…we’re advancing our plans to make it free for merchants to sell on Google. Beginning next week, search results on the Google Shopping tab will consist primarily of free listings, helping merchants better connect with consumers, regardless of whether they advertise on Google. With hundreds of millions of shopping searches on Google each day, we know that many retailers have the items people need in stock and ready to ship, but are less discoverable online.
For retailers, this change means free exposure to millions of people who come to Google every day for their shopping needs. For shoppers, it means more products from more stores, discoverable through the Google Shopping tab. For advertisers, this means paid campaigns can now be augmented with free listings.”
What This Means For Businesses
With many businesses feeling the pinch during these economic times, it’s never been more important to have an online presence.
Previously, Google Shopping was open to paid ads only, which made it hard for smaller stores and businesses with sizable product listings to compete for visibility.
With this change, more businesses will be able to list their products online, increase exposure, and find new customers for free.
The top and bottom spots on Google Shopping results page will still consist of paid ads.
The main Search Engine Results Page is not changing. This means that the top row of shopping results will still consist of sponsored ads.
But the bulk of results on the Shopping page will be organic results, much like how the Search Engine Results Page of Google works currently.
Why Would Google Make This Change?
Well, there’s a number of reasons.
Firstly, many businesses are suffering with the economic downturn amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Retail stores were already facing challenges with the increase of online shopping. But now, with lockdowns across the country, many retailers have simply not been able to survive.
Google wants to make it easier for more stores to get traffic, and in turn, allow consumers to see a bigger selection of available products from the comfort of their home or phone.
By opening up Google Shopping to free ads, more stores will be able to utilise the platform and gain exposure for the products online where they may not have before.
This benefits businesses of course, but it also benefits Google’s users by opening up a wider range of products for them to choose from.
Secondly, Google wants to fend off online competitors like Amazon, who’s been slowly chipping away at their organic search results for years.
As Search Engine Land reports “The growing propensity for users to start their product searches on Amazon is one part of what is igniting its search growth.”
Google is still the biggest player out there in the search space, hands down.
But slowly, other companies have been increasing their share of search results:
With the huge amount of products available on Amazon, it’s easy for users to shop and compare products directly on the platform.
In order to effectively compete with behemoths like this, it only makes sense for Google to let more stores list their products online organically in order to increase search results and ultimately their users experience.
It’s our guess too, that Google is hoping that the more people use their free shopping ads, the more people may try running paid shopping ads on their platform.
It’s a smart way for them to entice stores who may have been selling only on Amazon to check out another platform essentially for free.
Bill Ready mentioned in the official blog post that these changes were coming into effect in the US by the end of the month, and would be rolling out globally by the end of the year.
That means even if you’ve never considered Google Shopping ads until now, there’s still time to get set up and take advantage of free listings when they hit Australia.
In our opinion, if you’re an online or retail store in this economic environment, then you should absolutely take advantage of this new opportunity.
So, want to know how to get set up?
How To Take Advantage Of Google Shopping
To start marketing on Google Shopping, the first thing you’ll want to do is open a Google Merchant Center account. You can do that here. This platform will be needed to serve both paid and free shopping listings.
The next most important step is to create something called a product data feed.
We recently published a guide to setting up your first data feed and Google Shopping ads campaign, which you can read below:
On that blog you’ll learn:
- How to create product data feeds
- How to optimise your images
- How to link your Google Merchant account with your Google ads account
- How to set up your first campaign
- and much more…
Follow that post and you’ll have your first Google Shopping ads set up in no time.
Still have questions about Google Shopping?
Speak With A Google Ads Expert At Yes Digital Today!
Here at Yes Digital, we help create and optimise Google Shopping campaigns for our clients. If you want to see how you can get first-mover advantage on free Google Shopping listings or how paid Google Shopping ads can help you grow your store, book a complimentary strategy session today.