In the spring of 2020 Google announced that listings in shopping results would be free for US merchants, and in mid-October, Google is extending this offer to the rest of us too! Paid Google Shopping Ads will continue to be shown in ad slots for those retailers who wish to be more competitively visible.
What is Google Shopping?
Google shopping displays product listings that are relevant to the search query. Previously, only paid product ads were shown, but this announcement by Google opens Google Shopping to organic listings as well.
Google Shopping allows ecommerce businesses of all sizes a massive increase in exposure, making it easy for the consumer to compare and buy at a glance right within Google. Adding to the benefits, paid Google Shopping Ads have a high conversion rate, especially for relatively low-cost, high-competition industries such as clothing (2.70%) and health & beauty (2.78%) . The free organic shopping ad version is expected to garner a relatively high conversion rate as well. The Google Shopping format that displays all the relevant information about a product that a shopper needs, including an image, right there within Google is particularly efficient at driving conversions.
With the advent of the free organic shopping listings, you can now layer and refine your shopping advertising at no extra cost. For example, you could continue to pay for Shopping ads for your top products you really want to push, and use the organic listings for your lesser-known products to increase visibility.
Why Is Google Offering Free Shopping Listings Now?
Covid-19 has dramatically changed the way we shop. We shop more online and have our purchases delivered. Even if we are planning to actually go to a brick and mortar store, we often do our research online, or we opt for curb-side pick-up. To meet the changing demands, many stores are moving online or expanding their online presence. According to Bill Ready, Google’s president of commerce, ““[Google] wanted to make sure that as consumers make a dramatic shift to e-commerce that we’re doing everything we can to make it easy for consumers to find all the best products from all the best sellers.” Of course, it is also good for Google’s bottom line.
Google is undergoing stiff competition from Amazon. Amazon commands a large proportion of product search and advertising on the web. In 2019 half of all online shoppers started their product research on Amazon, while 22% started with Google .
By opening up Google shopping to organic listings, Google will be able to show more products in response to search queries, and potentially put a damper on Amazon’s advantage and divert some of Amazon’s presence to Google.
How do I Participate in the Free Google Shopping Listings?
To participate, upload your product feed to the Google Merchant Center, and opt into Surfaces on Google. Your listings will show up on the Google Shopping tab and in the Google Shopping app. The carousels in search results will continue to show only paid ads.
Optimize your listings to make sure your ads perform well for you. Apart from the title, which must be accurate and use a keyword near the beginning, providing a high-quality image is the most important element. This is the first thing a shopper sees, and has a large influence on if they click or not.
Product categories and types don’t show in the ads, but help Google display your ads to the appropriate search query. The product description should include all the relevant, accurate information a shopper needs in their decision to check out your product. Optimize descriptions with keywords to increase their chances of being displayed appropriately to search queries.
Results can be measured in the performance report for Surfaces Across Google in the Merchant Center. It shows the number of clicks, giving you some sense of how to tweak and refine your free listings. If they aren’t performing as well as you’d like, first try changing the title or using a different image to make your ad stand out from the rest.
Take Advantage of Free Google Shopping Ads
Whether you are already using Google Shoppings Ads or not, opening up the free organic Google Shopping Listings across the world, is an important opportunity to expand your ecommerce marketing and take advantage of the high conversion rates that Shopping Ads have to offer.
If you need any help with setting up your accounts, your product feed, your listings, or managing your campaigns, request your free PPC audit today.