What you need to know about Google's free Shopping listings

David McAndrew,

Ecommerce is becoming more important than ever now that non-essential stores are closed here in the UK and around the world. Google have been looking into options to support online businesses during this difficult time.

This week Google have released a statement announcing that they are introducing free listings (organic) into the Shopping results. This change will firstly impact the US market next week (27th April) and other markets (including UK) are expected to follow towards the end of 2020.

At the time of writing, this change will affect two areas of Google Shopping:

  1. This will impact the shopping tab only (not the search engine results page) – it is an unknown % of users who use this tab vs the traditional search results page, but it is expected to be relatively small
  2. Paid ads will still be at the top and bottom of the page (and therefore visible to generate the majority of clicks)

The current SERP where Shopping listings are featured will still remain exclusive to paid listings.

Previously Google Shopping was a pure paid-for advertising space known as Froogle, where all product listings where driven from organic results. In 2012 this shifted to a pay-per-click model, whereby those who were successfully running paid search for ecommerce advertisers were able to take advantage of much richer listings where you could show images and prices before incurring the cost of a click.

Now, Google is looking to increase the number of merchants using their shopping service and removing the barrier of paid-for listings is the first step. More merchants will lead to more consumers using the service, which will in turn further intensify Google’s battle with Amazon for ecommerce revenue. 

In order for merchants to take full advantage of these free listings, shopping feed management will be critical from both a paid and organic perspective. Having a keyword-rich product feed will allow for increased visibility and therefore access to more consumers who are looking for your products. Whilst the Shopping tab will still display paid-for listings, we anticipate the competition for these will increase CPCs so advertisers will need to be nimble in their bidding strategies and feed optimisation.

This is really a great opportunity for advertisers who are already proficient in there shopping campaign management to further integrate their strategy across paid and organic to ultimately increase sales and reinvest budget into paid ads.

The full statement from Google can be seen here.


The Author

David McAndrew, Head of Display & PPC

With over 15 years' experience agency and client-side, PPC & Display Director, David McAndrew, leads the paid media teams at twentysix. During his 10 years in the agency, he's managed high-performing campaigns across a number of verticals including fashion, travel and healthcare.

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