Google today announced a major change by opening the Google Shopping platform to free advertising from retailers who agree (for free) to submit their enhanced product feed through the Google Merchant Center. This change will take effect in the U.S. in late April, and is expected to expand to other countries by the end of 2020. Here’s all you need to know about Google’s organic product listings, how it works, how to set it up, and how to integrate it into Google Shopping.
Experts at our SEA see this as a positive change for their customers and for all advertisers who have invested in creating and managing product flow. Although the size of this program is small, advertisers will be able to increase the effectiveness of their Google Shopping campaigns by completing paid ads with free ads.
What do organic product listings look like?
These new free ads will not be added to the search engine results page (at least for now). Instead, it will appear on the Shopping tab, which you can click on from the Google search results page.
The “Shopping” tab currently represents a much lower percentage of visits compared to the search engine results page. In fact, we estimate it to represent less than 5% of the current traffic for global clicks coming from Google Shopping. Google told us that merchants can expect a 3-5% increase in click volume in this new format. We expect more traffic to reach the “Shopping” tab now that Google has invested more in its platform by making the experience more enjoyable for users. Adding new merchants will also be a way to help small businesses offer their products during this difficult period. It will also expand the range of products offered by Google as part of the Google Shopping program.
Strategic product flow management
Although these new ads will be free, Google will offer more products to merchants who frequently provide clear, relevant, and up-to-date information consistent with many of Google’s good data practices. There are a lot of improvements that should be made in managing product flow that you may not even think of. It is not like SEO and Google will not only create these lists from the data it actually extracts from the Meta tags on your site.
Since there will be no way to bid for the additional traffic you will get from these free ads and there will be an influx of new merchants on Google Shopping, it will be important for you to have a strategic approach (and an experienced partner) on how Google sends your addresses, descriptions, product categories, and more. Since the auction is not a factor in posting these free ads, the main point to keep in mind now is the relevance of the data in your product flow regarding user requests. There is now no reason why a retailer may not submit a fully optimized feed to the Google Merchant Center, whether or not they invest in paid Google Shopping ads.
A change in the Google Shopping brand image
For years, Google has been trying to improve the viability of Google Shopping and increase traffic to the personalized page (https://shopping.google.com) or the Shopping tab. With this change in the image, they made a lot of improvements and it now looks like Amazon. There are different possible filters for price levels, manufacturers, brands, product categories, clothing sizes, etc. Over the past year, Google has taken steps to further improve it by adding a global shopping cart so customers can purchase, display, and purchase products from multiple sellers directly from Google, ” reaching each merchant’s site.
For Google to continue developing this Google Shopping program, it must represent more than 3 to 5% of all traffic. By adding these organic product listings, they should provide a better experience for consumers and potentially increase traffic over time. According to the different models envisaged, the new version of Google Shopping will include a light text indicating that the ad is a free or paid ad, but for most people, the ads (and therefore the paid ones) and the organic advertisers will be very similar.
We reach a point where Google offers its users to shop on Google Shopping in several ways. In fact, you can find:
A product from a paid ad that leads to your ecommerce site
A product presented as an organic ad that redirects to your ecommerce site A product that is offered as a free ad and purchased directly on Google, where you pay a commission for each sale
A local product takes you to a Google-hosted store page with product inventory
A local product takes you to a page on the merchant’s website with a group option in the store
With all these formats followed, developing Google Shopping will require more expertise to highlight your products and differentiate yourself from your competitors. It is important to have insight into both your product flow and your campaigns to ensure its success.
Reporting and Performance
From a reporting perspective, advertisers should be able to segment free and paid ads in their reports using the tools already available to them. Google Merchant Center will contain a report showing the number of paid clicks vs. the number of free clicks.
There is also a more advanced way to segment your traffic by updating the URLs in your product feed. You can add a dynamic URL parameter for Google ads visits. This dynamic setting only changes to a number when someone clicks on a paid ad. So you can get your organic traffic by filtering the paid traffic. This will be a great way to work around the issue for advertisers who rely on referral systems other than Google Analytics. Currently, there are three main forms for getting Google Shopping traffic (except for local ads, or local ads, which are mostly at the third point):
1.Organic product listings (no commission on Google)
2.Listings Shopping Actions to Model CPA (12-15% commission to Google only when making a sale)
3.CPC-style ads (pay-per-click but no sales commission)
We always believe that paid ads are most useful because you can increase investment in what works best and thus boost your sales more easily.
With paid ads, you’ll likely develop strategies that can be tested, modified, duplicated, and amplified. You can view prices and promotions. You can view specific products to search at the top of the tunnel. You can target specific audiences and demographics to differentiate from the competition. Even if there is no guarantee that you can get more traffic and sales thanks to these organic improvements, the Organic Product Lists program is still a great opportunity! All work to improve the product flow already used for paid ads will help you increase organic product listing sales.
Therefore, practical reports will be important to understand the effect of this program on your sales. Although we expect volume and impact to be low right now, there is a good chance that this lever will grow strongly if Google continues to invest in the visibility of this Google Shopping site. We hope Google introduces a Merchant Center reporting add-on to help us do that in the coming months! If you still have questions about Google Shopping campaigns, please feel free to refer to the Google Ads guide or contact us directly!