01/06/20 // Written by AmbaWilkes

Google Shopping Free Listings: What Do You Need to Know?

eCommerce has become a lifeline for consumers and businesses alike. In a bid to help merchants during this challenging time, Google recently announced the introduction of free listings into the Shopping results.  

The impacts have already been seen across the US with further markets, including the UK, rolling out towards the end of 2020. As an eCommerce business, you may be wondering how your Google Shopping feed will be affected by this update and what changes you need to make.

Who will the Google Shopping update benefit?

If you sell online, this Google Shopping update is likely to affect you in some way. You will benefit from further visibility, gaining free exposure to the millions of people who search on Google every day and free traffic. For advertisers, you have the chance to display all your products through Google Shopping, whether that’s with paid ads or through the free shopping listings. And for shoppers, this update will allow them to discover more products from more brands that they may have not been aware of.

Making free listings available is Google’s first step to increasing the number of merchants using their Shopping service. More merchants will lead to more consumers using the service, which will further intensify Google’s ongoing competition with Amazon. As Google aims to attract even more consumers, those advertisers who are already proficient in Shopping campaign management will already be well-positioned to benefit from the opportunity this presents.

Is there still value in paying for Google Shopping Ads?

In short, yes. Google’s new update will impact the shopping tab only, not the search engine results page. Paid Google Shopping ads will remain at the top of the SERP, exclusive to paid listings, meaning they will still be the most visible results for consumers and generate the majority of clicks. Our Shopping expert, Matt Patterson, shared his thoughts on the update:

“The update will not have any impact on how we work with Google Shopping. The premium SERP spots will remain a paid service so nothing will change from that point of view. There will simply be more control over visibility in the premium paid spots, but this will always be the preferred option.

The percentage of people who click through to the Shopping tab is significantly lower, therefore it will be challenging to gain the same level of visibility compared to the premium spots. However, we are likely to see smaller retailers who were not previously advertising begin to take up space within the Shopping tab.”

While the Shopping tab will still display paid ads, it is likely the competition for these will increase, meaning an inflation in CPCs too. Advertisers will need to become even more prudent with their bidding strategies and feed optimisation.

How can you take advantage of Google’s Shopping update?

If you are already using Google Shopping, there are minimal changes that need to be made to benefit from the update, just some simple amends in Google Merchant Centre (GMC). For businesses who are yet to use Google Shopping, getting set up with GMC and Google Ads will need to be completed.

But, to really take advantage of these free listings, shopping feed management is even more crucial from both a paid and organic perspective. Effective feed management maximises your Shopping success. Your product feed is how you communicate your inventory to Google Shopping so it can link your feed data to relevant search queries. The better optimised your data feed, the more likely the correct products will be shown to relevant people. In order to do this, you should:

  • Organise your product feed content in line with Google’s guidelines
  • Promote positive reviews
  • Keyword optimise your product titles and descriptions
  • Use high quality photos

The update provides a chance for merchants to integrate their paid and organic eCommerce strategy to help increase brand awareness and conversions. If you want to talk more about what Google Shopping could do for your business, get in touch with our team.