Free Google Shopping Ads
In a big news from Google, Google is opening up it’s shopping platform to serve free shopping listings. This is major news, as it can be a new traffic and revenue source for ecommerce shops worldwide to get more traffic (for free!).
What are Google Shopping Ads
Shopping ads are feed based ads that appear on Google.com and within shopping.google.com for relevant product queries. For retailers these ads perform very well as advertisers only pay per click and before the click event happens, users can see an image of the product, pricing, product information and retailer. This way if users aren’t interested, they won’t click and the advertisers won’t get charged. Additionally, if they do click, it’s a strong lead and the user has a decent shot to potentially transact.
Sample Shopping Ads
Historically (until April 2020), shopping ads were a paid only play. In order to run shopping ads, advertisers had to pay per listing.
The Pivot to Free Shopping Ads
Effective late April, 2020, Google is changing its strategy and allowing ecommerce shops to display their products free, in addition to paid listings. The paid listings will remain as the prominent ad, but this opens up a whole new playing field for ecommerce traffic. Any ecommerce shop that has a merchant center setup can update their settings to take advantage of this. All they need to do is make sure that the products are eligible to show on “surfaces across google”
The below is directly from the Google Ads support article.
If you’re an existing user of Merchant Center and Shopping ads and you’ve already opted into the surfaces across Google program, you might already be eligible to show your products in these unpaid experiences, and no further steps are necessary to participate.
To opt in, select “Growth” and then “Manage programs” in the left navigation menu and select the “surfaces across Google” program card. You can also add products to your product feed, to make even more products discoverable in these free listings.
I believe Google is rolling out this change to better compete with Amazon. Amazon is the current king of retail ecommerce and Google is looking to make a larger play for retail. By allowing more ecommerce shops to show their products (for free), this creates a significantly better user experience by offering a larger selection. With a better user experience (which has always been Google’s play), they’re banking that Google will be a larger consideration for shoppers. Potentially a destination to compete against Amazon.
- Any and all ecommerce shops should create a Google Merchant Center account as soon as possible (if they haven’t done so already). Google Merchant Center is the platform that houses product information (and feeds) from ecommerce retailers.
- For anyone on the Shopify platform, there is a helpful “Google Shopping” app, you can download which will automatically create a product feed which will sync to Google Merchant Center.
- As mentioned above, within Google Merchant Center, make sure you have your products eligible to show on “surfaces across Google”.
- Make sure that your product feed is up to spec, check for disapproved products that need to be addressed. If they’re disapproved, they won’t show on Google Shopping.