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Say Goodbye to Free Product Listings on Google

Ellie Gunville
by Ellie Gunville on Jul 18, 2012 9:27:00 AM

Google recently announced major changes that will affect how businesses market their products on the search engine and how customers find, research and purchase products. Starting in early October 2012, Google Product Search, currently free for all merchants, will transition to Google Shopping, a completely commercial model that will include only paid listings.

As seen in the image below, Google's current Search Engine Results Pages can contain both Product Listing Ads and Google Product Search listings.

  • Product Listing Ads are paid ads that include additional information about specific products, including product name, price, and brand. These ads are located on either the top or right-hand side of the results page.
  • Google Product Search listings are free listings that display products to shoppers based on a combination of Google's algorithms and product information from Google Merchant Center. Product Search results are mixed in with other non-paid results, typically near the top or center of the page.

The new Google Shopping will combine Product Listing Ads with Google Product Search results, displaying only one set of product results for a search. Dynamically generated ads will make up the Google Shopping results, based on information found in the Google Merchant Center. The listings will include an image, price, product name, brand name, and occasionally additional product information. A combination of bid price and relevance will determine rankings for Google Shopping results, much like Product Listing Ads are currently ranked. Relevance is determined based on product attributes named in the Google Merchant Center feed. Product Listing Ads that appear on Google Shopping are charged on either a cost-per-click or cost-per-acquisition basis.

To create Product Listing Ads and get started on Google Shopping, advertisers must have an AdWords account as well as a Merchant Center account. Businesses who currently utilize Google Product Search will continue to have some visibility on Google Shopping for the next few months, but are encouraged to set up Product Listing Ads to ensure continued visibility once Google Shopping is in full effect.

Google has also added an option for businesses to participate in Google Trusted Stores. This new, free program is available to e-commerce sites that meet specific shipping and customer service requirements. Businesses participating in Google Trusted Stores will receive a badge to place on their Website. The badge provides customers with an added boost of confidence in their purchase decisions. As a part of the program, Google also offers free purchase protection to all customers placing orders from the Google Trusted Stores

To help businesses during this transition to Google Shopping, Google is offering a few incentives for those who jump on board early, including:

  • An automatic 10% monthly credit for Product Listing Ad spend through 2012 on all on listings created by August 15, 2012.
  • A $100 AdWords credit to put toward Product Listing Ads for all current Product Search merchants.

Learn more about the Google Shopping experience and incentives here.

Google's changes made to shopping results are designed to keep product information current and accurate, creating a better experience for the online shopper. Because Google Shopping is based on an entirely commercial model, Google is expecting businesses to put more emphasis on keeping their product information fresh in order to attract quality traffic.

Google Shopping will begin with a soft launch this summer, with full integration beginning this fall. Google Product Search will slowly begin to phase out and be completely discontinued when Google Shopping is in full launch.

What are your thoughts on the new Google Shopping? Will you use Product Listing Ads to attract customers to your Website? Contact E-Power Marketing for more information on these changes and for help making the transition for your brand

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Ellie Gunville
Written by Ellie Gunville
As the Manager of Online Advertising at E-Power Marketing, Ellie focuses on developing targeted advertising campaigns to boost sales, increase trade show and event registrations drive leads and strengthen brand recognition. She has become an expert in all things online advertising, and expanded her focus to also include Google Analytics and conversion optimization.

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