Google Shopping Has Changed; What This Means For You
Google Shopping used to be a utopia for merchants online – where the benevolent “do no evil.” Google would list your products, free of charge, driving paying customers to your site to buy your stuff. All you had to do was upload a product feed to Google Merchant Center and keep it fresh. Life was good… too good. So what’s our new reality and what does it mean for your business?
The reality is that Google has been weaning brands off “free” or organic listings on Google Shopping for some time now. When I say “recent changes,” I mean the transition to a paid-inclusion-only form of Google Shopping results is now complete. The free ride has ended and it’s time to get serious about your new Google Shopping Campaigns.
With all the iterations of Google Shopping (remember Froogle?) and the paid parallels in AdWords (Product Listing Ads and now Google Shopping Campaigns), it may be helpful to clearly define what is going on now: Google Shopping is the Comparison Shopping Engine made by Google. To be listed, you must pay by running Google Shopping Campaigns in AdWords.
Google Shopping Campaigns within AdWords now allow advertisers (a plus) to effectively bid at the product level through custom labels (previously only bidding on high-level groupings was possible). This change allows advertisers to build out more profitable, smarter, data-rich campaigns.
Google Shopping Campaigns in AdWords will also allow you to run sponsored ads in the listings of Web Search Results on Google.com.
Google Shopping, as a paid platform, also opens up more ad inventory for advertisers and, in a very real sense, levels the playing field for smaller advertisers who no longer have to compete in an environment where SEO signals strongly influenced results. And with more inventory, advertisers can more easily run tests to gain insight and optimize their campaigns.
Have questions about Google Shopping or other Comparison Shopping Engines? Post them in the comments below or give us a call. Now get out there and be competitive!