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Google Shopping Game Changer For Businesses

Google Makes Listing Products On Google Shopping Free

In a major boost for organisations struggling with COVID-19, Google has announced from next week that it will begin opening its Shopping search results to unpaid, organic listings.

The Google Shopping tab results "will consist primarily of free product listings" starting next week, helping merchants better connect with consumers, regardless of whether they advertise on Google.

Just as Google doesn't charge sites to be part of the Google Search index, listings for participating retailers are eligible to appear in these results at no cost to them. Paid listings will continue to appear in ad slots and will operate in the same way as Shopping Ads do today.

Google's latest move opens significant opportunity for businesses and retailers large and small, offering a substantial boost in free search exposure.

Before this latest announcement, Google Shopping was only available as a paid solution to advertisers and is widely regarded as the gold standard of search.

Google Opens The Traffic Floodgates

Google Shopping has been revamped and rebranded several times over the past te years or so, but did actually begin life as a free service, known as Froogle back in the early 2000s.

Before becoming exclusively, a pay-to-play ad offering in 2012.

Bill Ready, Google President, Commerce

"With hundreds of millions of shopping searches on Google each day, we know that many retailers have the items people need in stock and ready to ship but are less discoverable online.

For retailers, this change means free exposure to millions of people who come to Google every day for their shopping needs. For shoppers, it means more products from more stores, discoverable through the Google Shopping tab."

For existing Google Shopping advertisers, this means paid campaigns can now be augmented with free listings.

By opening Shopping listings more broadly, to incorporate organic content, one would also expect that paid Shopping campaign performance should improve.

Shopping ads, which are already quite native in design, will most likely look VERY similar to unpaid content, with Google further blurring the boundaries between sponsored and organic content.

Probably confusing shoppers but boosting conversion rates for advertisers.

Setting Up Free & Paid Shopping Listings

The new free Shopping listings go live in the US next week, with a global roll-out following on.

As with Google Shopping ads, the free listings will be powered by product data feeds uploaded to Google Merchant Centre, as noted by the new help article:

"For new users of Merchant Centre who are interested in joining this program, it's open to you today and does not require Google Ads, but we're working to significantly streamline the onboarding process over the coming months. You can opt into surfaces across Google during the Merchant Centre sign up process and start creating your product feed."

If you're an existing user of Merchant Centre 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.

For organisations across every industry vertical in 2020, organic marketing opportunities will be worth their weight in gold through the remainder of the year.

For those in the retail sector, Google's latest update is a biggee.

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