Google Makes Shopping Ads Free Worldwide
On September 30, 2020, it was announced that Google Shopping ADS will become free for users around the world. Entrepreneurs from Europe, Asia, and Latin America will be able to host their products without paying. In mid-April, this option was available only for US residents. The decision came about to support advertisers in the crisis over the coronavirus pandemic.
This is a great marketing ploy for Google that will attract advertisers, increasing the reputation of the search engine. The officials announced that the Ad Toolbox is also supported.
Paid ads will appear in the Shopping tab at the top and bottom of the page, while free ads will take up the rest of the space. As before, sellers who paid for the placement will have a better chance of attracting a buyer. And on the Google Display Network, Gmail, YouTube, and affiliate networks, there will be exclusively paid shopping ads. Here’s an official Google letter to advertisers who didn’t have this option earlier.
Most users from the UK took the news positively. Judging by the activity on Twitter, this audience was the first to receive a notification from the search engine:
The changes took effect from mid-October. Shopping worldwide with the help of free classified ads are available to all users.
This is not the first time a shopping search engine has offered free services to advertisers. In 2012, Google made Shopping ads free for the first time. Thousands of retailers were able to support and develop their business, Over time, they had to pay for the placement. Such actions increased audience loyalty. Entrepreneurs began to place their products willingly on the network.
What will Google Free Shopping Ads Look Like?
Free ads are displayed in the main search results and are divided by product category. This is how it looks in practice:
Lists of ads are located under the “Stores” section. This is convenient for users. They can scroll to see the available options. sellers increase the chances that their products are seen.
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Since April, free classified ads for US users have only been available on mobile devices. From the middle of summer, they could be viewed on computers. The types of Google shopping browsing algorithm that will be available for other countries is still unknown.
How Do I Run Google Free Shopping Ads?
If you are already using Paid Shopping Ads, you don’t need to take additional steps for the free version. Don’t fund your account. You must first register with the Google Merchant Center. Expect moderation, which usually takes 24 to 72 hours depending on the workload of the service. The system will automatically pull information about products from the product feed.
A feed is a spreadsheet where all product data is entered. The search engine uses keywords from the list to generate relevant search results for users’ requests. If you have in-house developers, you can create an XML file with product attributes and descriptions and upload it directly to the Google Merchant Center.
For each product, you need to register the following attributes:
- A unique identifier that consists of letters and numbers
- Product Name
- Description of characteristics (up to 5 thousand characters)
- Landing page URL
- URL to the product image
You can also create ads with an extended description. These include characteristics such as the brand of the product and the GTIN. If you do not know its meaning, the search engine will help you find it. You can read more details here. The system recommends that advertisers indicate shipping costs if using extended feature lists. This can be done directly in the feed, or you can make changes in the ad account settings.
The system will then ask you to confirm the site and its ownership. Click the “Activate” button to complete the configuration.
How Do I optimize My Google Shopping Ads?
Optimizing your Google shop ads correctly will help increase conversions. Don’t forget that free advertising has fewer benefits than paid services. If your niche is highly competitive, you will most likely have to test variations in product descriptions and titles. This will help you understand what attracts your target audience. Previously, it is worthwhile to monitor your competitors, including what key phrases they use in headlines and extended product descriptions.
Let’s look at the main points that you should pay attention to when optimizing:
1. Product name. Title – the largest text displayed next to the product. The rating of the product in Google search results depends on it. It must be relevant to the user’s search queries. Before writing the title, you need to analyze user requests and their popularity. This can be done using the Keyword Planner tool. If your campaign results in low traffic, you can experiment with keywords. Read the related article – How to Do Keyword Research.
2. Experiment with product images. High-quality and successful photos can distinguish your products from the crowd. Therefore, it is advisable to use exclusively unique, not stock images. You can see what photos competitors are using. The background of the photos should be white, it is desirable to show the product from different angles so that the buyer can understand how it looks live. The use of different images allows you to overcome the main buying barrier – the fear of buying something that cannot be seen live.
3. Make the description as detailed as possible. Despite the fact that the system does not require the mandatory filing of all attributes, we still recommend using them. This gives you a better chance of showing your ad in search results when the user applies filters. People often note the following values: color, condition, size, gender.
Cost plays an important role. You cannot influence the pricing of products, but you can attract buyers if you monitor the average cost for a certain category of goods. For the convenience of users, Google has added a special option, benchmark, and average price indicators for different product groups. You can view the information in the “Shopping” section. This will give an idea of how attractive your offer seems in terms of its value. Note that the data is available exclusively in the “Product groups” or “Products” tabs.
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The table “Benchmark product price difference” will show the average cost per click. This is useful data to develop a strategy for promoting free ads and increasing conversions.
To help you manage your bids, it’s a good idea to segment your products by value or by leading brands. This will help you control keywords in your ads. You can also segment product groups by device type. A preliminary analysis of products is most often searched by users using a smartphone. Since free ads were initially tested specifically for mobile users, this segmentation remains a priority to drive sales for many US advertisers.
How to Evaluate the Effectiveness of an Advertising Campaign?
The developers have assured that advertisers will be able to measure the effectiveness of an advertising campaign using the updated section in the Merchant Center. Select the “Performance” function located on the left side and then go to the “Dashboard”.
It is recommended to evaluate the data on a weekly basis. This will allow you to always receive up-to-date information about which searches have the most clicks and impressions and which group needs to be refined. You will also find out which products are less popular and need additional optimization. Since Shopping Ads are free, it is possible to test different tactics without significant financial costs.
Let’s summarize the preliminary results of the innovations from Google. Following the launch of the free trade ads option for US users, search engine management noted a positive trend. Google news feed mentioned that this has significantly helped increase the popularity of the service and generate more purchases. The number of clicks and ad impressions increased.
According to officials, Google Shopping is capable of generating billions of dollars in annual sales. It helps advertisers get through the crisis. Due to the fact that paid ads are still a priority, the increasing budget for the promotion will continue. It is only a matter of time before Google will recover lost money after the introduction of free ads.