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Google Rolls Out Free Listings In The Shopping Tab

October 6, 2020

Ali Soudi - Head of Digital Marketing

Ali Soudi

Head of Digital Marketing
Search Engine Optimization

Article Overview

10min read

Following the rollout of free shopping ads in the United States earlier this year, Google recently announced that they will make shopping ads free in more countries. This change will take effect by mid-October 2020 and retailers will soon be able to run free listings in the Shopping tab across Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

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If a retailer can afford to pay for Google Shopping listings, they still have the option to do so. That is, along with free listings, Google will still show paid listings, which will continue to appear in ad slots and will operate in the same way as Shopping ads do today. At the end of the day, there are still benefits in paying for shopping listings.

Google’s Free Listings Benefits Retailers and Shoppers

Google’s decision to introduce free listings came about as a result of the financial crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has hit the retail industry very hard and as consumers are increasingly shopping online; many sellers have placed more focus on e-commerce today. Google notes that consumers these days are not just searching and shopping for essentials but also for commodities like toys, apparel, and home goods. Thus, Google made plans to make the listing feature free for merchants to sell on Google as this presents a golden opportunity for struggling businesses to reconnect with their audience. For retailers, this new change means they get exposure to millions of people who come to Google every day for their shopping needs at no cost. It is also a boost to retailers paid campaigns

However, free listings not only benefit retailers but also shoppers as it allows Google to get more products in front of people who need them.

As the number of consumers searching and shopping online has drastically increased during this pandemic, millions of shopping searches are surfacing on Google each day. Even though we might know that many retailers have the items people need in stock and ready to ship, they might be less discoverable online. With free listings, shoppers discover more products from more stores through the Google Shopping tab. 

How to Participate in Free Google Shopping Ads?

Retailers who want their products in the free product listing on Google’s Shopping tab would require an account on Google Merchant Center. They also have to look-up on these things:

1. If a retailer is already using Google Merchant Center and paid shopping ads, they don’t need to do anything extra to set up free listings, as it will be placed by pulling information from their product feed on the Merchant Center. They just have to ensure that their merchant center is up-to-date.

2. If a retailer has a Merchant Center account but hasn’t set up a product feed, then they have to first set it up. Check out these steps on how to do so:

  • Sign in to Merchant Center
  • Click Growth in the left navigation menu
  • Click Manage programs
  • Select Surface across Google
  • Add your products using a product feed
  • Verify your website
  • Confirm your website belongs to you
  • Click Activate to complete setup

Once you have uploaded your product feeds to Google merchant center, it will allow your products to show in relevant search results across Google’s Search, Shopping tab, and Images.

3. However, if a retailer does not have a Merchant Center account, then they need to create an account first. Once created, they simply have to opt-in to “surfaces across Google” during the sign-up process and continue the above-said process.

In the United States, Google has successfully helped out retailers by allowing them to list their products on the Shopping tab for free since April this year. The rollout of these free listings in the US significantly increases engagement between customers and retailers. Matt Brittin, President for Google in Europe, Middle East & Africa notes that since the free listings launched in the US, small and medium-sized businesses saw the biggest increases. That is, retailers running free listings and ads on the Google Shopping tab got an average of twice as many views and 50% more visits.

Along with launching worldwide free listings in shopping ads, Google also announces the launch of Local Services Ads in 10 European countries: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK. It helps people discover and connect with trustworthy local businesses and professionals – such as plumbers, house cleaners, and electricians – who are backed by the Google Guarantee badge.

Digital Marketing

For e-commerce retailers and SEOs, these new changes launched by Google would add a new layer to organic product search optimization efforts.

Ali Soudi

Ali Soudi

Head of Digital Marketing

Ali Soudi is a Google Certified Digital Marketer with 10+ years of industry experience. He is a prolific writer on business-related topics, regularly contributing articles to leading digital marketing and business websites.

Ali Soudi

Ali Soudi

Head of Digital Marketing
Search Engine Optimization
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