Google has changed their shopping channel from a free version, to a commercial “pay to play” model. This has caused some questions and confusion.
Google’s original model allowed a business to upload their existing product feed from their website, to be able to rank their products directly within search results. There were a few flaws with their model being free. Many “businesses” did not actually sell the products they represented. Sometimes products were not sold at all or prices were so unrealistic that credible businesses could not compete.
With the new commercial model, Google will not only turn this into a revenue generator for them, but it will allow businesses to compete more naturally. This will not fix the issue over night, as there are still some flaws, but it will deter businesses who do not sell the product they claim to represent.
Search for “Ipad Mini” within Google Shopping and here is what came back as part of the search results:
About half way down the results, you see these two products. While the top result is the Ipad, the second one is not. Because this store has used certain specifications within their product feed, Google is not able to recognize that this is not the same product within the results. However, in the new commercial model in Google Shopping, this business now has to pay to have this product listed here and therefore makes it more difficult to promote other products. This advertiser is more likely trying to show that you can get a similar product to the Ipad Mini for a cheaper price. It should also be noted, that this is the only result that shows up that is not the Ipad Mini and has no branding or images that would reflect an Apple product.
The holidays are quickly approaching and you may be strategizing on new tactics to increase sales before the year ends. Below are several strategies for Google AdWords that don’t require too much heavy lifting so, that you can implement before the online shopping season ends.
In mid-October, Google transitioned its free, organic links of Google Merchant to a paid model called Google Shopping via Product Listing Ads. Google has just announced that it plans to release the same commercial model internationally to the following countries: the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Brazil, Australia and Switzerland.
The search engine says that it will be a gradual transition in order for merchants to optimize their campaigns and the first major change will be on February 3, 2013. At this time, Google will release cleaner results for shopping queries in addition to some of the new commercial formats on Google.com that appear like square units. These new results will replace current search results and will be labeled as “Sponsored” and appear in the space that is currently paid search ads. Google expects the international transition to be complete by the end of the second quarter in 2013.
Google’s ultimate goal for the Shopping transition is to create a better shopping experience so that users will find products in one place and are able to compare features and pricing and read merchant reviews easily. Google believes that a paid model for merchants allows better, more relevant product data which will lead to a better experience for shoppers.