Q.: I hear that Google Merchant will no longer provide free, “organic” clicks for my product datafeed. How can I recover this loss in traffic to my site?
A. Yes, Google will gradually transition their Merchant Center program to a commercial platform for shopping starting at the end of June and will complete the transition by the Fall. In the new model, merchants will bid on product listings similar to how advertisers bid on keywords in order for their ad to be shown on the search engine results page (SERP).
In an effort to recoup for the loss in traffic, ecommerce sites should set up Product Listing Ad (PLA) campaigns within their AdWords accounts. In order to do so, AdWords advertisers must sync their Merchant Center account with AdWords in order for the PLA campaigns to pull the product information from the Datafeed file. Merchants can choose to bid on product listings on a cost-per-click (CPC) or a cost-per-acquisition (CPA) basis. The CPC model is comparable to how AdWords advertisers bid on keywords within the Google auction, whereas the CPA model lets merchants focus on conversions by setting a cap as to how much the merchant is willing to pay per conversion.