Call it progress or for those cynics among you, it’s just another way of Google getting more ad spend out of you. It’s common knowledge that Google needs to up it’s profits from paid advertising and they are always looking at more ways of monetizing their search engine environment.
So what’s happening?
Google product search listings which are currently free through the Google merchant centre have been a great way for the smaller ecommerce businesses to get their products on Google ‘s first page, but the free ride will soon be over. Starting in October 2012, Google will be removing this service and asking you to sign up to Product Listing Ads. They are a nice alternative to text ads and are beneficial for ecommerce sites wanting to highlight their products in rich graphic format.
For example, an online artbroker is an ideal client to leverage this new feature. Paintings and art work are of course visual and some paintings/portraits are instantly familiar, therefore resulting in better click through rates.
Where do Product Listing Ads appear in Google?
Your Product Listing Adverts will show on both Google Search as well as maintaining your listings in Google Shopping. Whenever a potential customer enters a search query relevant to an item you sell that is listed in your merchant centre, Google will automatically show the most relevant Products.
How much do Product Listing Ads cost?
Clicks are on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis. You’ll use attributes in your Merchant Center product feed to define product targets.
So in a nut shell, if you want to keep your items in google shopping, you’ll need to pay for it NOW!
What to Do to Enable Google Product Listings?
First you need a merchant account and Id. If you’ve been utilising the free google product search, you will already have a merchant centre. All you need to do is link your adwords account with your merchant centre and off you go – you’re ready to go.
If you haven’t got a Google merchant Id, you will need to get all your product details into Google merchant centre by either using an ecommerce plugin if there is one available for your e-commerce platform or by exporting and importing a bulk text file upload.
If you create your product listings by August 15, 2012, Google will give away a $100 voucher. Google product listing information states that they are only available for US, although I have seen product image ads showing in the UK.