Merchants can list products for free on Google Shopping since mid October 2020. Prior to that date, merchants needed to pay in order to list their products in Google Shopping. The free listings are a great opportunity for online shop owners who have not started advertising on Google Shopping before or online shop owners who want to expand to overseas markets without paying for ads.
What is Google Shopping?
Google Shopping is a search result showing product listings that include product information such as product title, image, price, and merchant brand name.
For example, when someone searches for skincare products on Google Search, Google Shopping ads appear on the top or right side of the main Google search results. The free product listings will appear in the dedicated Google Shopping tab under the ads.
Shopping ads in Google Search
Google Shopping ads and Free Product Listings
Setting up Free Product Listings
- In order to make use of free product listings, first of all, check whether your website has the suitable language and currency for the target country
- Each merchant needs to upload their product feed to Google Merchant Center and each submitted product feed must fulfill the product feeds’ requirements with the correct shipping and tax information.
- Last but not least, Surface Across Google should be enabled in Google Merchant Center. The product feed approval process typically takes about 3 to 5 business days, after which the products should start showing up in Google Shopping results.
Also make sure to follow the policies for free product listings:
How do I see traffic from the free product listings?
You can see the free product listing traffic in Google Merchant Center or Google Analytics.
Traffic Performance Report in Merchant Center
The Google Merchant Center dashboard shows traffic information generated from the free product listings including impressions, clicks and CTR. In the Your Reports section, you can customize the traffic report by adding more dimensional data, such as product category, product type and custom labels to help you understand the traffic on a more granular level.
Source/Medium Report in Google Analytics
If you have set up Google Analytics tracking on your website, by default the traffic coming from the free product listings is registered as google / organic in GA’s source/medium report.
Using this standard report, it is not possible to differentiate organic traffic from Google Search from organic traffic from the free product listings. In order to identify traffic from the free product listings, you need to set up your UTM parameter for each product link in the feed file that you upload to the Merchant Center. The UTM parameter appended to the end of a product URL is similar to this:
We recommend using this tool called Campaign UTM builder if you are unfamiliar with the UTM parameter setup. You should see traffic coming from Free Product Listings after you have set up UTM parameters.
How to target different geographical regions with Google Shopping
If you are looking to expand your eCommerce business to other countries, you can use the Google product listings for free traffic here as well. All you need to do is to set up the free product listing and it will require a few more steps configuration in Google Merchant Center.
- In Google Merchant Center, go to Products > Feeds in the menu on the left
- Click on Settings and on the 3 dots
- Choose Add Country of Sale and Language
- Fill in the country of sale and language
This way, your product listings will start showing up in each country you configure (just make sure you can actually ship to these countries!)
Google Shopping Free Listings vs. Paid Ads
Google offers free product listings globally to online eCommerce shops. It can help boost sales with free organic traffic. However, in our experience traffic from free product listings is limited compared to using Google Shopping Ads.
The main reason is that Google Shopping ads appear in more channels such as Google Search, Google Shopping, Google Search partner websites, and Google Display Network while the free listings only appear in the dedicated Google Shopping tab.
The second reason is that Google Shopping ads appear in a more prominent position in the Google Shopping tab (above the free product listings).
The free product listings are definitely worth including if an eCommerce shop owner wants to sell their products on Google Shopping or explore new target countries without the need to pay for ads.
If you need support on setting up the free product listings or Google Shopping ads, feel free to consult our experts. We can also assist you with setting up paid ads in a variety of other channels and provide professional advice and digital strategies that align with your company goals.