There was good news for online retailers yesterday as Google announced they would expand free shopping ads worldwide starting mid-October.
Google offered free ad listings back in April this year to help retailers struggling during the Coronavirus crisis. The catch? Only US businesses could benefit from the free listings. Five months later and businesses all over the world now look set to benefit.
Free Google Shopping Ads
The announcement from Google yesterday:
“Today we announced that we’re bringing free listings to the Shopping tab in countries across Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Just as we don’t charge sites to be part of the Google Search index, listings for participating retailers are eligible to appear in these results at no cost to them. Paid listings will continue to appear in ad slots and will operate in the same way as Shopping ads do today.”
Google shopping ads are designed to be helpful to both businesses and shoppers – displaying relevant products that are in stock, with a clear price and a direct link to the retailer. This is how they appear when you search for a product:
Google initially made ads free of charge to businesses back in April to provide a boost to retailers that were struggling because of Covid-19 and couldn’t afford to invest money in Google adverts. Google reports the scheme has been a success, helping many smaller businesses promote their products to customers online.
How Can You Benefit?
No precise date has been given yet, but free ads are expected to become available from mid-October and there are a few things you can do in advance.
- If you already use Google Merchant Center and paid shopping ads you don’t need to set anything additional up other than ensuring Merchant Center is up to date – your free Google shopping ads will be placed by pulling information from your product feed.
- If you have a Merchant Center account but haven’t added a product feed – do so asap! Instructions here.
- Finally, if you don’t have a Merchant Center account and sell products online, open an account and get acquainted with how Google shopping works.
The ability to have your products placed in prominent positions in search results for free is particularly useful for smaller businesses who may be trying to broaden their reach organically (free or low cost).