Over the past couple of months, the coronavirus pandemic has forced many businesses to change their way of operating, possibly for good. COVID-19 has meant that the majority of businesses, especially those reliant on physical store locations, needed to close their doors or limit the number of customers allowed in at any one time. This has led to many shoppers being forced online, with many brick-and-mortars stores having to quickly adapt and optimize their business for online Shopping. For some industries and sectors, this means an increase in sales and customer volume, however many aren’t this fortunate and may not have the capital or capacity to increase their marketing at the time when they need to most.
In response to this issue, Google has responded and finally put an end to the constantly asked question of ‘Is Google Shopping Free?’. The search engine giant has relented and reacted to the global situation, making the decision to ensure Google Shopping is free to use for all.
This helps retailers and businesses, both small and large, to find, connect and convert more customers online without having to drastically increase their overall marketing budget. By allowing retailers to showcase their products on the Google Shopping platform, it opens up the pool of potential customers to all as they now have the capability to reach hundreds of millions of shoppers every day at no extra cost.
However, for many, this may be the first time they are engaging with Google Shopping, which means they may have a lot of questions that need answering. Namely, what are Google Product Listing Ads? and How do I get my products listed on Google Shopping? So, let’s take a deeper dive into this concept and give you all the information you need to make the most of this opportunity.
Why Google Made Product Listing Free for Businesses
Firstly, just why has Google made this decision in the first place? Well, every day, hundreds of millions of people use Google to shop, and with the majority of physical locations not being fully operational right now, this enormous amount of potential customers is now not only desirable, but necessary for the survival of many businesses. Given everything currently going on in the world due to Coronavirus, Google Shopping is an attractive platform for businesses in all sectors to showcase their products.
So, with the recent introduction of free listings, more businesses can now submit their products to be listed in the Google Shopping tab without having to worry about having to increase their marketing budgets. At a time when the majority of businesses are constrained by financial limitations, the likes of which many will not have experienced before, Google is offering them a resource to be able to continue to operate. This is something that is good for retailers, that is good for customers, and that is good for Google themselves. It is a win-win situation for all involved.
As products now have the potential to be discovered by shoppers who might not otherwise have been able to see them, businesses are able to get their products purchased without having to pay more for these clicks.
Now, while this does not completely replace Shopping ads, the option for free listings in Google’s Shopping tab allows small businesses especially to access to a customer base that would previously have been impossible. If a company was unable to afford, or did not have the available resources needed to effectively manage and optimize their own Google Ads campaigns, free listings now gives them this chance at the time when they need it most.
However, this is also beneficial for the companies who may already have been running their own Shopping campaigns too. These companies now have a way to support and supplement their current approach to paid advertising with free listings, giving them the opportunity to build further upon their current successes.
The Benefits for Businesses
When the current Coronavirus crisis has already forced many retailers to close their doors, an eCommerce strategy has a new found level of importance for everybody out there. With the potential for 7.5 million small businesses having to close, understanding the ways to make Google Shopping Ads benefit your business is more important than ever before. But there are certain ways specifically you can make your Google Shopping Ads even more beneficial to your business such as:
Present Customers With All The Relevant Information: It might look like you only need to provide a few pieces of information when it comes to create your product listings. However, under all circumstances, you should look to give as much information as you have to help convert customers. More information allows the Google algorithms to match your items to a user’s search based on the information you fill out, which subsequently will also help them be displayed in filtered product searches as well. Everything from product category and product color, to the size, condition and anything else that may be deemed necessary should be viewed as relevant. The more information you provide, the more customers a listing will be able to be displayed to.
Product Titles Are Crucial: This is the largest, and most often the first, piece of text that will be viewed by potential customers. It is also weighed heavily when it comes to the Google ranking of a particular product. Remember, you only get to have one product name for an item, so it has to be optimized as well as possible in order to fit with what a customer is likely to search for. Spend time to figure out which product titles are working best and continue to update it based on customer searches. Just because a title is currently doing well, it doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon.
Focus On The Visuals: Every retailer knows that customers will make the majority of decisions based upon the way something looks. Unique, attention grabbing product imagery and visuals will help your items stand out. Remember, with more people now online and an increasingly crowded marketplace, businesses need to find ways to differentiate themselves from the competition. If a customer sees you are using stock imagery, or blurry, low quality pictures, they will not look to buy from you. Think of it as a shop window in a physical store, if it doesn’t look appealing, people won’t come in. Find ways to highlight your products visually in regards to your Shopping Ads and make sure your objects really grab everyone's attention.
Combining the visual aesthetic of your ads visuals with an optimized product title and every piece of relevant information will mean your Google Shopping Ads are presented to the largest number of people possible. In turn, this should lead to more conversions, and therefore more return customers.
Shopping Ads in Gmail
It isn’t just that Google has made Shopping Product Listings free, they have also recently implemented it for Gmail as well, further increasing the net of potential customers you can connect with. This expansion to Gmail, which also includes YouTube and Discover, now means that Shopping campaigns are able to target users across much more of the sales funnel than was previously the case.
Google is unquestionably the most popular search engine in the world and Gmail itself is used by over a billion people regularly. Customers are already used to receiving newsletters, product offers, deals and every other form of marketing material from the companies they interact with so an optimized ad that they see in this space may in fact be more effective than any other location. While this has only just been implemented by Google, the potential it offers to marketers and companies, especially given the current state of the world, is almost limitless.
What Marketers Need to Know About This?
For retailers, this change, both regarding Gmail and free Shopping Ads, offers exposure to millions of people who use Google to shop every single day. While customers will be able to discover products from businesses they would otherwise not interact with, marketers can now use it to bolster their current paid campaigns. It gives them the freedom to experiment with new ideas, try innovative approaches without worrying about wasting huge amounts of their budget and really see how they can connect with their customers.
Google also recently announced that merchants who are using PayPal will now be able to link those accounts to the Google Merchant Center, allowing Google access to seller details quickly and to verify trusted merchants more effectively.
How to Get Started With Free Product Listing?
Now for a lot of people and businesses, this may be the first time they are getting involved with Google Shopping ads, so you might be a little unfamiliar with how it works or how to best utilize it to help potential customers find your business. Some ways to help optimize your product listing include:
- Make sure all information is easy to understand and up to date. Especially as it relates to the changing world right now
- Follow the Google Merchant Center’s specific image requirements
- Make sure all titles are descriptive and specific
- Tailor all titles and descriptions so they incorporate the search terms your customers will be using.
- Undertake keyword research to discover how people are finding your products.
- Where possible make sure your product type attributes are at least three levels deep. with at least 3 levels if possible.
Finally, the answer to the question, how much does it cost to sell on Google Shopping, is nothing. This now opens up the world of eCommerce to a number of different businesses to whom it may never have been a previous option. Not only does this help companies save money on marketing budgets when they need it most, it also allows those with paid listings already operating to optimize their current strategies.
With the coronavirus having a potentially damaging impact to a number of different businesses out there, free product listings is a way that companies can help themselves to stay productive and positive during an incredibly difficult time.