Stockport-based full service digital agency, Platform81 explain Google’s free Shopping exposure which is currently being rolled out across the UK. The agency’s PPC Manager, Rachel, discusses what this means for businesses trading online.
In the last month or so, Google have announced some free ‘Shopping exposure’. It has already been rolled out in the US and has slowly started being rolled out in the UK in the last few weeks, with the aim to be fully released by the end of the year.
Not all people know about Google Shopping, nor do they know what this free ‘exposure’ actually means which is why we’ve picked the brains of our PPC Manager Rachel to tell us more.
What is Google Shopping?
Google Shopping is a service created by Google that allows consumers to search for, compare and shop for physical products across many different online retailers who have paid Google to advertise their products. Google Shopping adds a visual touch to an otherwise text-heavy online search when shopping and also is proven to have 30% higher conversion rates than text ads.
What is this free ‘Shopping exposure’ that we mention then?
When searching for items to buy, the free shopping exposure won’t affect the Google Search results page; this will continue to run with paid shopping and search ads as normal. The free exposure being offered by Google takes place on the Google Shopping tab, where 10-15% of shopping clicks occur. This page will now show free product listings, not just paid ones.
So, what does this mean for PPC activity? How do I get my free shopping exposure?
You can apply for the free shopping in your Merchant Centre account under manage programs and it doesn’t take long to get approved, and then Google will do the rest! You can see you click data in the Merchant Centre but it is a good idea to keep an eye on your direct traffic in Google Analytics to see any uplift there; the traffic seems to be attributed to this source, rather than paid traffic (makes sense, well, because it’s not paid traffic).
Yay! You’re getting some free clicks! The free clicks will come under the Shopping tab on the SERPs. Clicks in here are said to account for 10-15% of Shopping traffic, so don’t expect thousands of clicks, but free is better than none. Just to note, not ALL ads in this tab will be free, just a section. You will still be paying for some clicks in here.
NAY! Unfortunately, you cannot see any of this data in your Google Ads account, nor is there a campaign set up and you cannot optimise any campaigns, just optimise your feed as usual.
Do not be fooled and think that this means all Shopping traffic is now free, because it is not. It isn’t super clear when you first read it on the Google Support pages. The main search results page will not change and remain chargeable as before – this area is therefore said to be responsible for 85-90% of shopping clicks, and where most of your revenue will come from.
So, what’s the crack?
This is the chance to apply and get some free exposure. Whilst free is great, it does not mean you should consider slashing any budgets AT all.
We recommend you definitely get involved, especially if you’re already utilising Google Shopping, but in our opinion no changes should be made to any existing or proposed strategies.