Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Google Shopping becoming a paid-for service

Google Shopping, the comparison shopping engine from Google, is about to change in the UK and several other countries from today. From 13 February it is moving from a free service to a paid-for one, in an increasing attempt by the UK & Europe’s biggest search engine to monetise its functionality.
However it will take a little while to transition over from the free service and the change will not be completely implemented until around the end of Q2 2013. Based upon Cost-per-click (CPC) bidding for each product, the system will be run from your Google account .It will then work in a similar way to the AdWords system that is used to display advertising alongside the organic search results (SERPs)

So....Are you ready for Google’s newly-monetised service?

If not,there are certain things you can do to prepare yourself

  1. Create an AdWords account
    If you do not have an AdWords account already, you will need one if you want to keep your products showing up… but it will cost you when someone clicks on one of your products.
  2. Make sure your bidding is competitive
    Just like pay-per-click costs, bidding on Product Listing Ads is not just based on what you want to pay for a visit, but what your competitors bid. Setting maximum daily budgets is therefore the obvious way to avoid any financial surprises.
  3. Understand the work involved If you currently manage your free listings yourself and have little knowledge of the Google AdWords system, you could be in for a steep learning curve.
  4. Make sure your feeds are correct
    The slightest error in your feed to Google Shopping could break the entry for your products in the Google Merchant Center account. These feeds also need to contain as much information as possible and be completely up-to-date (so you’re not paying for products you no longer sell or have stock of).
  5. Keep a close eye on your analytics
    Remember, the number of visits to your site is not usually the best indicator that your paid-for campaigns are optimised. Ensure your analytics account (e.g. Google Analytics) has your goals set-up around conversions and then adapt your product listing adverts to get the most sales.
I’ll be following this new service as it gradually gets rolled-out to users. If you have any experience of paid for PLA’s(e.g. tips and hints) I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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