Elizabeth Marsten // Jun 21 2012
Froogle, Google Product Search, Google Shopping- whatever you call it, it’s integrated with AdWords – now more than ever. And if you think Google is going to stop there…yeah, right.
This just got a bit more competitive is all. Oh yeah, and less free. If you’ve been following along with the recent announcement that Google AdWords will be discontinuing the free product listings through Google Product Search, then you’re with me already. If you haven’t- then breaking news for you!
In a nutshell- Google is making product feed submissions and displaying products a paid thing. So if you upload a product feed through Google Merchant Center (or Google Base as it’s sometimes called), then you care about this. You also care about this if you use Product Listing Ads (or PLAs) in Google AdWords in conjunction with a product feed in Google Merchant Center. You really care about this if you have only been using Google Merchant Center and NOT AdWords.
Let’s break it down, because in the end we’re talking about FIVE different Google products that could come into play for you.
Google Product Search- the section of Google.com where displays results come from product feeds and through Google web crawls. This was free to show your product feed in.
Google Merchant Center/Base- the interface where you upload your product feeds, view statistics of the same and get all your info on what’s accepted, what’s not and where you can “optimize” your product feeds using attributes provided by Google. Still technically free- but no one will see anything unless you pay.
Google AdWords- I think you know what this is. What you care about here is the auto targets tab in the AdWords user interface. More on that later. Also, never free.
Google Shopping- The product formerly known as Google Product Search. The results in this search result area will all be paid inclusions, drawn from product feeds submitted through Merchant Center, as well as organic listings.
Google collects shipping data (length of time to ship, speed of shipping) over the course of 28 days and 1,000 orders. During this “monitoring mode” an error free month will get you into the program, after which you get a nifty Google Trusted Stores badge to show alongside your AdWords text and product listing ads. Be sure to check out the implementation requirements and integration before signing up. The program just got opened up more from the “submit and hope for an email” – see how you can get started here. You care about this in connection with Google Shopping because of the badge it’s going to “bling” your ad out with.
Google Analytics- When uploading feeds to Google Merchant Center, you used to tag the back end of destination URLs (I hope you did at least) with the designation of utm_souce=google+products or something similar so that when you looked in your GA stats you could separate Google organic from Google Product Search. You really should do this if you haven’t been.
The most important thing? Just get your house in order now. Don’t wait till October. Sign up for updates from the AdWords or Merchant blogs to see when the official release will be – late summer is the current target.
Does this mean that you’ll now start seeing questions about the product feed program on the AdWords Advanced or Fundamentals exams? Probably.
Perhaps we’ll even see a new track of advanced to choose from: search, display, analytics and shopping!
Elizabeth supervises the overall search division at Portent, which includes PPC, SEO and Social Media. Check out her modest brag link bundle if you really want to know more: http://bitly.com/bundles/ebkendo/5 She has also written ebooks, is a regular on the Portent blog and speaks on PPC across the USA at various conferences. Read More