For a few days now, this news has been spreading like wildfire: “Google Shopping will be free for everyone”. The trigger was a postby Bill Ready (President Commerce, Google) on the official Google blog with the euphonious headline “It’s now free to sell on Google”.
Okay? Why does Google decide to suddenly make this service free again? A brief digression: In 2002, Google launches product search under the name “Froogle” and enables retailers to list their own products free of charge. Yes really, it didn’t cost anything back then. However, most people did not know what to do with the name Froogle and so 5 years later it became simply “Google Product Search”. And it was still free of charge. Only in 2013, when the service was already called Google Shopping, the product listing became chargeable.
So what happened now? Loosely translated, Bill Ready says in his post, “In light of the challenges created by the Corona pandemic, we are moving forward with our plans to make it free for merchants to sell on Google.
Anyone who owns an online store and places ads via Google or would like to do so in the future can now rejoice. Right? If you read the article more closely, it becomes clear that the statement “It’s now free to sell on Google” should be viewed a little more toned down:
“Beginning next week, search results on the Google Shopping tab will consist primarily of free listings”
Means: The product listing is only free of charge within the shopping tab and that only partially.
In plain language: The more prominent places directly in Google search remain chargeable!
Prominent placement of Shopping ads in Google search:
Placement in vertical shopping search:
In addition, paid campaigns will only be augmentedwith free listings. “For advertisers, this means paid campaigns can now be augmented with free listings.” However, since Ready talks about the listings here being “mainly free,” we can assume that the largest portion is made up of free ads.
So far, this has only been rolled out for the USA since the end of April. Google plans to make the free ads available to everyone by the end of the year.
It remains to be seen how the visibility will actually improve for the own store and according to which criteria the product ads will then be played out. It remains exciting.
Two questions remain:
- Was this just a clever move by Google to appeal to merchants who have not yet advertised on Google Shopping?
- Or are there really altruistic intentions behind helping affected traders in the Corona crisis?