Google Shopping ’Pay to Play’ set for UK launch in 2013

6 December 2012Guest blogger

Transition to the ‘Pay to Play’ model is set to be completed by mid-2013

So the worst kept secret in shopping comparison is out! Following the recent launch of Google Shopping as what is being termed ‘Pay to Play’ in the US, it was inevitable that the UK and other markets would eventually follow suit. Google have announced that paid Google Product Listing Ads will replace free Google Product Search, with a transition period starting on 13 February 2013.

The full transition in the US was completed on 17 October 2012, just in time for the peak retail period. The UK and other territories such as France, Germany, Spain, Brazil and Australia will all follow by the middle of 2013.

What changes will we see in the UK?

As happened in the US, Google will be allowing a phased transition to take place, allowing merchants to optimise their campaigns and set up Product Listing Ads through Google AdWords. The first noticeable changes will take place from 13 February 2013 when new, cleaner shopping results will appear on Google. Through the use of Product Listing Ads, commercial formats will appear, labelled as ‘sponsored’, but will continue to work alongside the existing free listings. Full transition to the new ‘Pay to Play’ model should be completed by mid-2013, when the free listings will cease to exist.

Google state that benefits to merchants will include a more granular control over their product listings and placement, while giving users an improved shopping experience. In turn, this should lead to better quality traffic to merchant sites. It should also help retailers reach new customers through better targeted search results, which in turn means more relevance and reason to click.

Anything else online retailers need to consider?

As an online retailer, you should be examining the results of the US roll-out and checking for any fall-out that might affect your business. For example, if trends follow the US model, we will most likely see Amazon refuse to play ball and pull its listings out of Google Shopping. How will this affect you?

We could also see a plethora of bells and whistles added to the Google Shopping experience, such as the Trusted Stores programme, Online Catalogues, 360 degree product views and promotional messaging for starters.

You should consider your options to ensure that any changes to your own online listings are rolled out as smoothly and efficiently as possible. You should look at strategies for managing your shopping comparison and optimising product feeds to make sure your product data is as relevant as possible to your target audience.

If you want to know more about the changes to Google Shopping and how they might affect your business, please get in touch.

Adam Chard, Shopping Comparison Manager

Tel. +44 (0)1482 876876 ext. 495

Guest blogger