Google Shopping’s transition has begun – what you should do next

Posted: Wednesday 27th February 2013 in Paid Media, Thought Leadership.

Changes have been slow to develop

So “G-Day” has come and gone with very little fanfare.  The launch date for Google Shopping’s Migration to a Fully Paid Model was certainly not marked by Google in anyway (not even a special Doodle!) and indeed felt like a real anti-climax.  In retrospect, the balloons and party poppers here at Summit HQ may have been a little over-the-top!  This was perhaps due to some of the negativity that has been flowing Google’s way from the likes of Bing and also smaller Retailers who are now forced into paying for their traffic.  In fact, there was little sign of any change whatsoever in the days following 13 February itself and the Google Product Search landscape appeared unaltered.  Two weeks down the line and we are now noticing some very interesting things:


  • Free Listings remained on the Main Google Search Page all the way up until Wednesday 20th February, when they were finally removed.  We expected Free Listings to be removed on the 13th of February. Hence we saw a very small drop in traffic initially, but a much larger drop since the 20th.
  • The vast majority of Listings on the Google Shopping Page still appear to be Free.  We expect this to change soon, as we see more PLAs replacing Free Listings.
  • PLA traffic has become much more expensive.  What we were paying before the launch is now buying us much less in terms of clicks.  Therefore bids and budgets have had to be increased to keep the same level of traffic.  We expect to see CPCs fall again as retailers optimise.
  • Amazon are still paying for PLAs and appearing within Free Listings.  They may still up and leave once the migration period ends.


What should you do next?


  • Optimise your PLA Bids.  Use reporting to see which of your categories or products are performing well/poorly and optimise accordingly.
  • Upweight your Budget.  Bring forward budget from later in the year to help boost traffic whilst CPCs are high.
  • Check your PLA Targeting.  Make sure you are including all products in your feed and have the right targeting in place.  This may be by Category, Brand, Low/High Value Products or even by Individual Products.  Use AdWords Labels to easily group products together such as “Sale Items”.
  • Ensure your PLA Creative is working hard for you.  You have 45 characters to get your Promotions/Discounts/Voucher Codes/Special offers across.
  • Negative Backfilling.  Use the Search Query Report available in the Google AdWords interface, to ensure irrelevant traffic isn’t triggering your PLAs.
  • Feed Management.  Ensure your feed contains comprehensive, relevant data that complies with Google’s Policies.


Did you also know Google’s Feed Specifications for Clothing Retailers are changing in UK from March? I will provide you an overview in my next blog, so stay tuned.


Adam Chard, Shopping Comparison Manager

Email: [email protected]