The evolving face of Google Shopping

Posted: Wednesday 20th November 2013 in Paid Media, Thought Leadership.

Google have brought in some changes to their Shopping listings

What’s happening?

Product Listing Ads (PLAs) have changed the face of Google, and as the platform has matured they have also begun taking up more and more Google real estate. Their success has meant retailers are reallocating budget usually earmarked for traditional methods to the new ad format on the block.
Hand in hand with PLAs comes Google Shopping; Google’s retail centric search destination.
The success and development of PLAs has recently seen Google Shopping become Google’s new playground, with not one, but two new developments recently hitting monitors, laptops and tablets across the UK. There have also been mobile specific developments, but we’ll save them for another time.

Firstly, Google expanded the ad count on the main Google
Shopping page from 20 listings to 36, nearly doubling its offering.

Expanded ad count

Secondly, clicking the ad no longer automatically directs you deeper into Google Shopping for product or price comparison, but instead expands to show more information about the selected product – including merchant name, seller reviews and feed driven information such as shipping costs and the product title and description.

More information about the selected product









You are sometimes presented with the option to compare prices (not on our example), however this is no longer a permanent option as it was previously. Clicking either the image, title, call to action or price bar sends you directly to the product page – basically everything besides the description – so don’t go clicking away haphazardly or you could inadvertently be on the way to joining the basket abandonment brigade.

What does it mean?

This seems like Google’s latest stage along the process of slowly turning Google Shopping into THE go to destination for all your shopping needs. With Certified Shops and Google Wallet on the way too, it all suggests Google are posturing to turn Google Shopping into a one-stop-shop for all your shopping needs.

What should retailers do?

Step one – retailers need to pay even closer attention to their feed quality and content. Titles and descriptions are coming under even more scrutiny than ever before; not only for relevancy matching, but now as part of the customer experience and purchase journey. Make sure they are legible, free of basic errors and look the part. They are your ad copy, make the most of it. A good quality product feed will generally also mean lower CPCs, so you are essentially killing two birds with one stone by keeping your feed in tip top shape.
Step two – retailers need to ensure their ad words account and structure is polished and managed robustly. The Google Shopping page is no longer sorted by price; in fact you will only be price-compared if the user clicks the compare prices option, if it’s even there. The relevancy of your feed is one thing, but ensuring your CPCs are at the optimum level based on your feed quality is key to ensuring you are serving regularly in the most prominent positions.
Finally, if you are not already serving on Google PLAs and regularly supplying Google with an accurate and up-to-date product feed to serve on PLAs, NOW is the time to act. All Google’s recent activity suggests this may be where they see the future of retail.
Google is changing; make sure you don’t get left behind.

If you’ve got a question about the changes in Google’s shopping listings we’d be more than happy to answer it. Contact Dave Trolle, Head of Direct Response.

Click here to find out more about shopping comparison at Summit.