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The Search Agency’s Point of View: Google Shopping


On Thursday, May 31 2012, Google announced a significant change to their Google Product Search program. Below is a recap that summarizes the changes and potential impact to advertising efforts.

What is the change to Google Product Search and why is it being made?

On May 31, 2012, Google began to transition Google Product Search in the U.S. to a purely commercial model built on Product Listing Ads (PLA). The new product discovery experience is called Google Shopping.

Why is the change being made?

Google believes that having a commercial relationship with advertisers will encourage them to keep fresh and up to date product information. Higher quality data—whether it’s accurate prices, the latest offers or product availability—should mean better shopping results for users, which in turn should create higher quality traffic for advertisers.

How will the new Google Shopping work?

Ranking in Google Shopping, when the full transition is complete this fall, will be based on a combination of relevance and bid price–just like Product Listing Ads today. This will give merchants greater control over where their products appear on Google Shopping. Over time they will also have the opportunity to market special offers such as “30% off all refracting telescopes.”

How does the change impact search results?

Google will be experimenting with ad formats between now and the fall, when the rollout is expected to be complete. A traditional view of Google Product Search and Product Listing Ads:


An example of how Google Shopping Ads may appear:


What are the key dates?
Google will be experimenting with ad formats between now and the fall. There are a few key dates advertisers should be aware of as Google is providing the following incentives to aid in the transition:

What changes do advertisers need to make?

Advertisers will be required to set up Product Listing Ads within their AdWords accounts.


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About Keith Wilson

Keith Wilson directs The Search Agency's clients on display strategy, campaign execution, and campaign optimization in order to achieve desired ROI metrics. His expertise is in implementing methodologies and strategies for advertisers seeking to yield profitable return on their advertising budget. Prior to TSA, Keith worked at Experian Interactive Media as the Director of Online Partnerships and was responsible for managing the integrated partnership and media buying for strategic partners. In addition, he has worked at United Online as Director of Customer Acquisitions for their Classmates.com online brand, responsible for managing a CPA targeted budget in excess of $30M annually. Keith attended Cornell University.