Over the past month or so, with everything that’s been going on, there have been some changes announced to Google Shopping and Hotel ads. Here we run through the important bits you should know.
1. Free Google Shopping ads are back
Near the end of April, due to the current situation with coronavirus, Google announced that it would be letting advertisers use Google Shopping without charge.
Google has recognised the strain placed on businesses that have had to close physical stores and realises how important online retail is, now more than ever. As in many cases, for a lot of merchants, online is currently the only outlet they have to generate sales and revenue.
Since the end of April the shopping results became fundamentally made up of organic results, as they were back in 2012. Some say this is Google’s way of trying to hit back at Amazon, as Amazon has been dominating the retail search space for months. Introducing organic listings back into the shopping results could improve relevance for some users, ultimately enticing them back to using Google as their first point of call for retail therapy.
What does this change mean for retailers?
At the moment it is only relevant to US stores, as it has only been rolled out there so far, however Google hopes to roll it out to other countries later in the year. But when it does become more widely available, retailers will need to join Google Merchant Centre in order to get their products listed. A process it is hoping to streamline in the near future, so merchants can list products directly, without the need for a feed.
If you already have a Google Merchant account and a feed uploaded, you don’t need to do anything to get your products listed free of charge.
Google is also partnering with PayPal, as well as its existing partners including Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce, which will make things easier when it comes to onboarding, as retailers can simply link their accounts.
2. New “curbside pickup” feature in Shopping
Another feature that is being beta-tested to help merchants who use local inventory ads during this time is “curbside pickup”. And it looks like this:
In order to use this feature advertisers must:
- Enable store pickup
- Provide the service to customers who purchase online, so they can choose a curbside or contactless pickup option
- Allow curbside or contactless pickup without the need to use an app
3. Changes to hotel ad charges
In a similar guise, there have also been edits made to hotel ads, which means that hoteliers will not have to pay Google if a customer later cancels a room that was booked via Google.
It is trialing a commission based (per room) bidding strategy that means the hotel owners only pay the commission if the traveler actually stays in the hotel. As well as a ‘free cancellation’ filter, which will allow travelers to just see hotels that offer the option to cancel free of charge.