A-Z Guide to Google Shopping UK's Paid Inclusion Model

Jessica Milner

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Welcome to my A-Z Guide to Google Shopping UK’s Paid Inclusion Model

This blog continues the theme from my first written and video blog on this subject and provides more details of how the new PLA (Product Listing Ads) changes are impacting retailers following Google phasing out the free listings from February 15. By the Summertime, June to precise, it is anticipated that these free listings will be a feature of the past….
Retailers will now have to pay to integrate their products into the Google Shopping channel to be listed on page one for product results. The new model works on a cost-per-click basis which means that retailers will be charged each time their PLA is clicked on. This means…

  • One single unit for products
  • Search engine results pages (SERPs) will look different
  • Sign-up has changed (Google Adwords account needed)
  • Clicks to retailers will now be charged

My A-Z Guide is intended to aid everyone who is adjusting to these new changes!

A is for Arrival

These changes “Arrived” on February 15 and are expected to have been completely phased in by June!

B is for Benefits

For Businesses who rely on the free Google Shopping results, it may be difficult to see the benefits of the new system at first, but according to Google the new system will mean “better shopping results for users, which in turn should create higher quality traffic for merchants”.
Key Benefits for Retailers

  •  Being able to choose which products to promote. Currently, businesses have little control over which products are displayed for search results beyond submitting their product feed, meaning that if they sell different versions of the same product, they can promote the bestselling version.
  • The ability for businesses to target customers who are further down the buying cycle – those who are ready to buy rather than just browsing.
  • More control of the position your ads appear in the shopping results.
  • Increase in relevant click through conversion rates
  • Easy List Management
  • Opportunity to differentiate from competitors
  • Broader product reach

Key Benefits for Shoppers

  • Simple interface
  • Richer browsing (filter products by size, brand, colour etc)
  • Better result quality and accuracy
  • Easier to identify trusted retailers


C is for Credit Vouchers

Check if you qualify for Google’s incentives around Google Shopping. They have a number of different offers available including 10 per cent of your ad spend back between 15 February and 30 June and £75 credit vouchers.
D is for Data Feed Tips

The new Google Shopping changes places emphasis on  data feeds for product listings and those retailers who optimise data feeds to ensure accuracy will have the edge over their competitors. Some tips..

  • Update feed daily
  • Use high quality images where possible (400 x 400 pixels)
  • Ensure all required attributes are submitted
  • Check your robot. txt files to ensure you’re not blocking Google
  • Be concise with all product with all products and titles, but with important keywords included
  • Follow Google’s guidelines (e.g. No BLOCK CAPITALS)


E is for Ebay

How will the new paid for inclusion model impact on the visibility of listings via Ebay?
Read about it here, Ebay plans to continue to be part of the model, so the impact should be minimal:
Visibility in Google Shopping: Ebay

F is for Free Purchase Protection

This is currently a feature of Google’s Trusted Store scheme available to US retailers participating in the Google Shopping paid for inclusion model. Google Trusted Stores is rumoured to become available for UK retailers following the transition.
This feature is considered to be a benefit of the new PLA program in the US, as it is has proven to enhance conversion rates.

G is for Google Trusted Stores

Google Trusted Stores is currently available exclusively to US Retailers.

H is for Handy References!

SEO Traffic Lab – Google Shopping UK Changes – February 2013
SEO Traffic Lab – Google Shopping – UK Changes for 2013
Google Merchant Help Page
How to set up a Google Adwords account
How to link Google Adwords to the Merchant Centre

I is for Images

Retailers need to use high quality images in listings. An ideal size is 400 x 400 pixels.

J is for June 2013

By now the free listings will be no more! Farewell!

K is for Key Statistics

Product listing ads get twice as many clicks a standard text ad in the same location (Google)
Clickthrough rates for Product Listing Ads are 73% higher than standard text ads (Kenshoo)
Product listing ads get 35% more conversions than standard text ads (Kenshoo)
In US Q4, product listing ads accounted for 17% of ad spending on Google, and 10% of overall PPC
spend. (Adobe)
Retailers’ PLA spends increased by 600% in December 2012 compared to January 2012 (Marin)
Costs per click are around 36% lower than with text ads in AdWords (Kenshoo)
PLAs could improve paid search ROI by 46% (Kenshoo)

L is for Layout

Google asks for a specific layout for the integration of a merchant’s products within its engine. This won’t change much, but there are some differences.
Specific Layout of File Listings

M is for Merchant Centre Accounts

Google Merchant Help Page

N is for Netherlands

One of the countries alongside the UK adjusting to the new changes. Others include: France, Japan, Italy, Spain,  Brazil, Australia and Switzerland.

O is for Optimising for Best Results

Optimising your data feed

  • Make your entire product inventory available with an “all product” target (with a low bid)
  • Control your product targets by bidding differently on each group of products.
  • Ensure your feeds remain high quality, fix errors and allow Google’s optimisation advice.
  • Run search query reports and set negative keywords so only relevant products are listed.
  • Use promotional text to highlight key offers and unique selling points.
  • Add one or more Adwords attributes to your Google Merchant Centre Offers:
  • adwords_redirect – separate traffic from Google Shopping
  • adwords_grouping – group products limit a campaign to certain types of products
  • adwords_labels – tag products with multiple labels for easy segmentation
  • adwords_publish – exclude certain products from PLAs


P is for Preparation

1) Decide who is going to run your Google Shopping campaigns, is there resource available in-house or do you need to outsource?
2) Set up a Google AdWords account and Google Merchant account if you don’t already have these in place.
3) Allocate budget from your marketing spend.
4) Analyse your products to identify the most profitable and to get an idea of which items you would allocate more spend to.
5) Create a product feed, if you don’t already have one, and optimise it to ensure all the necessary data is included and listed in the correct columns.
6) Check if you qualify for Google’s incentives around Google Shopping. They have a number of different offers available including 10 per cent of your ad spend back and £75 credit vouchers.

Q is for Questions

??? Do you have any questions? Write a comment below and we will do our best to assist!

R is for Revenue

You can track the revenue obtained from Google Shopping through setting up customised dashboards within Ecommerce analytics.
The figures and all the revenue stats will all be in here!

S is for Summary of Changes

See earlier blogs on this topic!
SEO Traffic Lab – Google Shopping UK Changes – February 2013
SEO Traffic Lab – Google Shopping – UK Changes for 2013

T is for To Do List

Get the to do list out so that you can implement some of these changes!

U is for Understanding the Changes

It’s important to understand the changes ahead to keep ahead of your competitors.
Read around the subject and follow the reference links and track changes through your Google Reader

V is for Vital Tips

Watch out for more vital tips in my next update! More details in my next blog!

W is for Wow! The Changes are Here!

It has happened, time to embrace the change and move forwards!

X is for Xml feed example

Google Shopping Xml Feed example

Y is for Yeti

The Yeti, otherwise known as Abnominal Snowman is said to be an ape like cryptid taller than an average human, similar to Bigfoot that is said to inhabit the Himalayan region of Nepal, and Tibet.
Nowadays, Big Foot is an elusive presence and rarely sighted – don’t let your products become yetified – keep calm and PLA on…!

Z is for Zeal

Be enthusiastic about the changes, they have arrived, so get the best out of your Google Shopping Listings and boff up on the changes!
Thanks for reading!

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