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After eight years of Google Shopping being a paid product, Google is changing things up.

Beginning next week, search results on the Google Shopping tab will consist primarily of free product listings.

For shoppers, this means more products; for retailers, it means free exposure to the millions of people who come to Google every day; for advertisers, it means paid campaigns can be used to leverage the visibility of promoted placements.

What's actually happening

Google is making standard involvement with Google Shopping free by looping the service into its Surfaces Across Google program.

"Just as we don't charge sites to be part of the Google Search Index, listings for participating retailers are eligible to appear in these [Google Shopping search] results at no cost to them." - Google

By having products in Merchant Center and opting into the program, listings for participating retailers become eligible to appear in Google experiences.

Shopping Ads (paid listings) will continue to appear in Google Search results. Shopping Ads will also be featured prominently in Shopping search results pages, above unpaid listings. Additionally, Google Shopping’s homepage will continue to feature curated, paid ads from the Shopping Actions program.

The changes to free listings are set to take effect in the US before the end of April; globally before the end of the year.

How to opt in

If you’re an existing user of Merchant Center and Shopping Ads and you’ve already opted into the “surfaces across Google” program, you’re good to go. You might already be eligible to show your products in unpaid Google experiences.

To opt in:

  • Within Merchant Center, select “Growth” 
  • “Manage programs” in the left navigation menu
  • Select the “surfaces across Google” program card

From here you can also add products to your product feed, to make even more products discoverable as free listings.

For new Merchant Center users who are interested in joining the program, it’s open to you today and does not require Google Ads – but stay tuned, Google is going to continue working to streamline the onboarding process in the coming months.

GoDataFeed already supports Surfaces Across Google so if you’re opted in, your existing product feed will work with these new free listings.

Seriously, free means free!

There’s no better time to start selling on Google Shopping.

Opting into Surfaces Across Google now will give you a head start in acquiring free listings. It will also allow you to identify and fix roadblocks ahead of competitors.

Contact us if you have any questions about how GoDataFeed connects with Google’s free and paid product listings.