Years after labeling Paid Inclusion as evil, has Google now sold its soul to the devil? Major changes are coming to Google right in the middle of Q4 that will have a major impact on what was formerly Froogle and more recently known as Google Product Search. The new program, Google Shopping will incorporate elements of the existing Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs).
Inceptor is no stranger to PLAs as we launched them over 2 years ago. Since then we have driven large amounts of incremental and efficient data for many of our clients. While not all facts have been rolled out yet, the Inceptor PPC and CSE teams will be working to understand the direct (and indirect) impact this will have for our clients. Obviously, an announcement like this can sound a bit frightening as a free program is going away during Q4. Some initial thoughts and direct effects of the changes are as follows:
- This change will substantially drive up CPC rates in PLAs as competition increases dramatically. This will require finer levels of product grouping to keep products visible while still keeping efficiency.
- This is a raw deal for merchants that went through a lot of effort to comply with Google’s new requirements in September, only to have the program eliminated less than a year later. While we fully expect the new data requirements to remain in effect, many merchants may choose to opt out of a Google Shopping program that is no longer free. In those cases, the efforts made to comply with the new data requirements will have been in vain.
- Changes will reduce the variety of products available in Google Shopping as many smaller merchants that won’t be able to willing to submit products on a paid basis, and those that do will suppress products that have a poor conversion rate.
- This could potentially improve the quality by eliminating a lot of duplicate listings sent by merchants trying to game the system. Now that these product listings are not free, there is less incentive to do so.
Keep in mind there is more than a little silver lining in this news.
With this change, Google will be held more accountable; merchants now have leverage vs. Google when they introduce burdensome requirements like category names, tracking URL restrictions, exact shipping costs, etc. Traditionally Google has had a “my way or the highway” approach when introducing changes; merchants need to either comply or be kicked out. Now that Google stands to lose revenue, this should become more of a two-way street if the demands Google makes is difficult for merchants to comply with and keep up with any newer changes
We have time until this is rolled out , but with testing ongoing within the SERPs and the large focus that comes with announcement, we will be rolling out recommendations to all clients on what changes we will be making and what it will mean to your business.
Paid Inclusion is not new to Inceptor , and we assure all of our clients that we are more than prepared to make this as seamless as possible and with as limited a disruption to your Q4 revenue as possible. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t always make things easy.
Maybe they are getting more and more evil by the day…