Google Product Listings No Longer Free

If you have a Google Merchant Account, you have probably heard that Google is doing away with the free product listings that have been showing for years, and moving to a strictly paid version. There’s a whole lot of confusion about this.

First off, Google Product Listings and/or Google Product Ads are those little thumbnail pictures of product with the price of the product. The free version used to show up on the left hand side, within the natural listings, and the paid version showed up in the upper right-hand corner.

Paid Google Product Listings have been around for a long time – I’ve been managing them for more than a year for some clients – so the paid aspect of product listings is not new, which is a surprise to a lot of people.

Google has done a good job of announcing the change, but here’s where they’ve dropped the ball and causing confusion for people who are already doing paid Product Listings. When you login to Google Merchant Center, a huge red box comes up, telling you that to keep you Product Search listings active on Google, you need to setup a new campaign.

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The problem is it doesn’t take into consideration that you may already HAVE a Product Listing campaign running in Google AdWords. (The only time you don’t get this warning is if you have a campaign that you created through the Google Merchant Center.)

This is bad planning on Google’s part. I’ve had a number of clients panic and create new campaigns (which automatically get dropped into Google AdWords, as that’s where the campaign is actually managed), even though they already have a Product Listing campaign running. The new campaigns are probably not filtered and all the products have the same bid, regardless of value, which is causing issues for profitability. And I’m not the only account manager here that it’s happening to, so it has to be a wide spread issue.

If you are running Google AdWords, before you create a new Product Listing campaign in Google Merchant Center, check and see if you actually need to. If you have an outside management company like JumpFly, you might want to check with them first too.