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Google expands free retail listings to search

Google is responding to a continued surge in e-commerce demand with planned free listings on its main search results page in the U.S.

In April, Google started making search results on the Google Shopping tab consist primarily of free product listings. For retailers who participate in the Google Shopping online marketplace, this change has generated free exposure to Google users.

According to Google, this has already produced a significant increase in user engagement, with both clicks and impressions up substantially for retailers. The company says these changes will help generate billions of dollars in sales for retailers and brands in the U.S. on an annual basis.

Starting in summer 2020, Google will begin offering free listings in Google search results. Initially, free listings on Google search will appear in a product knowledge panel that shows buying options for a particular item. Currently, the buying options in this panel are all sponsored links. Google will first roll this feature out in the U.S. on mobile, followed later by desktop. 

Google Shopping ads will continue to appear separately at the top of the page, clearly marked like Google’s other ad units. Retailers can choose how to show up and shoppers can choose where to click.

“Free listings on Google Search are a big step forward in democratizing access to digital commerce, benefitting shoppers and merchants with more choices across the board,” said Bill Ready, president of commerce, Google, in a corporate blog post. “We’ll have even more updates soon, so stay tuned.”


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