Google Free Listings
What is it and why
Google Free Listings is a feature by Google that allows you to display Shopping ads on Google Shopping for free.
The program is free, which is the biggest advantage. As a merchant, you pay nothing for participation and traffic.
Google Free Listings is available to all merchants, even if you don’t have shopping ads on Google Shopping yet. In case the paid ads been set, the program complements ad campaigns perfectly.
In our practice, the maximum volume of sales from free listings reached 5%.
What Google Free Listing Ads Look Like And Where They Are Shown
Free ads will appear in the Shopping section immediately after paid ads.
Also, products from a free listings will be displayed as images in the Search. Such images are marked with a special label.
Also, you can get extended snippets on the Search with Free Listings program.
Display in the Shopping Knowledge panel (for US only)
Display in Popular products panel (for US only)
Display in Google Lens app (for US only)
Where is it available
At the moment, the program is available for sellers from 94 countries, including USA, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Great Britain, Ireland, Russia.
How Google Free Listings Can Help You
If you have already created and configured your feed for paid Google Shopping Ads, you can easily connect these products to the Google Free Listings program. It won’t take long to activate the program.
You will receive regular traffic and product sales through the Google Free Listings program. At the same time, this is absolutely free traffic. Thus, you will be able to increase your overall ROAS simply by connecting this program: you don’t have expenses, but your profit will increase due to the product sales within this feature.
How to connect the program
If you already have a Google Merchant Center account and configured a feed for your Google Ads Shopping campaign:
In your Google Merchant Center account, go to Growth section – Manage programs. Find and enable the Free Product Listings program.
If you don’t have a Google Merchant Center account yet and don’t have a product feed:
In this case, you will need to create a Google Merchant Center account first. Then you will need to prepare and import your product feed into your account.
There are several ways to transfer product feed to your account: it can be a data table if you have just a few products. If the site is on the Shopify platform, then you can use one of the available apps to create and transfer data feed from your store to your Google Merchant Center account.
In this article, we will not describe all the steps of this stage in detail. Instead, we have prepared a list of instructions for you, which can be useful when setting up:
- About creating an account: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/188924
- How to enable Google Free Listings: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/9455788
- How to create feed: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/7439058
If you do not have a feed yet, and you are creating one for the Google Free Listings program, here is a list of the required attributes that must be in the feed for this feature:
- Image link
- GTIN or MPN
You can analyze the effectiveness of free advertising sales in the Google Merchant Center and Analytics. Check the data in Merchant «Performance» — «Dashboard».
How to view statistics in Google Analytics
To be able to track conversions for the Google Free Listings program in Google Analytics, you need to track the traffic from the free listings in a certain way. There are several options to implement traffic markup.
Displaying traffic by source in Google Analytics
The task is to set the values of the utm_source and utm_medium parameters to the traffic from the free listings. After that, you can view statistics on clicks and conversions from this traffic source in the report Google Analytics => Acquisition => All Traffic => Source/Medium.
To set up such markup, you need to check which symbol your URL works with: ? or &.
To do this, check the feed in the Merchant Center whether the tracked parameters are already used in product URLs (parameters and their values after the question mark in the URL).
To do this, go to Products => All products. Select any product and click on it.
In the window that opens, go down to Raw Feed attributes. Click on “link” and check, if there is a symbol ? in the line.
Keep in mind this information, we will get back to it a little later.
Next, go to the Feeds section and go to the feed settings by clicking on its name.
On the feed rules tab, click on the “+” and select the link type.
Choose Set to
In the Type or Select field, insert the following value: &utm_source=google&utm_medium=surfaces&utm_campaign=feed_clicks&utm_content=surfaces_across_google
Note that the line starts with &. If your product links already use parameters after ?, Then leave the & symbol as it is.
If your product links don’t use ? symbol, then use this value to insert:
Click Ok and save the draft
Next, test the draft, make sure the links are correct and apply the change.
Who is this method suitable for:
- For users who have connected only free listings and want to track traffic from it.
- For users who do not use manual tracking, but only use automatic tracking in Google Analytics.
If you are using manual tracking, then there is an alternative way for you.
Alternative tracking method
An alternative method also involves marking up product links with additional parameters through feed conversion rules.
But instead of parameters utm_source, utm_medium and others, as in the first option, you set a custom parameter. For example, our colleagues at TreeHausMarketing use value feed=gm.
With this markup, all traffic from links from the feed will contain this parameter. Traffic for paid shopping ads that
you configured in Google Ads will contain this parameter, as well as the parameters utm_source, utm_medium, utm_campaign, and others.
In this case, in order to track traffic only from Google Free Listings in Google Analytics reports, you need to filter it by the following conditions: URL contains feed=gm and the Campaign parameter contains (not set).
This data can be viewed in the report on landing pages in Google Analytics: Behaviour => Site Content => Landing Pages. Add an additional parameter to the report Secondary Dimension => Campaign.
To see traffic only from Google Free Listings, set up a filter.
On one of the projects on the Shopify platform, we use the Feed For Google Shopping app to transfer the data feed from the online store to the Merchant Center. This application has a link markup option at the integration level within the application. This option allows you to tag all links in the feed with UTM tags. In this case, universal values are used:
Alternatively, you can leave this option enabled. In this case, for traffic from paid Shopping ads that have their own value for the utm_campaign parameter, this value will be overwritten. And for all other traffic, including Google Free Listings, the parameter value will be saved:
However, we still recommend that you turn off link markup at the settings level in your application and use the markup techniques described above. In this case, there will be no confusion with traffic sources. Google / cpc tags will only mark Google paid traffic, not all clicks on product links from the feed.