A Guide to Google Shopping Free Listings
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 haven’t set up Google Shopping ads yet. In case the paid ads are 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
- Where It Is Available
- How Google Free Listings Can Help You
- How to Connect the Program
- How to View Statistics in Google Analytics
- Additional Information
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 free listings will be displayed as images in the Search. Such images are marked with a special label.
Google Free Listing Ads can show alongside a search result when customers come to Google Search to find information about products, retailers, and brands.
Display in the Shopping Knowledge panel (Available on mobile and desktop in the US, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Colombia, Argentina, India, Chile, Australia and South Africa).
Display in Popular products panel (Available on mobile in the US only).
Display in Google Lens app.
Display on YouTube.
If you also think about utilizing paid social media, check out our article on Google Shopping vs Facebook Ads.
Where It Is Available
At the moment, the program is available for sellers from 94 countries, including USA, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Great Britain, Ireland.
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
This video will help you to get started with Google free listings:
You can analyze the effectiveness of free advertising sales in the Google Merchant Center and Analytics. Check the data in Merchant «Performance» — «Dashboard».
In the new version of this report, you need to select Organic in the filter to display data for Google Free Listing Ads.
How to View Statistics in Google Analytics
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 this method is 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.
In one of the projects on the Shopify platform, we use the Simprosys Google Shopping Feed 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.
Looking to level up your e-commerce advertising game? Dive into our article on paid advertising for e-commerce and gain valuable insights.
Visit our PPC eCommerce library and find more useful guides and our cases.
How do Google Shopping free listings work?
Using Google Shopping free listings, merchants can promote their products on Google without paying for advertising. It provides an additional channel for retailers to reach potential customers and increase sales, without the additional cost of advertising.
To get started with Google Shopping free listings, retailers need to create a product feed using Google Merchant Center. When setting up a feed, you must check the “Free listings” box in the Destinations section. Once the product feed is created, Google uses its algorithms to determine which products to display for a particular search query. Google Shopping free listings appear on the Google Shopping tab, Google Images, and other places on Google.
If you need help with Google Shopping free listings, don’t hesitate to contact our team.
Where do Google Shopping free listings appear?
Places where your free listings can appear include:
- Shopping tab,
- Google Search,
- Google Images,
- Google Lens.
How can I optimize my Google Shopping free listings?
To optimize your Google Shopping free listings, there are several things you can do. First, make sure your product feed is up-to-date and includes all the relevant product information.
Next, consider optimizing your product titles and descriptions with relevant keywords. Use clear, descriptive language that accurately reflects the product and its features.
In addition, use high-quality images that accurately represent your products. Make sure your images are clear and in focus, and show your products from multiple angles. You may also want to include additional images.
Finally, monitor your performance regularly and make adjustments as needed. Use Google Merchant Center and Google Analytics to track your sales and conversion rates, and adjust your product feed and listings based on the data.
Are there any restrictions for participating in Google Shopping free listings?
Yes, there are certain restrictions for participating in Google Shopping free listings. To be eligible to participate, you must meet Google’s merchant guidelines and have a Google Merchant Center account. Additionally, your business and products must comply with Google’s policies.
Can I still run paid ads for my products on Google Shopping?
Yes, you can still run paid ads for your products on Google Shopping. In fact, many businesses use a combination of paid and free listings to maximize their visibility on Google.
Performance Marketing Specialist. Working with PPC since 2016. Specializes in Google & Microsoft paid traffic for eCommerce & B2B projects. In love with analysis. When not launching effective Ad campaigns, she is reading up on the latest in eCommerce and data tracking last trends.