The new Google Shopping channel arrived and so far we’ve seen a mixed reaction. You could be excused for not seeing at first glance that anything had changed, as the results look fairly similar to those that went before. The key difference here is that there is a ‘sponsored’ icon in the top right-hand corner and the adverts now appear prominently at the top of the natural search result but under the Pay Per Click (in most cases….)
As you can see from the search above for a ‘Timberland Benton Jacket’ nothing much seems to have changed, apart from the fact that people are now paying to be there. In this case, there are five different websites that have appeared but if you click through you can find dozens more who simply haven’t made the front page. When we did a search for a ‘Superdry Hooded Polar Jacket’ the results were a little more uneven, with Superdry showing in three of the top five results.
It was a similar story with a search for just ordinary plain ‘A4 paper’, with the top results being crowded by Viking, but this changed if we varied the search to ‘yellow a4 paper’ with a wider range of suppliers being shown.
The key here is that for the higher volume ‘short tail’ keywords it seems that the bigger budgets are wining out and crowding out the smaller retailers, or perhaps it’s just that many smaller retailers just haven’t bothered submitting a feed yet. Either way, the choice seems limited on the high ticket items.
And has it changed the way you shop? Do you like these new search results? Retailers we’ve spoken to see it as something of a backward step as the overall search results don’t appear as well laid out as before.
Time will tell whether the new format resonates with the buying public, but in the meantime, Google is raking in significant additional revenues from a service that previously was free.