Organic Google Shopping: how to run ads and set up traffic segmentation reports


7 minutes


Free listings on Google Shopping appeared in April 2020. On the one hand, this is a response to the pandemic and the ensuing crisis, and on the other hand, the continuation of the plan to make Google free for sellers.

On the third, of course, this is same old product search in a new way. Google Product Search became fully paid in just 2012. Before that, online stores, as now, could display product listings on Google without payment. What’s the difference between free Google then and now? And why was this 8-year period of only paid Google Shopping?

First, the quality of the search results page. Previously, Google could not ensure the relevance and quality of information about the products that were shown in the search results. The listing could be shown, but the product was not in stock; it could lead to a completely different page of the store – in general, a mess. Now, with the help of the Google Merchant Center and a clear product specification, Google ensures the completeness and quality of product information. This means that the quality of search results page is maintained at a better level.

Secondly, Amazon. Amazon has a large share of the e-commerce search market. And of course, when Google opens up free Google Shopping to sellers, they can compete on equal terms again.

Organic Shopping is available in the US from April 2020 and “will be distributed globally by the end of [2020].” In Ukraine, at the Penguin-team PPC agency, we noticed the first organic clicks in October 2020.

The first October report of a customer online store from Ukraine, in which free clicks appeared:

Отчет по бесплатной рекламе Google

How to get started with free Google Shopping

To show up in free Google search results, you need to:

  • create a Google Merchant Center account;
  • connect to the Google Platforms program (Surfaces across Google);
  • Create a product feed that Google can get listing data from.

A Google Ads account is optional.

If in the spring of 2020 you already had a Merchant Center account and Shopping advertising, it is likely that your products are already shown in organic results. To check this, go to Performance Report → Overview.

If you did not have the Google Platforms program turned on, go to Account Development → Manage Programs → Google Platforms.

If you don’t have a Merchant Center in general, then here’s what you need to start showing on Google Shopping for free:

  1. Create a Google Merchant Center account.
  2. Go to Manage Programs → enable Google Platforms program.
  3. Create your product feed manually or via the main CMS.
Настройка бесплатной рекламы в Google

There used to be a clear division: here is PPC for paid sales, but there is SEO for organic. Now the boundaries are blurred: if you work in PPC, you can offer your clients incl. improving organic results with Google advertising. You do everything as for paid advertising, products are pulled from the Google Merchant Center, and organic Google Shopping listings work.

To optimize such organic search results, the same techniques work as for optimizing Shopping advertising in general: improving titles, writing more relevant descriptions, adding promotions and ratings, and other methods. All of this will affect the organic product listings.

FREE audit of Google Shopping campaign – leave your request to get step-by-step report and plan for optimization FOR FREE!

Product promotion report across Google surfaces

In Google Merchant Center, the click-through report can be seen in the Performance → Overview section.

Отчет о продвижении товаров на разных платформах Google

In Google Analytics, organic Google Shopping counts towards google / organic results statistics. But there are several ways to separate this traffic from regular and cpc results. This is how we set up the method to bypass the tracking limitation.

Tracking traffic from free Google Shopping listings in Analytics

UTM tags are commonly used to enable Google Analytics to associate data with different sources. In our case, we will add a non-existent tracking parameter to the URL of the products in the Google Merchant Center feed. But it won’t be the utm_ parameter – if you add utm_, Google can overwrite the data using auto-tagging. On the recommendation of TreeHausMarketing, we used the label:


Remarkable. In the process of work, we at Penguin-team PPC Agency encountered an interesting problem, when for some websites this technique worked, but for others it did not. After a little analysis, it became clear that the ?feed=gm parameter does not work on websites with CMS WordPress. But for them the #feed=gm parameter works fine. So if you are working with WordPress, organic Google Shopping is best labeled with c #.

It should be placed at the end of the URL of the products in the Google Product Feed. How to do it:

  • add a parameter manually in the feed;
  • use the rules in the Merchant Center.

If you have a lot of products, of course, it would be unwise to put the parameter for Google manually in each URL. Here’s how to add an automatic rule that will add a parameter to the desired attribute:

  1. Go to Google Merchant Center, Products tab → Feeds → select a feed → Feed rules.
Правила преобразования в Merchant Center

2. Click on + → select Attributes → Link.

Правила преобразования в Merchant Center

3. Leave the fields with conditions empty, because we only need to change the URL and not change anything in the feeds.

4. Next, select the main feed → Link.

Правила преобразования в Merchant Center

5. Paste your label: ?feed=gm.

Правила преобразования в Merchant Center

Technically, this is already enough to split the traffic of paid and free listings using the feed=gm parameter and with an undefined campaign name (not set).

Now you can measure the performance of organic search results for Shopping listings and, if you want to improve results, optimize your Merchant Center feed for better ranking.

For example, for one of our Ukrainian clients, organic shopping (especially after optimization) turned out to be especially profitable. According to the report, clicks with the ?Feed=gm parameter helped to earn UAH 225,000 from organic shopping – in 2 weeks.

Отчет из Аналитики

Shopping and smart campaigns on Display Network also use feed data. Therefore, for traffic tracking, you can also use an additional parameter: TreeHausMarketing use src=gads, you can write any parameter you like.

An important nuance: we recommend developing a unified abbreviation system that will be used for all services and projects. Analytics are sensitive to changes in tags and will not understand that gAds and g-ads are one and the same. A neat abbreviation system will give you accurate and reliable data.

TreeHausMarketing also offers a Google Analytics report template that lets you filter your data and see its real impact on your business. The report can be added to your Google Analytics profile; if you used your parameters, correct the preset labels in the report as needed.

Here’s what the custom report settings look like in Analytics:

Настройки кастомного отчета в Аналитике для бесплатной рекламы

You can take a look at it here:

Настройки кастомного отчета в Аналитике для бесплатной рекламы

How did organic Google Shopping work for you? And how do you think this will affect PPC in the future? Share your opinion in the comments!

FREE audit of Google Shopping campaign – leave your request to get step-by-step report and plan for optimization FOR FREE!

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1.Кликов 259, показов 3 515. Чему равен CTR?
2.Заходов на сайт 874, конверсий 16. Чему равен коэффициент конверсии?
3.Что такое СРА?
4.CTR 4,03%, кликов 240. Чему равно число показов объявления?
5.Затрат 20 158, конверсий 63. Чему равна стоимость конверсии?

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