Google has been veering away from paid listings, as was announced in its initiative in April, when the company declared that it would primarily feature free ad listings instead of paid ads. Google wanted to give back to the society in these trying times, and make it easier for manufacturers to post their products on the search engine, which had been dominated by the likes of Amazon and Flipkart. Now, building on that change, Google will bring the free listings directly to the main search page, starting in the U.S.
The search giant explained the new change in a very simplistic manner. It said, “Initially, free listings on Google Search will appear in a product knowledge panel that shows buying options for a particular item, like this tea kettle:”
While today, this panel consists of mainly sponsored listings and paid advertisements, proliferation of free listings will start this summer, in the U.S.
The company had announced the shift to free listings in April, and apparently, it was a major hit. “This change has already produced a significant increase in user engagement, with both clicks and impressions up substantially for merchants, meaning consumers are finding more of the products they’re looking for from a wider range of options. Sellers of all sizes are benefitting from this incremental traffic, particularly small and medium-sized businesses. And we already see that these changes will help generate billions of dollars in sales for retailers and brands in the U.S., on an annual basis,” wrote Bill Ready, President of Commerce at Google.
The company hopes to get more clicks using these changes, and bring diversity to the way it handles and displays product listings. Usually, when you make a search for a product on Google, you are bombarded with ads and listings from large scale retailers, and e commerce vendors like Amazon. This usually curtails the scope of items you see, and hence, most users end up buying the same items over and over again. With free listings competing for their spots, products on Amazon and other retailers will find a competitive market, which will eventually bring diversity to the products we buy.
Moreover, Amazon has been eating away at Google’s business. Most people are making their product searches directly on the platform, which is dampening Google’s ad revenue. Analyst firm eMarketer suggests that with users directly making searches through Amazon, Google’s ad market revenue will slip from 73% in 2019 to 71% by 2021. This move will also be chipping away some of Amazon’s business, which is just what Google needs right now.