May 07

Free Product Listings on Google Shopping

Google recently announced that they now offer an option for Free Product Listings on Google Shopping. This change went into effect in the US at the end of April with an expected Global rollout by the end of the year.

What does this mean? Some of the digital real estate on the Google Shopping tab is now free through the “Surfaces across Google” program in the Merchant Center.

What does it NOT mean? That Google Shopping is going free in general. All top search results and primary SERP results are still paid spots.

How to Participate

Most clients will find that they have been automatically enrolled in Surfaces across Google, which is the technical name of the program which delivers free shopping clicks. To make SURE you are enrolled:

  • Check that you’ve enable the Surfaces across Google program in your Google Merchant Center (GMC) account [select “Growth” and then “Manage programs” in the left navigation menu and select the “Surfaces across Google” program card].

  • Check that your primary data feed has a Targeted Destination that includes “Surfaces across Google” [click “Products” and then “Feeds” and select your main feed, then select “Settings” and add “Surfaces across Google” if not already selected].


In the past, some merchants may have removed products from their Google feed that were weak performers, however, because some clicks are now free you may wish to re-introduce ALL products into your feed. Low performance items can still be excluded from paid traffic by setting included_destination exclusively to “Surfaces across Google” in your feed. Talk to your feed provider to set this up, it’s relatively simple.


If it’s important for your company to track free vs paid Google Shopping clicks, you can utilize the “Performance” section in Google Merchant Center to see how many free clicks you are receiving. If you wish to track at a more detailed level in your analytics software, modify the URL attributes in your data feed as follows:

  • “link” attribute :: add parameters to track free clicks here (e.g., utm_source=google_free)

  • “ads_redirect” attribute :: add parameters to track paid clicks here (e.g., utm_source=google_cpc)

  • “canonical_link” attribute :: add no parameters here (e.g., the raw URL with no tracking)

  • Takeaway

    VersaFeed highly encourages this move by Google and we think it will bring more shoppers and more retailers into the Google Shopping universe. That said, merchants should temper their expectations: best guesses are that free clicks will only account for small percentage of your overall Google Shopping traffic. Merchants’ overall strategy and spend on Google Shopping will not be changing in any dramatic fashion.

    More Resources

PPC On a Budget Google Best Practices Product Listing Ads Google Shopping 

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