The shift from Google Shopping’s free to paid ads coincides with a ‘sharp’ drop in online shopping integrations within Google US searches, according to analytics company Searchmetrics.
The firm said that when the internet giant transformed its ad offering into a paid for service in the US in October 2012, there was also a 79% fall in shopping integrations showing retailers’ products within universal or ‘blended’ search results on Google.com.
Since the switch, if they want to appear in Google Shopping integrations, retailers have had to buy shopping related Product Listing Ads, which incorporate product images, pricing and other information.
The search and social analytics company analysed the search results for millions of keywords and recorded the number of times shopping integrations were displayed. The analysis indicates there were 79% fewer shopping integrations appearing for the keyword data set in December 2012, than in January 2012.
Chief technology officer of Searchmetrics, Marcus Tober, said shopping integrations are part of a number of universal search integrations or ‘blended search’ results, under which Google blends boxes containing additional media within search pages to try and closely match what searchers are looking for.
“When searchers are looking for information for product purchases, the shopping integrations attract greater attention and generates high click-throughs because the product images stand out on the search page,” Tober said.
“But our data indicates there’s been a sharp fall in both the number of shopping integrations and the percentage of shopping, compared with other universal search integrations. The timing of the trend correlates closely with Google Shopping becoming a paid-for service.”
Tober said this means searchers are led to a product listings page provided by Google itself, rather than seeing individual retailers’ own shopping integrations with direct links to the retailers’ web sites.
Another key trend highlighted by the 2012 research was that video integrations decreased by 14%, while the percentage of image integrations (32%) stayed constant.
Despite the fall in video integrations, by the end of 2012 video still appeared in 62% of all universal search integrations.
“Our data indicates that if a business wants to have its video content appearing in video integrations on Google, it would do well to make sure it is on YouTube and of course it needs to ensure its videos are well optimised for the keywords and phrases that are being targeted,” Tober added.
Another finding from the Searchmetrics study was that news integrations increased by 70% during 2012, with Google showing news integrations from a bigger number of news sources (web domains).
Searchmetrics analysed search results for millions of keywords on Google.com during the course of 2012, noting the frequency and type of universal integrations displayed. Universal search in this case being the separate shopping, maps, video, news and image focused insertions that Google displays within its results pages for many searches.