Retailers across Europe, the Middle East and Africa will be able to post ads for free on Google’s Shopping tab starting in mid-October.
In an announcement posted to its website on Wednesday (Sept. 30), the tech and search engine giant said it is expanding its free ad initiative to other regions around the world after a successful debut in the United States earlier this year.
In the post, titled “Powering economic recovery through retail,” Google is pitching the offer as a way to help small retailers follow their customers online as the coronavirus pandemic reshapes the global shopping landscape.
The offer also extends to retailers who are already paying to place ads on Google’s Shopping tab, wrote Matt Brittin, president of Google’s operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
“Available globally in mid-October, search results on the Shopping tab will consist primarily of free listings, helping retailers to connect with more customers, regardless of whether they advertise on Google,” Brittin wrote. “Shoppers will be able to find more products from more stores, just in time for peak shopping season across the region.”
After launching its free ad offer in the U.S. earlier this year, participating retailers on average doubled their views, seeing 50 percent more page visits, Brittin wrote, adding that small and mid-sized businesses saw the biggest gains.
Google is working to streamline the onboarding process for retailers that haven’t previously advertised with the search giant, Brittin noted. Retailers that are already paying for Merchant Center and Shopping ads don’t have to formally sign up or register, with listings showing up at no cost.
In Europe, retailers that are new to advertising through Google “can also choose any Comparison Shopping Service (CSS) to work with free listings,” Brittin wrote.
Overall, searches that contain the phrase “available near me” have doubled during the pandemic. In addition, in the first half of the year, searches for local services like maintenance and home improvement jumped 25 percent in a number of European countries, Brittin wrote.