Google Inc. is retiring its Google Shopping ad integrations for merchants using e-commerce platforms Big Commerce Pty Ltd., Magento and PrestaShop, Google has confirmed.
Late last month, Google sent an email to merchants using the three platforms saying their e-commerce platform API integrations with Google Shopping ads would no longer be available beginning March 20. The integrations connected merchants’ product catalogs with Google Merchant Center to create Google Shopping ads. The image-focused Google Shopping ads are designed for shoppers seeking products.
“We’re retiring these inputs in order to better focus on solutions that will make the Shopping ads onboarding a more seamless experience,” Google wrote in its email. “We’re continuing to work with e-commerce platforms to explore more frictionless integration opportunities.” A Google spokeswoman had no further comment beyond the email it sent to merchants.
Ending this integration could be a major headache for a lot of retailers, says Todd Bowman, director of search engine marketing and feeds at performance marketing agency Merkle Group Inc. “With the integration, retailers have been given a simple process to load their products with the same information that is displayed on their website.” Now, he says, many retailers will have to find a way to export their raw product data into a feed and then manipulate the feed to adhere to Google’s feed specifications.
Bowman thinks Google made the change to improve the product data that is being sent to the Google Merchant Center. Through integrations with e-commerce platforms, retailers sent the same product data that is on their website, which is usually not optimized for Google Shopping. He says a retailer that sells pants in multiple sizes and colors may have a title on a product page that only shows the name of the pants, for example, Weekday Warrior Dress Pants. An optimized title for Google should include all relevant information about the product, so “Bonobos Weekday Warrior Dress Pants for Men – Friday Grey – 31×34” would be a title that Google prefers and may not be getting from the automated imports, he says.
DiscountElectronics.com, which uses BigCommerce, received an email alerting it to the pending change on Jan. 23, says Rick Culleton, CEO for the merchant, No. 944 in the Internet Retailer Top 1000.
In the email Culleton received, Google directed his company to the free and paid apps available in the BigCommerce app marketplace to integrate with the Google Merchant Center for submitting products for Google Shopping ads.
“We received notice from Google almost two weeks ago,” Culleton says. “We replaced it with a third-party app and are up and advertising again.”
The app from the BigCommerce app marketplace is called Google Shopping by Sales & Orders.
In the first week of using the new app, DiscountElectronics has generated 212 sales from Google Shopping ads. On average, the ads are costing Discount Electronics 19.8% of the sales they generate–about the same as before. Culleton says his goal is 20% or less. He says the service provider has not charged him yet for the service.
BigCommerce ranks No. 5 among e-commerce platforms used by Top 1000 retailers with 25 merchant clients in the Top 1000. Magento is No. 1 with 186.
Google Shopping ads have grown significantly over the past few years. Marketers spent 36% more on Google Shopping ads during the third quarter than they did in the same period a year earlier, according to Merkle. And Google Shopping ads accounted for 48% of retailers’ Google paid search clicks in the quarter, a 2% increase from the second quarter.