Google Shopping’s Affiliate Advertising Beta Program and Your Online Business

How does Google’s Affiliate Advertising beta program on Google Shopping affect your online business?

Merchants now have even more options when it comes to advertising their products on Google Shopping. A beta program (Affiliate Advertising) now allows affiliates to participate in Google Shopping, meaning they can advertise products from a merchant’s site.

This beta program is limited to US-based retail affiliates and US merchants targeting the US.

Affiliates who participate in this beta program will be allowed to upload products and bids that link users to a merchant’s product page using Merchant Center and AdWords.

But just because affiliates will have new access to this form of advertising does not mean that a merchant will lose control of their Google Merchant Center account. Merchants will be shown which affiliates are interested in advertising their products and decide whether those affiliates are permitted to advertise their products on Google Shopping.

What happens if an affiliate wants to advertise my product?

Once an affiliate decides to advertise a merchant’s product, an Affiliates section will appear in the General Settings tab of their Merchant Center account. This new section will list all the affiliates attempting to advertise products featured on your site. This list will provide the contact information from the affiliates as well, allowing you, the merchant, to contact individual affiliates and request that they no longer target your site. Currently some of the larger affiliates who participate in the program are Shopzilla, NexTag, PriceGrabber and eBay Commerce Network (formally Shopping.com).

Google Merchant Affiliate Program

In addition to contacting individual affiliates, you can also choose to completely opt out of the Affiliate Advertising program by navigating to the General Settings tab, unchecking the box in the Affiliates section of the page, and saving your changes.

By opting out of the Affiliate Advertising beta program, you prevent future affiliates from uploading products from your site, and your choice to opt out will be visible to your affiliates.

You can choose to opt back in, of course, but all changes (opting out and opting in) may take up to 48 hours to be processed.

For affiliates, what will happen is that you’ll need to create a sub-account in AdWords for each merchant you work with. When you choose a specific product, the links must direct to the merchants landing page for the product being advertised.

Merchants who fear that they’ll lose precedence on Google Shopping as a result of this beta program need not worry. Whereas on Google.com the algorithm chooses the “best offer,” (which factors in quality score and bid), on Google Shopping, if the merchant is participating, that merchant’s PLA (Product Listing Ad) always takes precedence.

This beta program opens up a world of potential and issues for both merchants and affiliates. Looking for more clarification or help in how to best use the Affiliates Advertising program to your advantage? Contact us or call us at 888.277.5329.

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