Since my blog post about PLAs in the UK, I’ve had several questions about when Google Shopping is going to switch to a paid platform. So, here are the dates that Google has provided us with so far, we will update this as and when we have more information.

Sometime in January 2013

A new set of Google Shopping program policies will be announced – watch this space for details.

February 13 2013

The transition begins. Google explains the first “major change”:

“Visually cleaner results for shopping queries, including some new commercial formats on Google.com that will display products in a single unit, will replace current search results. These new commercial formats will be labeled as “Sponsored” and appear in the space currently occupied by AdWords ads.

These visually cleaner results for shopping queries will enable shoppers to refine a search by brand or price, and feature larger product images to provide a better sense of a product’s attributes.”

The new look search results are currently being tested, so you may be seeing them already, here at Boom we are.

Google Shopping Goes Global

February 15 2013

Product listing ad spend from this date may be eligible for a discount.

To soften the blow of making companies pay for previously free traffic, Google is offering a promotional credit for your product listing ad spend. As you might expect, there are limitations. Most notably, the credit is specifically for advertisers who had active Merchant Centre accounts by 1 December 2012 (who arguably will be most affected by the switch).

The credit applies to Product Listing Ad spend from 15 February – 30 June 2013.

Apply for the credit

Further information – including troubleshooting information to help ensure that you receive the credit you are entitled to.

March 2013

Google Merchant Centre feed specifications will be updated.

No specific date has been given, so if your feed needs to be updated, changes should be in place by the end of February to avoid suspension of your products. This is particularly relevant to advertisers using reduced feed specifications purely to display product listing ads, from March they will have to comply with the full feed specifications.

Summary of attribute requirements – March 2013

Making the migration to Google Product Listing Ads – advice on optimising Merchant Centre feeds for product listing ads.

Google Shopping: Building a better experience Google’s best practice guide includes advice on how to optimise your data. Read this before changing your feed.

March 6 2013

We’ve heard it on the grapevine that organic Google Shopping results will disappear from Universal Search results today. If you see a sudden drop in traffic today, this may be why.

April 12 2013

Deadline to sign up for £75 promotional credit.

April 17 2013

As of today, all apparel products will be required to use the attributes for clothing:

  • gender
  • age group
  • color
  • size

And variant apparel products, will also need the following attributes:

  • material (if applicable)
  • pattern (if applicable)
  • item group id

You can read more about how to submit product variants in this Merchant Centre support article.

By June 30 2013

Transition complete – no fixed date has been released.

The one thing to stress is not to leave it to late to get PLAs set up. By getting these in place by mid-February you may be eligible for a discount, and you can use this extra time to figure out how to get the most out of your ad spend.