Google will soon be slipping more ads into its search results by changing its “shopping results” section to what amounts to paid listingss.
Currently, results labelled “shopping results” are genuine or “organic” search results. They come from products that companies put into Google’s Shopping engine. They also show up in the centre of a search results page, not on the top or side where ads normally appear.
The changes will happen this fall. All told, the change could cost US retailers $130 million a year. Globally Google could make another $250 million a year, according to ChannelAdvisor CEO Scot Wingo, who wrote about the move on his eBay Strategies blog.
That’s not a ton of revenue compared to the billions Google is already raking in. But it could tick off regulators who are already worried that Google is sneaking too many ads into search results, says Mark Ballard, says senior research analyst for ad agency Rimm-Kaufman Group.
“Is this going to trigger more interest in antitrust hearings against them? A greater backlash from users? Google is almost picking a fight with regulators with this sort of change,” says Ballard.
Part of the issue: Google is calling this Google Shopping. But a tab called Shopping already exists on Google.com, which leads to a product search which includes paid and unpaid results.
RKG’s Ballard said his advertiser customers get about 5% of their traffic from Google’s “shopping results.” As they move to compensate for that lost traffic by paying to list products with Google, it will generate “maybe 2% to 3% more revenue than Google’s paid click total,” he estimates.
Photo: Business Insider