Google Shopping has a free listing called Surfaces across Google, which includes Google Images, the Google Shopping tab, Google Lens and a few other areas. The best part is it’s bringing revenue for our clients.

I’m still unsure what the long term impact of Surfaces across Google means for ecommerce and DTC brands. Google never just gives away anything for free and as I’ve said on Twitter, I feel this is a data play. Google Shopping originally started out for free.

Having said that, clients are seeing sales come in and the average order value (AOV), conversion rate and number of sales 30 days in is surprising. Maybe next year Google will turn this into a paid listing of some sort but for right now here are what some clients are seeing for results. Both are USA based and only sell in the USA.

Top result is organic without Surfaces across Google. The second line is just Surfaces across Google. Date range is May 8th – June 7th, which is 31 days or one month since launching in May. We launched all our USA clients on the same date.

Client A

Organic ChannelsAverage Order Value
Organic Search$83.61
Surfaces across Google$99.19

Client B

Organic ChannelsAverage Order Value
Organic Search$228.89
Surfaces across Google108.02

What really stands out is the difference in average order value and conversion rate for each brand. Even with 31 days of data, would be interesting to see how this tracks over time.

Countries That Can Use Surfaces Across Google

The list of available countries is 79 right now BUT the USA is the first one to have data show up in Google Merchant Center and let us track results. None of our Canadian, United Kingdom and European clients can see any data in their Google Merchant Center (GMC) accounts. Hopefully by the end of Q3, more countries will be able to track results in their GMC account.

Best practices for showing products on Surfaces Across Google

Upload your shopping feed into Google Merchant Center and opt into the program (see end of article for how). Plus I strongly encourage you to add all these other attributes below. Plus make sure you read the data and eligibility requirements to show your products on surfaces across Google. Make sure those SKU meet those points.

Even when Google told us last summer that we didn’t need some of these attributes. We have been getting every client to fill them out for their shopping feed. More quality data is always better in your shopping feed.

1. Make sure the shopping feed has GTIN

2. Submit High-quality Images

image_link: Submit URLs to high-resolution product images to improve your chances of capturing shopper attention. We recommend removing any UTM sizing parameters and submitting images that are at least 650×850 pixels.

additional_image_link: Provide up to 10 additional images per product to help shoppers see different views of your product.

3. Define Demographics Attributes

age_group: Use this attribute to indicate which demographic your product is designed for. This attribute is used in combination with gender to help ensure users see the correct size information (“womens” for “adult,” “female” and “girls” for “kids,” “female”).

gender: Use this attribute to specify which gender your product is designed for, or submit “unisex” if no gender is specified. We use gender in combination with your size and age_group attributes to standardize sizing and departments that are shown to users (a t-shirt with “male” and “kids” indicated for the gender and age_group could show for “boys t-shirt”).

4. Submit optional attributes

size_type,size_system: Use these attributes to help further specify the standardized size of your product.

material: Indicate the primary materials used in the main part of your product, as shoppers often search for products by material (“leather jackets”).

condition: Use this attribute to help shoppers understand whether your product is used or new.

multipack: Use this attribute to indicate if your product is multiple, identical items grouped as one product (“10 pairs white cotton socks”).

Google has a great list of other best practices you should follow. Anyone in apparel and accessories should work on the tips above to help products surface in free results like the shopping tab.

Google also has a page dedicated to all the best practices for advertising apparel and accessories. Your product title is important but your product images are even more important because the shopping tab is heavy on product images.

Setting Up and Tracking Surfaces Across Google

There are two ways you can set up and track your organic shopping results for Surfaces Across Google. Both involved you adding a tracking parameter in your Shopping Feed for the Link Attribute. Just make sure you opted into Surfaces Across Google in your Google Merchant Center account under Growth > Managed Programs > Surfaces Across Google

Option 1: Google Merchant Center

  1. Sign in to your Google Merchant Center
  2. Click Products > Feeds and click into your primary shopping feed
  3. Click on FEED RULES
  4. Click on blue button to add a new feed rule
  5. Search for “Link”. Don’t use any of the other links that come up
  6. Click on “Set To” and then in the search box find Link attribute again
  7. You will see a box to the right of what your current shopping feed URL looks like
  8. Scroll down ro Modifications section and click on ADD MODIFICATIONS
  9. Click on Append since we want to add tracking after the end of your URL
  10. Add the following tracking parameter to the end of your URL

    &utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=shopping&utm_content=surfaces_across_google
  11. If you don’t already have tracking parameters on your URL, then make sure to take off the first ampersand “&”
  12. Click save and make sure the rule saves.
  13. Also make sure in Google Analytics. That the Property Settings does NOT have the boxed checked that says the following “Allow manual tagging (UTM values) to override auto-tagging (GCLID values) for Google Ads and Search Ads 360 integration”
  14. That is it. Once your shopping feed is updated, your result should show up if you opted into Surfaces Across Google.

    Your final URL might look something like this:
  15. https://www.YourSite.com/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=shopping&utm_content=surfaces_across_google

Option 2: Feed Management Platform like Feedonomics

If you use a feed management system like Feedonomics, either fill out a support ticket or just use your rules in Feedonomics to add in the tracking parameter yourself. 

Pro Tip: Google Analytics
Don’t forget to go into Google Analytics after 24 hours and make sure it’s tracking correctly. If you used the same tracking parameter as me. You will see traffic under Ad Content as a second dimension under source / medium of Google / Organic.

Based on the first month of data. Really happy to see sales coming in for clients, even if the sale volume is not huge. That is it for this week. See you next time.

P.S. We just launched our Shopping Ads Academy where we talked about the latest in shopping ads and cover how we work as an agency.