Digital Gabe
Cutting Edge Commentary On All Things Media

Is Google Swiping eComm From Content Pubs?

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For many smaller digital publishers who sell products on their sites, traffic coming from Google is life blood.  For a decade the name of the game has been bidding up key words and putting relevant organic content online, so your website comes up in the top page of a Google search.  In this model Google gets paid for clicks, 3rd party publishers get site traffic, and consumers find the content they’re looking for.  Seems like a win-win-win, right?

But now it appears Google is starting to encroach on publishers who are trying to sell products by inserting their own shopping carousel just below the top search results.  A few months ago Google tested a feature that ingests publisher recommendations into a product carousel.  The listings consist of product images and content headlines provided by the publisher.  Here’s an example:

On the surface this might seem like a handy way to consolidate purchase options based on the publishers’ content, but (surprise!) there’s a catch.  When a user clicks on the carousel links they’re sent to a separate Google search page, where the publisher’s content is nowhere to be found.  Instead users see another Google ad which tries to route them through a Google eComm purchase.

Google claims this is just a test for now, but 3rd party pubs are are worried this will significantly reduce sales of products through their own sites.  I can’t say I blame them for being nervous.

 

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