I think the company is not only supporting the business, but also attracting advertisers who have not used Google Shopping. There are two types of free placement available: standard and extended. For the latter, the list of required attributes in the feed is much longer. Thus, you can additionally stimulate advertisers to fill their price lists with high quality.
For most advertisers, free ads are not an alternative to paid placement. The coverage in free ad units is not comparable to the coverage of the Google search page.
In general, Google Shopping in Russia does not have such a large audience as other commodity aggregators, for example, Yandex.Market. But it is still worth taking advantage of free placement in Google Shopping: you will definitely save some of the money. Moreover, you do not need to perform complex manipulations to connect if you have a Merchant Center with a loaded product feed. It is enough to go to the program control point and activate the program.
When it comes to tracking conversions from free ads, by default, visits to Google Analytics go to organic, which is natural. You can view statistics on impressions and clicks in the Merchant Center by building a corresponding report. Analytics won’t be able to isolate these conversions from organic, but you can still track them. To do this, add UTM tags to the feed and do not enable auto-tagging overrides in the resource settings. This will display the statistics on a separate line. But you need to understand that if you add a source, channel, campaign, then in other analytics systems that do not use the gclid parameter, all traffic from Shopping campaigns will be with the specified parameters. Therefore, you need to combine the parameters that are in the tracking template with those that will be added to the price list. For example, add only utm_content or utm_term and not use it in the template. Also, the same feed can be used on different sites, which will create additional complications.
We have collected statistics on the number of clicks from free ads in relation to paid ones. Got the results:
pet supplies – 2.4%;
clothing – 2.4%;
household / household appliances – 0.8%;
goods for repair – 3.7%.
For other topics, the indicators are within the same limits. Conversions where tracking from free ads was set up were distributed proportionally. In my opinion, it makes sense to set up tracking only if you get a significant amount of traffic from free referrals. In other cases, tags in your feed will be more inconvenient.