Since April Google has changed how the shopping tab works, by including free shopping listings in the main page and only having paid ads at the top. As of writing, this is the case for the US. Now Google has announced that it will do the same for Google Search. Before when you search on Google’s main page, ie: Google Search, you would see paid shopping ads ie the absolute top ads. This carousel will now change to free shopping listings.
If you already have a product data feed in Google Merchant Center, then nothing needs to be done. However, you may not be eligible due to the low trust factor. As of writing, this is only available in the US. And will soon be launched in other countries.
With shopping ads, ranking is defined by the quality of the feed and your bid value. Now the bid value will no longer play a role so other areas will have a much bigger impact on where your ads will be placed or not placed at all. As the absolute top position has a limited slot of up to 36 ads.
This means the quality of your feed is even more important. FeedArmy’s data feed management tool was designed with this in mind, allowing you to improve your data feed quality using import rules, manually edit every single attribute, bulk edit, using diagnostics tool to improve the feed and more…
Alongside a high quality feed, you also need to have a high quality trust factor. Which I have already covered in great details.
Good question, if we follow the current logic of how the new shopping listings work, I would expect them to disappear as CSS partners could only advertise on Google Search and not on Google Shopping tab. There are two things that can happen. Either CSS partners can advertise on the shopping tab too, or they are no longer eligible.
Me personally, I would like CSS partners to disappear. I see no benefit other then diluting your performance. For all my clients I use Google CSS as the partner in Europe.