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How to Measure the Performance of Google’s Free Shopping Ads in GA?

A marketing strategy is generally useless unless it can be accurately quantified and reported on. These measurements not only determine the effectiveness of the digital strategy, but whether optimisations should be made for it to perform better in the future. When it comes to free Google Shopping ads this data can be derived from either Google Merchant Center or for greater insight, from Google Analytics (GA). However, when it comes to Google Analytics, it’s important to know how to pull relevant information and be able to understand what this information means in relation to the free Shopping ads.

Understanding Google Analytics

The first step to ensure measurements for GA are collected is to make sure that a business’s Google Merchant Center account is connected to Google Analytics. The easiest way to do this is by linking Google Ads (which should already be linked to Google Analytics) to the Google Merchant Center.

Once this is connected you can then begin breaking down numbers in Google Analytics. There are a number of different reports and sections that can be reviewed at in Analytics, in this case we will focus on three sections in particular: Acquisition, Engagement and Monetization which are all found under Lifecycle.


As the name suggests, this looks at how customers are acquired and provides a breakdown on what sources and mediums they came via to arrive at the website. For free Google Shopping posts, the traffic acquisition report in this section is particularly important; it highlights data for users who specifically clicked on free Google Shopping ads, to come through to the website. This information can be determined by checking the source/medium which for free Google Shopping ads would have the classification of “Google” for source and the medium will be “organic” and then look for Google Surfaces. This report then provides further breakdowns on users, sessions, engaged sessions and average time per session.

This report determines how much traffic the free Google shopping ads are generating, especially compared to other sources and mediums. Some metrics such as average time per session, also provide insight into how engaged users were with the website.


This section focuses on interactions of customers with your website through events and conversions. Events involve interactions with a web page such as clicking on an about us video, and are now always directly related to a sale. Conversions on the other hand are interactions which a business links closely to a sale, i.e., a contact form submission. Topline metrics that can be reviewed include number of users, events and conversions. This can also be broken down by page with the specific page titles and the number of views and users attached to each. All of the data can be filtered by source/medium which then allows for greater focus on users who came through the free Google Shopping ad channel.

Analysing conversions and events generated via Google Free Shopping placements allows you to see their true value. It also allows you to see which product pages are the most popular, for example. This in turn can highlight which free Google shopping posts may need to be updated, if under-performing.


A very important area for any online retailer, this section looks at e-commerce purchases. Similarly to the engagement section you can modify the data to focus on free Google Shopping ads. Key reports here are overview and e-commerce purchases. The overview provides number of purchases, overall value of purchases and which products have been purchased (by list). E-commerce purchases on the other hand dives deeper into specific product performance. This can be of particular interest for the free Google Shopping ads, as it highlights which products are receiving the most attention.

When it comes to determining overall performance of free Shopping placements, Google Analytics is the perfect tool as it offers a wealth of information and is integral to determining current performance levels. To find out more about how to leverage GA to measure your free Shopping ads, talk to the team at Redline Digital today.

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