Surfaces Across Google – Free Listings are now available in the EU from 20.10.2020. Thanks to Surfaces you can achieve some free exposure from your ads. 

Note, that the Free Listings do not impact your paid performance at all.

We, as a CSS Partner, can’t select any CSS (not even our) to represent you on the Free Listings, which means you need to do all the steps by yourself. Google told us that this will be automatically selected, but as we know, for now, it is not and you need to set it up by yourself.

What if you want to participate in the Free Listings with Shopping in EU?

If your surfaces in the Merchant Center have turned red as the account switch didn’t convert over any CSS selection for Surfaces across Google/Free Listings, hence the you (merchant) needs to create a separate Merchant Center with Google Shopping, claim and verify the account and then select Shopping in EU as a CSS. If you switched to our service after the end of May, your surfaces may appear as unapproved. 

This problem is not singular to Shopping in EU – if you decide to switch the account to any other CSS, you will face the same problem.

The errors you are seeing in your Merchant Center is that you need to select one CSS to start the free listings. You can do that in your CSS Dashboard. We, as a CSS partner, do not have access to your dashboard and we can’t pick ourselves. 

Google Official PDF about CSS Dashboard – Here.

Option 1 – Create new empty Merchant Center account

Google needs to verify that it is truly you who wants us, Shopping in EU, to represent you in the Surfaces Across Google. For that, you need to create a separate Merchant Center with Google Shopping, claim and verify the account and then select Shopping in EU as a CSS. You can claim your domain in your Merchant Center Account -> Settings -> Business information -> Website. If there will be a yellow warning “There exists 1 other Merchant Center account with a website that conflicts with the URL you are trying to claim“, you can ignore it and proceed anyway. This is a bug in Google’s system.

How will Google recognize that the new account for verification belongs to your business?
When you will create a new Merchant Center account, you need to fill all the business information. After that, Google will be notified that there are two accounts, one under our CSS service and the new one. As soon as you verify the claim and web address of your new account, you will be able to see the CSS Dashboard in your account that is switched under our CSS service.

If you are unable to see the CSS dashboard

  1. Use your Google Shopping Merchant Center account. In Europe, each Merchant Center account is associated with a CSS. CSSs can set up a Merchant Center account for any merchant and start advertising on their behalf (merchants can disable individual CSSs through the dashboard). Accounts associated with Google Shopping require that the user claims the merchant website, this means they need to prove that they actually are the merchant or are authorized by the merchant. The CSS dashboard is therefore only available in the Google Shopping Merchant Center account to ensure that settings made there are indeed choices of the merchant (and not any CSS representing them). 
  1. Claim your website. To ensure it is your business that is managing the CSS dashboard, we ask that you verify your business and claim your website. If you already have a Google Shopping Merchant Center account, but you haven’t claimed your website yet, follow these steps to verify and claim the website. 
  1. Set up a Google Shopping Merchant Center account, if you do not currently have one. Once set up, you can then claim your website and use the CSS dashboard to manage your CSS activity. 

Please note: You do not need to upload any feeds, run any Shopping activity with Google Shopping or choose Google Shopping for your free listings to use the CSS dashboard via your Google Shopping Merchant Center account. All you need to do is use this Merchant Center account to claim your website and use the CSS dashboard to manage your CSS activity.

If you receive an email telling you that someone else claimed your website, do not panic. Your Merchant Center is fine and your products will not get disapproved. This service is new and it has some bugs for now.

Option 2 – Create a new Merchant Center account only for Surfaces Across Google

If option 1 is too complicated for you, you can create a new Merchant Center account only for Surfaces Across Google. What are the steps?

  1. In your main account in the Merchant Center, select “Growth” on the left menu, then select “Manage programs”.
  2. Click on the settings under “List your online products for free”.
  3. Click on the “Surfaces across Google status”, then click on the “leave program” button.

Now you won’t see any errors regarding Surfaces Across Google in your Merchant Account. Let’s focus on the next steps.

  1. Create a new Merchant Center Account.
  2. Fill the basic information about your business. 
  3. Upload your Product Data Feed to the “Products -> Feeds” and click on the big blue “+” button.
  4. Pick your Country of sale and Language and select only the “Surfaces across Google” destination.
  5. Finish the setup and benefit from the Surfaces Across Google.

Useful links