Google Shopping Visibility Plunges In “Universal Search” Results; Video Stays Dominant

Findings from a new study show the visibility of Google Shopping in Google’s “Universal Search” results dropped significantly after the search engine implemented a new paid inclusion model. Video content also dropped but still remained by far the most dominant source mixed with web page listings.

Searchmetrics, a provider of search and social analysis software, conducted the study by analyzing millions of listings to evaluate Universal Search results for videos, images, maps, shopping and news.

Google implemented Universal Search in 2007 to offer an improved search experience for users, blending together listings from video search, image search, maps, product results and news.

Google Shopping Drops

The chart below shows how often each category of listings appeared on a month-by-month basis, in 2012:

universal search

Google Shopping saw the greatest change in visibility. Shopping results appeared 20% of the time in January 2012 but dropped to 5%, by the end of the year.

The severe drop in coincides with the transition of Google Product Search, a previously free service, into Google Shopping, with its pay-to-be-included model. That transition started in the summer of 2012, and visibility of shopping search results began dropping from that time onward.

Video Also Dips But Remains Most Visible

Video content also saw a drop, moving from a high point of appearing around 80% of the time to a low of 62%, by the end of the year. Despite this, video results still lead in visibility above images, shopping, map and news results.

YouTube Leads In Video Results

YouTube, a Google property, holds the spot for most videos integrated into Universal Search results, accounting for eight out of ten video integrations. YouTube competitors like Vimeo and Dailymotion do appear in universal search results, but not nearly as often as YouTube videos:

youtube in universal search

“Our data indicates that if a business wants to have its video content appearing in video integrations on Google, it would do well to make sure it is on YouTube and, of course, it needs to ensure its videos are well optimized for the keywords and phrases that are being targeted,” said Marcus Tober, Searchmetric’s CTO.

In addition to the study, Searchmetrics created an infographic summarizing its report, which you’ll find on our sister-site Marketing Land: Infographic: Video Content, Especially On YouTube, Wins In Google Universal Search.

Related Topics: Channel: Video | Google: Google Shopping | Google: Images | Google: Maps & Local | Google: News | Google: Universal Search | Google: YouTube & Video | Top News


About The Author: is Third Door Media's General Assignment Correspondent, and reports on the latest news and updates for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including,, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy's articles.

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  • Andrew Davis

    This study appears to be highly misleading. Traffic for retailers from Google Shopping has undoubtedly gone up since the switch of Google Shopping to a paid model.

    It seems that they only considered Google’s free shopping results as “shopping”, when we know better.

  • robthespy

    Not misleading at all.

    Read it again-

    “The severe drop in coincides with the transition of Google Product Search, a previously free service, into Google Shopping, with its pay-to-be-included model. That transition started in the summer of 2012, and visibility of shopping search results began dropping from that time onward.”

    Traffic has “undoubtedly gone up” for retailers? Not true.

    Especially for retailers who don’t participate in the paid program. ;)

  • Scott

    Nice state about the percentage of videos from YouTube.

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  • Ade Blackthorn

    I think if we were to also understand how often PLA Units appeared, it would paint a more insightful picture of the overall Shopping experience.

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