One of the hottest topics in the paid search community is arguably the impact of Shopping campaigns. The performance trends that have emerged in the last few quarters – along with some of the recent changes that substantially reshaped the search engine results pages (SERPs) – indicate that the “shopping revolution” is underway, and no ecommerce advertiser should stay away.
The Rise of GOOGLE Shopping Ads
Why should you use Shopping ads? Because they work, they are growing, and they keep getting better.
Since Product Listing Ads, or PLAs were introduced as a beta test in 2009, Shopping campaigns have come a long way and search engines, particularly Google, have invested incremental resources each year in improving this format.
Today, a well-thought-out Shopping strategy is no longer optional for ecommerce advertisers: as highlighted by a recent study from Sidecar, revenue generated by Product Listing Ads increased by 52% year over year during the first quarter of 2016.
The success of this format among shoppers is due to the ease in finding and purchasing the product they are researching. But what are some of the advantages for the sellers? Let’s dig into a few:
ADVANTAGES TO USING GOOGLE SHOPPING Campaigns
1.More Traffic to Your Online Store, Especially from Mobile
About half of Google ad clicks are now driven by Shopping ads, up from 31% just two years ago (ROI Revolution). The primary driver appears to be the impact of mobile, where Shopping ads are dominating the result pages pushing organic below the fold.
These already impressive numbers are destined to grow with the rise of voice searches, perfectly served by Shopping results.
2. Prequalify Searchers Who are Ready to Buy
An image is worth a thousand words, and Shopping campaigns perfectly embody this concept. With prominently featured product imagery, PLAs are one of the most effective ways to get your product in front of prospects at the exact moment they are ready to buy.
Moreover, Shopping ads can take users down the purchasing funnel quicker than text ads. In addition to a photo, the format features product information directly in the ads – a descriptive title, the price, the store name, and more – allowing for seamless comparison before the click takes place.
For all these reasons, it is common to see stronger performance from PLAs over non-branded text ads, especially for metrics like click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate.
3. Broader Presence on Search Result Pages
Advertisers can easily show multiple shopping ads for a search if several of their products are relevant for the query. Shopping ads can also appear at the same time as text ads, taking up even more real estate on the first page. On top of that, Product Listing ads have been getting access to more inventory as a consequence of the removal of the right rail for search ads.
As a result of all these updates, Google Shopping ads now appear in multiple places across the web:
- Google Shopping
- Google Search, next to search results and separate from text ads
- Google Search Partner websites, including YouTube
- Image Search in a carousel format above the organic results
All in all, Google has rapidly expanded the volume of searches that trigger PLAs, especially on mobile devices, contributing to the massive increase in clicks and spend on the format.
4. Retail-centric management + reporting
Shopping ads use product data, not keywords, to decide how and where to show an ad. Because search engines retrieve up-to-date information about a product directly from a data feed and the company’s website, marketers can establish their campaign structure and bidding strategy based on real-time product margins, availability, and promotions.
A powerful set of reporting tools and competitive data allow advertisers to benchmark performance at any level of granularity, offering insights into the competitive landscape and identifying growth opportunities. Shopping campaigns are also a great resource for keyword mining – a review of the search query report can help marketers identify new keyword ideas to be targeted by traditional search ads.
5. SHOPPING ADS KEEP GETTING BETTER
Google and Bing are committed to making their Shopping campaigns even more successful, and regularly push updates and improvements to their formats. In addition to the aforementioned removal of the right side ads, other innovations over the last 12 months include “in-store inventory” search, a “store pickup” option for local stores, a “Purchase on Google” button to buy straight from the search results, and much more.
Make GOOGLE shopping ads a Priority in a Few Easy Steps
The opportunities offered by Shopping ads are no secret, and there is more competition here than ever before. That said, a proper strategy, campaign structure, and plan for daily optimizations can position you for success. Smart marketers should invest their time in:
- Setting up a Merchant Center account and uploading a product feed (following the directions provided by Google & Bing)
- Optimizing product feeds to assure the accuracy and freshness of the information, such as availability and pricing
- Staying up to date on the new requirements that Google and Bing share with advertisers, quickly addressing any error or alert that may lead to a disapproved feed
- Structuring campaigns intelligently to manage bids and negatives effectively to funnel queries to the most appropriate product group