Google Shopping is winning more and more attention from retailers as a channel through which to engage their customer base. As a tool that makes it even easier to bid on and manage products, handle performance reporting, and find opportunities for growth, Google Shopping campaigns have won increased popularity across 2014 as a tool that is entirely retail-centric.
With Google Shopping ads (previously known as product listing ads or PLAs) which were fully rolled out in August 2014, the full potential of this tool is still yet to be fully realised. At the end of 2014, the company caused ripples in the retail world with rumours Google Shopping is floating the idea of a “Buy Now” Button to challenge Amazon. If Google introduces a buy now button they will essentially own the entire shopping experience, cutting out the shopper from even visiting a retailer’s website. If that happens, surely the battle to become the #1 result in Google Shopping will become even fiercer in the coming years.
For many retailers, it’s time to change the way they approach this sales tool in order to maximise its potential in 2015 and beyond. By arming advertisers with a knowledge of which products and campaigns are performing well but losing visibility, retailers can prepare themselves for a more sophisticated competition in 2015. Choosing the right products to push at the right time via Google Shopping, will enable retailers to appeal to a generation of consumers who have grown up “searching” for products online.
So when this tool offers promise, how can retailers make Google Shopping a channel in its own right?
Use Google Shopping to bridge the online-offline worlds In a cross-channel world, consumers are looking for joined-up shopping experiences. This puts retailers under increased pressure to ensure seamless integration of the shopping experience, whether this is through initiatives such as click-and-collect services or experimentation with targeted mobile push notifications. Indeed, Marin Software’s latest annual report predicts that mobile devices will account for 50% of all paid-search clicks globally by December 2015. As a growing number of retailers see these increased mobile impressions and clicks for Google Shopping, business will have a bigger focus on getting location-based services working for their needs. If retailers can connect directly with customers, whether they are looking for them on Search, Maps or even Google+, they will be able to achieve more relevant and timely geo-targeting in 2015.
Harness the power of bidding to deliver targeted content to consumers Remarking Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) is a feature that already lets retailers customise their search ad campaigns for people who have previously visited their site. This tool presents exciting personalisation opportunities if retailers use RSLA to segment customers who have already been to their site and target them separately. This is currently available for search campaigns, however Google could develop this for Shopping to allow for further customisation and more granular targeting.
One other area Google Shopping campaigns could develop audience targeting is bidding by demographics such as age and gender to make personalisation even more sophisticated. While demographic bidding hasn’t been formally introduced, it would be an astute move that would place advertisers truly in the driving seat - not only would it lead to better targeting, it would demand that retailers adopt a more complex and granular account structure in order to stay ahead of the competition.
Clearly, should the two features be released for Shopping, this would allow advertisers for highly targeted and efficient ad spend. For example, retailers could ensure that only women aged 24-35 years old are targeted for clothing searches by presenting ads to this specific demographic for their Google Shopping campaign. If there is one thing that retail marketers have learned about advertising on this channel, it’s that relevancy is key to success – if brands can prioritise their digital campaigns around the delivery of interesting content to customers, they will boost engagements and consolidate relationships.
Start the New Year with a new approach to Google Shopping In short, Google Shopping is well on the way to becoming a channel in its own right - one that retailers should be paying real attention to in 2015. As retailers understand how to make their Google Shopping campaigns more effective through audience segmentation, new levels of data organisation will be important in order to turn insights into action. In an age where retailers are swamped with customer data, Google Shopping presents an opportunity to simplify the lives of advertisers and grow shopping accounts for mid to large retailers.
By Angela Knibb, Senior Search Manager of Paid Media at Greenlight