This is the first holiday season with free and paid listings in Google Shopping, as they try to compete with Amazon. As Google has seen the e-commerce giant gain share in product search and advertising, this limited the products available in Google Shopping results. Therefore Google decided to open up to all merchants as it will enhance Google’s offering and its appeal to retailers and customers. 

Google’s recent announcement reflects Google’s approach to commerce. Google Shopping will allow retail advertisers access to more reporting and performance insights as well as new customer targeting for Smart Shopping which is coming out of beta. Pricing and Promotion, the two P’s that grab the attention of deal-seekers, will be affected by Google’s consumer-facing Shopping. 

Considering the year we’ve had, consumer behaviours have naturally shifted, so Google is now offering more ways to help businesses capture increased holiday demand by enabling businesses to apply product promotions faster and easier, as well as boosting a business’s visibility to new customers. 

Compare, compare, compare

Customers are able to compare prices across different retailers in the Shopping tab, customers can now see if the item they desire is priced “high, low or typical compared to other prices from across the web and in nearby stores’, a fantastic feature for consumer’s on a budget. 

Additionally, price insights will be featured on product Shopping pages when consumers click on the listings in the Shopping tab on Google. It doesn’t stop there, if the consumer is dead set on purchasing a particular item but their budget does not permit, they can enable “price tracking” to get alerts on better prices either via email or in the Google App. Comparing prices for both online and local retailers, including in-store and curbside pickup is just one of the many features Google has to offer for deal-seekers. 

Faster and more visible Promotions

Retailers in the U.S are now able to use Merchant promotions, which will allow them to show in more places across Google. 

Note: The “promotions” that Google refers to are offered in the Merchant Centre and can appear differently on Google, an example of a desktop ad below:

(Image source: Search Engine Land, 2020)

There was a downside and that was the approval wait time. Google announced last month that it would be approving these promotions faster and that advertisers can edit them after they go live, both of these capabilities are now live. Short-lived sales, the type of sales that are only popular during the holiday season, were a result of slow promotion reviews in the past as they were nearly over before the promotion was approved. 

This should be MUCH less likely this holiday season as retailers can edit the promotion timing and duration.

(Image source: Google Ads & Commerce Blog, 2020)

Smart Shopping for new customers and more auction insights

The new customer acquisition goal in Smart Shopping is now out of beta and will allow retailers to set a separate conversion value on new customers to inform Google’s automated bidding. 

Additionally, Google Ad Report Editor will feature auction insight metrics sometime next month. The data from Search and Shopping campaigns will be available. As of last month, Shopping and Smart Shopping campaigns also feature performance planner, allowing retailers to plan their budget more effectively during the holiday season. Performance planners will allow retailers to see conversion value, conversion rate and spend estimates based on their targets and historical performance. 

Screenshot of auction insights within Google Ads Report Editor
(Image source: Google Ads & Commerce Blog, 2020)

A new Report Editor is featured in the Merchant Center and will allow retailers to see additional metrics across their free listings and ads, such as click-through rates and impressions. These tools can assist retailers in getting a full picture of their performance, allowing them to adapt and adjust to the holiday traffic. The Report Editor allows the user to create customised reporting dashboards based on their specific needs as well as users can segment reports for a closer look at performance by date range or products. 

Why do we care?

While this year has been crazy for retailers and the world at large, Google is committed to helping retailers better prepare for the holiday season more efficiently. These features can assist retailers to increase sales and help customers find the best deals they’re looking for. Additionally, Google is helping retailers prepare for the holiday traffic by offering better visibility and insights, and faster interaction with customers to make sure their holiday season runs smoothly!

Read about Google AdWords on how to improve your campaign performance with the ‘new AdWords experience’.

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