Google Shopping was originally known as Product Listing Ads (PLAs). This previous version of Google Shopping allowed you to advertise products on Google’s Search Results Pages (SERPs), but instead of just normal text ads, you were able to include actual pictures of your products too! A few months ago, Google decided to upgrade PLA to Google Shopping Feed. The platform still uses the same ads retailers love, but behind the scenes, a few things have changed. I’m going to walk you through the key changes made and discuss how you can benefit from them in the run up to Christmas.
1. Google Shopping results are prominently displayed
The first big change is that Shopping Campaigns ads now take centre stage on the search results page. For example, a quick search for Red Shoes gives me the following results: Beside the fact that I don’t wear high heel shoes, we can see how much more attractive shopping campaigns now appear to potential customers. The images are larger and feature more prominently on the page. So it is even more important you get shopping campaigns working well, especially because I have found they convert 30% better than conventional text ads. To benefit from increased Christmas searches, ensure you take good quality pictures of your products – and check that they’re not pixelated in the feed’s thumbnails.
2. Ad text is now included
You are now able to include ad text within a shopping listing, giving you space to include additional promotional messages or calls to action. This extra ad text gives you the opportunity to make your product more desirable, driving increased traffic. In terms of maximising their potential for Christmas peak, you could try including notes about super-fast delivery or even guaranteed Christmas delivery for orders made before a certain time.
3. Present products on white backgrounds for better impact
Another essential for any good product feed is to make sure all images are on a plain white background as this helps your products stand out from the other items on offer. Below we can see two similar products; however the product on the right is hard to see since the product blends into the background and is hard to distinguish. In contrast the competitors ‘Log Cabin’ search result is clear to see due to the image being placed on a plain white back ground. Google recommends that submitted images are taken on a white, grey or lightly-coloured background. That way the product will stand out and be clearly visible to your potential customers. Whilst images are important for setting the scene, and portraying a lifestyle around certain products, displaying accurate and true to life pictures will ensure that you retain your revenue post-Christmas instead of issuing refunds in the New Year.
4. Consider Your Mobile Customer
With an ever-connected population, shopping doesn’t stop when the high street closes. Today’s savvy shopper spends even more time than before researching purchases online, across multiple devices, at all hours of the day. Therefore it is important to stay relevant and in front of the consumer. With mobile searches rising exponentially, it’s important that you monitor your mobile shopping campaigns and adjust your bids accordingly. Unlike ad scheduling and geo-targeting, mobile bid adjustments can be made at the ad group level. So, decide if you want to make a campaign-wide adjustment for mobile devices or dig deeper into individual ad group level mobile performance. This means that you might ramp up spend on particular products or carry out seasonal bid adjustments.
As Christmas approaches it is important to make sure you have your feed fully optimised to make sure you maximise your traffic and subsequent boost to ROI. According to Google “one third of all shopping searches on their network happen between 10pm and 4am!”. That’s a large time frame for your products to be surfaced in Google’s Shopping Feed, so you need to ensure you’re product listings are well optimised now, before the seasonal rush. As well as normal search and shopping campaigns, more consumers are spending more time consulting more sources before making a decision. In 2010, “shoppers used five sources of information on average before purchasing, but that has more than doubled with shoppers consulting at least 12 sources last year” This means that the months preceding Christmas have become a crucial period for retailers to reach shoppers online, through providing offers, discounts and special seasonal promotions. If you have any questions about Google Shopping Campaigns or PPC in general please contact the Receptional team!