The message at Google Marketing Live 2019 was clear: The era of anticipatory marketing is here. The search giant announced a plethora of updates to its advertising offerings aimed at helping businesses meet and engage consumer intent in every context, across all formats and devices.
Along with a series of new ad types, several key changes are coming to Google Shopping. These include new inventory for Showcase Shopping ads, the merger of Google Express with the overall Google Shopping experience, personalized homepages for shoppers, and Shopping campaigns with partners.
Several of these updates appear designed to help Google chip away at Amazon’s reputation as the “shopper’s search engine.” By providing them with custom-tailored results, more relevant information, and easily accessible purchase options, Google hopes to keep users on their own properties as they search for products.
What does this mean for retailers? Let’s outline the elements of the new Google Shopping experience, along with actionable steps you can take to enjoy the full benefit of each one.
New Inventory for Showcase Shopping Ads
At the event, Google highlighted that around 80% of the traffic driven by Showcase Shopping ads was made up of new users. To better help advertisers attract these potential customers to their businesses, Google is extending Showcase ads to Google Images, the Discover feed, and YouTube. Comprised of images of a group of related products, Showcase ads introduce your brand to consumers when they search for general product categories like “women’s jackets” or “kitchen supplies.”
All advertisers seeking to drive new users through Google Shopping should take advantage the new places Showcase ads can appear. Here’s how we recommend getting started:
- Begin by focusing on very broad search intents.
- Target relevant Google Image and YouTube video searches based on past keywords that drove success for your existing Showcase ads.
- Ensure the relevant products and image links are always active in your feed.
- Keep your store info and product inventory up-to-date if you have a physical store.
Google Express Merges with Overall Shopping Experience
In Google’s clearest attempt to compete with Amazon’s Marketplace, Google Shopping is absorbing Google Express. When shoppers find products on Google Shopping, they will now have the option to purchase on the retailer’s site, pick the item up in-store, or buy directly on Google with a unified shopping cart. When customers choose this last option, the entire transaction is managed by Google and backed by their guarantee. Users can even shop by voice thanks to Google Assistant integration.
It’s all part of a broader effort to give the customer more freedom to choose what to buy and where with a more streamlined process.
- Join Shopping Actions to allow customers to find and purchase your products across Google properties.
- Ensure your product feed has all the competitive benefits in place with the “Add to cart” button in Google Shopping results.
- Ensure convenient and fast shipping options, as well as a great customer support team in place to participate in the Google Guarantee.
- Ensure your products and offers cater to relevant voice search interactions with Google Assistant.
Personalized Google Shopping Homepage
When users visit Google Shopping, they’ll see a homepage unique to them. This includes personalized recommendations, top product picks, and more based on their shopping and search histories. Users can adjust their preferences to see the products, features, and brands that interest them most on their homepage. From there they can investigate products further by reading customer reviews, watching videos, and other forms of interaction.
If you’re a large-scale business with a higher marketing budget, the new personalized Shopping homepage is a great opportunity to keep your brand and products top-of-mind among consumers. The following recommendations will put you on the right track:
- Earn great ratings and reviews for your top products to increase your visibility on users’ homepages.
- Apply as many features (color, size, gender, use cases, etc.) as you reasonably can to products, as users tend to implement filters on the homepage.
Shopping Campaigns with Partners
Retailers and brands can work together in an exciting new way with collaborative Shopping campaigns. In these campaigns, brands select products to promote with specific retail partners. Brands contribute their own budgets to these campaigns, allowing both parties to invest in and benefit from a cooperative marketing effort.
Shopping campaigns with partners open a host of new co-marketing possibilities. However, they also bring up several thought-provoking implications and questions for both brands and retailers:
- Through this massive initiative, Google is encouraging retailers and brands to collaborate and take their battle with Amazon to brick-and-mortar stores.
- With potentially more foot traffic in stores, will retailers need to rethink their slashing of store labor costs?
- As Google allows for in-store conversion tracking, brands can study store-specific product purchase patterns and run targeted promotions. Is a certain product selling well at a particular store? Target that location with tailored ads and/or promos.
A Frictionless Shopping Experience
With so many new features and updates coming to Shopping, Google is urging businesses to move more of their advertising budgets there. Whether you’re unfamiliar with Google Shopping or have been running ads there for years, it’s well past time to recognize the multifold benefits of promoting your products on the platform.
Like most of the announcements made at this year’s Google Marketing Live, the changes coming to Shopping are all about creating a more seamless user experience. Wherever they are in their respective journeys, consumers can find products that suit their needs, along with readily available ways to research, compare, and purchase – on any device, across Google properties.
For more insights, we invite you to download our Modern Search Best Practices. In these papers, we share the key ways the search marketing landscape is evolving and how today’s retailers can embrace that change on the road to success.