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5 Trends to Help Marketers Navigate Google Shopping Competition in 2018

Ellen Harvey

Last week Sidecar hosted the webinar “3 Google Shopping Stats You’ll Live by in 2018,” which provided a first look at some of the key findings from the 2018 Google Shopping Benchmarks Report.

The webinar featured insights from Moosejaw’s Senior Internet Marketing Manager, Kelli Patterson, as well as Sidecar’s Zack Goldman and Mike Perekupka. They explored emerging trends on cross-device conversions, intensifying Google Shopping competition, and performance benchmarks across retail verticals, including AOV, ROAS, and CPC.

The data revealed valuable insights for marketers looking to expand and perfect their Google Shopping strategies in 2018.

Here are just of few of the tactics and trends uncovered during the webinar:

1. Amazon’s Impression Share Reached New Heights

“You can’t talk about competition in Google Shopping without talking about Amazon,” said Zack Goldman, Director, Enterprise Strategy at Sidecar. According to the 2018 Google Shopping Benchmarks Report, Amazon’s impression share jumped from 10% in certain categories to over 50% during the summer months of 2017.

In particular, Amazon grew impression share in house & home, pet care, sporting goods, and appliance verticals.

AMAZON’S GROWING IMPRESSION SHARE: In 2017 Amazon’s impression share peaked in the summer and fall months, passing 50% in the house & home vertical.

2. Understand What Sets Your Business Apart from the Pack

While many retailers can’t compete on ad spend with large competitors like Amazon, they can build Google Shopping strategies around the most valuable parts of their business, said Moosejaw’s Kelli Patterson.

“As a specialty outdoor retailer, Moosejaw does some things better than Amazon as far as our products are concerned,” said Kelli. “A big part of it is our product knowledge. We know how to segment campaigns and get that right bid, for the right query, for the right product, and land the consumer on the product page at the right time.”

Zack advised e-commerce marketers to dig into their catalog and compare the performance of different product groups. He said they should try to pinpoint product lines that are unique to their business or have higher margins. These are the areas where retailers can be more competitive on Google Shopping.

3. The Mobile-to-Desktop Purchasing Journey Has Flipped

Sidecar product manager Mike Perekupka noted that one of the most interesting trends unearthed in the Benchmarks Report was the shift in the consumer purchasing journey. “We generally hear the narrative that people research on mobile and convert on desktop, but if you look at 2017, the most popular conversion path actually started on desktop with the conversion happening on mobile,” Mike explained.

A NEW PATH TO PURCHASE: Cross-device conversions for an apparel retailer in 2017 reveal that most purchase journeys began on mobile shopping ads and ended on desktop.

Looking at consumers who converted for one apparel retailer, Sidecar found that most consumers first clicked a Google Shopping ad on desktop, representing 81% of total clicks. And the majority of converting clicks occured on mobile at 79%. Unsurprisingly, the most common purchase path began on desktop and ended on mobile with a 65% share of total clicks.

4. The Mobile Shopping Experience Must Be as Engaging as Desktop.

To capitalize on mobile shopping growth, e-commerce marketers must optimize their sites for speed and ease of navigation. For Moosejaw, that meant creating a more robust browsing experience on mobile that mimicked the desktop experience. “We’re using breadcrumbs on our pages so that customers looking at a specific product can back themselves into the wider product funnel. For example, if they’re looking at a down jacket they can easily move from that page to view down jackets from other brands,” said Kelli.

She also recommended keeping value propositions like discounted shipping or promotions front and center on mobile pages. Having a fast, responsive site is important, but if the responsive design hides important deals, retailers can easily miss out on conversion opportunities.

5. Campaigns That Target Purchase Intent Can Drive Massive Revenue Gains

Moosejaw saw a significant jump in revenue last year by focusing their Google Shopping campaigns on high-intent, branded search queries. “We’re trying to think smarter about our impression share and getting in front of consumers when they’re ready to purchase,” explained Kelli. Moosejaw found that consumers who search for specific brands are much further down the purchasing funnel than more general queries.

The Benchmarks Report data backs this up. In 2017, retailers’ clicks from branded searches delivered 171% more ROI and a CTR four times higher than that of non-branded searches.

To take advantage of this, Moosejaw created branded campaigns using negative keywords to filter out non-branded search queries. The results were immediate, said Kelli: “We grew revenue 123% over non-branded campaigns.” Overall, Moosejaw saw a 68% revenue increase in 2017 after implementing its branded campaign strategy.

To understand the trends driving Google Shopping growth and how your business stacks up against the competition, access the complete 2018 Google Shopping Benchmarks Report.

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