Google Shopping is more popular among shoppers — and marketers — than ever. In 2018, Sidecar found retail marketers spent 24% more year-over-year in Google Shopping, while their revenue grew by 29%. More details are in Sidecar’s 2019 Benchmarks Report: Google Ads in Retail.
The growth is indicative of a larger trend. Marketers are seeing more value in Google Shopping. And with updates that devote a larger share of SERP real estate to Shopping ads, Google is placing these ads squarely in front of your potential customers.
Shopping Ads Are a Top Priority for Google
Google continues to release a steady stream of updates to improve the experience, visibility, and targeting capabilities of Shopping ads. Among those updates has been the addition of video to Showcase Shopping ads, which are a type of Shopping ad exclusive to mobile. While still a nascent ad format, video in Showcase ads are a way for retailers to attract attention early in the purchase journey.
Google has remained visually minded with other more recent updates. It announced that it will be expanding Showcase Shopping ads to Google Images, and in a similar vein, introduced Shoppable Ads on Google Images. When users mouse over Shoppable Ads on sponsored images, they’ll see brand, price and other details.
Updates like these tilt toward driving brand exposure, rather than supporting retail marketers’ traditional focus on efficiency. However, ads like these can be suited for helping marketers fill the equally important top of funnel. Additionally, Google’s focus on visuals aligns with the increasing importance of visuals in modern e-commerce. More on that later …
Overall the volume and velocity of Google Shopping updates show that Google is committed to delivering on its promise of putting retailers’ products in front of the right consumers in this channel.
When it comes to reaching shoppers on mobile, Shopping ads have clear advantages. On mobile, Shopping ads dominate the screen. Product images, with price and brand prominently displayed, invite shoppers to scroll the carousel to see more of the products appearing in search.
We know mobile searches and usage have already surpassed desktop. During the 2018 holiday shopping period, mobile conversions, as a share of total Google Shopping conversions, surpassed desktop, found Sidecar research. What’s more — mobile owned nearly a 50% share of revenue in Google Shopping in Q4 2018.
Google Shopping is a primary way to drive your mobile marketing strategy overall. Retailers should be catering their shopping experiences to mobile and using ad formats that are not just mobile-friendly, but mobile-first.
If you’re looking to convert customers and keep costs reasonable (and who isn’t?), Google Shopping is your choice ad format. Here’s why:
Google Shopping ads are designed to reach audiences searching for product-specific terms, making them a stronger ad format to convert shoppers who have narrowed their options and are closer to purchase. These shoppers are more likely to include the style, color, and brand in their searches — and these long-tail queries in Google Shopping are less competitive, less expensive, and better converting than generic search terms.
It’s no secret that many retailers try to stake their claim on generic queries, which drives up CPC to astronomical levels. To rank for generic terms, like “blinds” for example, retailers need a hefty budget to compete.
If cold, hard conversions are what you’re after, a general rule of thumb is to invest in Google Shopping to engage shoppers who are closer to purchase. Related good news: Google Shopping CPCs haven’t moved too much lately — Google Shopping CPC averaged $0.57 within retail in 2018, a 4% increase over 2017.
Retailers need to be present in each stage of the purchase funnel, so using paid search and Shopping ads to tag team shoppers is a good strategy. Be sure to get the right mix of spend between the two formats for maximum ROI and efficiency, and plan your approach cohesively. This e-book has more on achieving cohesion between paid search and shopping campaigns.
Visually Driven Shoppers
As I mentioned earlier, we live in a world where images and video dominate the media we consume. We’re accustomed to, and we expect, visual content to help us navigate online. And e-commerce is certainly no exception. Shopping is a visual experience, and shoppers browsing online rely on images and visual content to bring them closer to products.
From a retailer’s perspective, the best way to entice a shopper to click through to your site is to offer as much product information as possible before visitors reach your site. Google Shopping delivers: Shopping ads show product-focused images and description, as well as price. The result is more qualified traffic that leads to stronger conversions.
Google Shopping is a search advertising powerhouse, but you can achieve e-commerce sales goals by investing in a variety of channels. All ad formats have their value in promoting particular parts of your catalog, and reaching audiences at different stages of the purchase journey. It’s just a matter of knowing where, how much, and when to spend — and what mix works best for your catalog.
Looking for more Shopping stats, trends, and insight? Check out our 2019 Benchmarks Report, which takes a comprehensive look at the state of both Google Shopping and Google paid search to help you stay ahead of the curve.