Google Shopping is more popular among shoppers — and marketers — than ever. In 2016, retail marketers spent 13% more year-over-year in Google Shopping, according to Sidecar research.
The increase in spend is subtle but indicative of a larger trend. Marketers are seeing more value in Google Shopping. And with recent 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 released a steady stream of updates in 2016 that increased visibility and improved the experience of Google Shopping ads. And Google shows no sign of slowing down in 2017. Just this month, Google added search filters to its scrollable carousel format for Shopping ads, enhancing product discovery on Google’s SERP.
In February 2016, Google dropped text ads from the right side of the SERP, dedicating more space to Shopping ads at the top and right side of the page on desktop.
Showcase Shopping ads, released in July 2016, transformed costly clicks on generic searches into branding opportunities and made clicks to product landing pages more efficient.
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.
Mobile searches and usage have already surpassed desktop. So 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, invest in Google Shopping to engage shoppers who are closer to purchase.
Retailers need to be present in each stage of the purchase funnel, so using text and Shopping ads to tag team shoppers is a good strategy. Just be sure to get the right mix of spend between the two formats for maximum ROI and efficiency.
Visually Driven Shoppers
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.
Hungry for more Shopping stats, trends, and insight? We’re crunching numbers and preparing release of our Google Shopping report, which will be chock-full of interesting stats to help you stay ahead of the curve. Stay tuned to the blog to catch the report.
UPDATE: The 2017 Google Shopping Benchmarks Report is available now.