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Sidecar Research at a Glance: Ad Engagement Is Surging in These 2 Areas of Google Shopping

Tim Dolan

To increase ad engagement on Google Shopping, retailers should focus on two opportunities: Absolute top impression share and mobile ads. Both have grown in value with key channel updates and evolving consumer behaviors.

While retailers have long assumed products listed in the first spot of the Google Shopping carousel convert at higher rates, they couldn’t accurately measure this until last year when Google released its absolute top impression share metric.

According to Sidecar’s 2018 Google Shopping Benchmarks Report, product groups with the highest impression share earn an average conversion rate of 9.76%. Low impression share product groups convert at less than half that rate, 4.10%.

In the same report, Sidecar found that mobile conversions soared. In particular, desktop-to-mobile conversions (purchase journeys that began on desktop and ended on mobile) grew 259% in 2017.

To learn more about these trends, read the following excerpt from the 2018 Google Shopping Benchmarks Report, or access the complete report here.

What’s the Top Spot Worth in Google Shopping?

With release of the absolute top impression share metric in 2017, now retailers can see how often their ads appear in the coveted top spot in Google Shopping: the upper, leftmost part of the carousel.

Owning the top real estate has its perks, too. Google reports that top, leftmost ads receive three times more engagement from shoppers than elsewhere on the Shopping carousel.

Using one retailer’s product groups to segment high, medium, and low absolute top impression share, we found that product groups with highest impression share own a conversion rate more than double that of the lowest product groups. CTR more than triples between the highest and lowest product groups.

2018 Google Shopping Benchmarks Report Absolute Top Impression Share

Occupying the top spot in the carousel may have perks, but it’s not the only way to reach your customers in Google Shopping. Instead of vying for the top ad position (especially when CPCs rise beyond your budget), it’s always best to let individual product performance be your guide in setting bids.

Mobile Earns Its Keep

Despite surging traffic, mobile conversions historically have trailed far behind desktop conversions in Google Shopping. As a result, retailers tended to bid conservatively on mobile and aggressively on desktop, where shoppers were more likely to convert.

In 2017, shoppers bucked the trend of researching on mobile and buying on desktop.

The most notable increase in cross-device conversions came from desktop-to-mobile users. The path of shoppers starting their search on desktop and completing their purchase on mobile rose 259% year over year. No other cross-device path came close, with desktop-to-tablet conversions ranking a distant second with a (still considerable) 164% year-over-year increase.

While mobile conversions soared, mobile-to-desktop conversions still rose 16% from 2016 to 2017.

Why the shift to mobile conversions? Retailers are prioritizing their mobile purchase experiences, including boosting mobile site speed and implementing one-click purchase. With sites optimized for on-the-go consumers, shoppers are growing more comfortable purchasing on mobile, and conversions across multiple devices are becoming the norm.

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