How Important is Google Shopping for Retailers in 2019?


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“As e-commerce brands move ad spend into Google Shopping, the retailers who master the nuances of specific categories will be the ones who shape consumer’s ad experiences.”

It’s no secret that Google Shopping is dominating retail search marketing given that 87% of all retail Google ads clicks come through the PLA network. E-Commerce brands are fuelling the YoY growth with ad spend now far in excess of text ads in retail categories.

As a Google Shopping specialist, I cannot express just how essential it is for your brand to have a solid Google Shopping strategy included as part of your paid search management. So why is it that, only now, online retailers are starting to take full advantage of what the Google Shopping network truly has to offer and how can we, as search marketers, keep ahead of the game?

Invest resources into feed management for increased visibility within relevant queries

In Q4 2018, we decided to run an experiment on one of our clients to test the power of product feed optimisation. We wanted to find out what impact that would have on our performance data. Our client faced one challenge – their products were not appearing in top positions during the lead up to one of the most important days in the retail calendar.

Unfortunately, with Google Shopping you don’t get to bid on which keywords you want your ads to appear for. Instead, Google has to rely purely on the attributes listed under the individual products in order to match it to a user’s search query based on relevancy. So, if your feed is lacking any relevant information that your competitors are supplying, then you could lose out.

For this particular client, we knew that sales for accessories peaked in the lead up to Christmas. In order to capitalise on this seasonal trend, we focused our efforts on improving the overall impression share of all products within the campaign by optimising all of the product titles with high-value keywords.

Product titles are among the most important factors influencing the performance of your Google Shopping campaigns and our results proved that.

Google Shopping Ads

{Image Credit: Screenshot}

After three weeks, we noticed that our client’s products appeared in every single top position for a very generic search term, which we incorporated into our titles, with not a single competitor in sight! 

Google Shopping Ads

New Google Shopping Ad formats will continue to evolve with the network

Since their launch in 2010, Google Shopping Ads have evolved into a profitable marketing channel for many businesses. Google’s updates dramatically altered the paid marketing landscape. Over time they transformed Google Shopping from an optional sales tactic into a must-have ad format for e-Commerce businesses worldwide.

Audiences are actively consuming new ad formats. In Q4 2018, Google diversified its offerings to better meet the needs of users by introducing us to a whole new world of PLA ads, like the shopping showcase ads with video and shoppable image ads.

The death of keyword and query mapping

Whilst the big Google rebrand initially sparked fear throughout the industry on whether or not the brand change from ‘Adwords’ to ‘Google Ads’ reflected how Google was shifting away from keywords, the query a user types into a search engine definitely still matters. Especially when it comes to Google Shopping.

To tackle the lack of keyword control that you have with Google Shopping campaigns, you need to rely on a little bit of help from your negative keyword lists and campaign priorities. This allows you to map shopping traffic to the best product offerings with the most appropriate SKU bids for the queries being searched, limiting wasted spend and maximising ROAS. And it will continue to be the case in 2019. It is something that advertisers will be unable to avoid if you want highly profitable PLA campaigns.

Conclusion

This year, I only expect Google Shopping to exceed the current growth that we have already seen from the platform, continuing to be the biggest Google paid search growth opportunity for most online retailers. I would also expect new shopping ad formats to surface throughout the year, as Google adjusts to the fierce competition from Amazon who is providing retailers with other alternatives to get exposure.

If both advertisers and brands invest the right resources into their Google Shopping strategy by spending the time to improve product feed management and proven campaign optimisations such as query sculpting, then it will be a very worthwhile investment for a successful 2019.

If you would like to discuss your 2019 Google Shopping strategy then get in touch or connect with me on LinkedIn.

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