Google Shopping Continues to Evolve One Year Since Launch

It’s now been more than a year since Google introduced a new campaign type for Product Listing Ads (PLAs): Google Shopping. Since then, this new product advertising method continues to be tweaked.

Designed to replace Google Product Search, Google Shopping is based on PLAs that allow retailers to access premium visibility in search engine ranking pages (SERPs) on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis. PLAs are heavily image-centric, appearing on SERPs to the top right of organic results, yielding premium visibility on targeted product-specific keywords.

CPC explained: Also known as pay-per-click (PPC), this is an online advertising model that allows advertisers to pay the publisher (Google in this case) for only the volume of clicks that occur on the digital advertising. This is often considered preferable and more transparent than other models such as cost-per-impression (CPI) or flat-fee pricing. In the case of Google Shopping, advertisers will choose to bid on certain keywords, thus more hotly-competed keywords are also the more expensive ones.

Need more details? We’re hosting a live audio-visual presentation on this topic on Thursday, June 19 at 2.00PM. Join Google Product Specialist, Kate Conroy alongside ChannelAdvisor’s Sales Engineer, Sam Clarke to discover how you can make the most of Google Shopping campaigns, at an absolute minimum of time and fuss. Register now!

Google's SERPs
As you can see, Google provides prominence and the ability to display images with PLAs at the top right of its SERPs.

Choosing Google Shopping as a method of advertising products allows retailers enhanced control over where and how their ads appear, thereby raising the chance of directing highly qualified traffic directly to a product’s landing page and so increasing conversion rates as a result. However, a thorough understanding of Google Shopping campaign management and set-up is required in order to ensure return on investment (ROI).

Think about it from the consumer’s perspective – when going through the motions of product discovery, how are you most likely to begin your search? The truth is, the majority of consumers will begin with a Google search, even when they know exactly what they’re looking for. Once they arrive at the SERP, what do you think is going to attract their eye: organic, text-based results and advertising, or well-crafted imagery alongside product details of the item they’re looking for?

For people using Google, 37 percent said they are more likely to click on a link that also features an image. From this point, they are only one step away from landing on your page and purchasing the item in question.

Recent and Upcoming Changes to Google Shopping

Nothing on the internet remains still for long, least of all are Google’s products and services, so here’s a brief summary of some of the changes the have occurred recently, as well as others yet to arrive.

April 2014, Google announced a number of changes to Google Shopping, including the arrival of Bid Simulator, which is now available for all Google Shopping campaigns. This tool gives advertisers the ability to estimate how changes to bids will affect impressions, clicks or costs, making it easier to plan your campaigns and adjust to changes on the fly.

Retailers also now have access to a number of ways of creating Google Shopping campaigns. Of course, you can still craft these campaigns from scratch, but there have also been options included for replicating the success of a PLA to create similar PLAs, adjust keyword targeting or curate promotional text. Retailers have also been given the ability to create multiple ad segments within a campaign for enhanced targeting.

August 2014, Google will mothball the regular PLA campaign type available in AdWords and will insist all PLA advertisers make the switch to Google Shopping. From that point on, all regular PLA campaigns will be retired.

For retailers that need to make the switch to Google Shopping campaigns, Google is encouraging they create a campaign from scratch and customise product groups and bids stepwise. This will ensure retailer inventories are included in their Google Shopping campaign.

For further information on how to set up a best practice Google Shopping campaign, see our in-depth article on the subject.

Need more details? We’re hosting a live audio-visual presentation on this topic on Thursday, June 19 at 2.00PM. Join Google Product Specialist, Kate Conroy alongside ChannelAdvisor’s Sales Engineer, Sam Clarke to discover how you can make the most of Google Shopping campaigns, at an absolute minimum of time and fuss. Register now!

The below infographic from MDG Advertising displays relevant statistics about why advertising with images in search is more effective.

It’s All About the Images [infographic by MDG Advertising]

Infographic by MDG Advertising

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