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10 Takeaways from Google's Holiday 2011 Consumer Intentions Report

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google-gift-bagsGoogle's fourth annual research on consumer shopping trends and intentions was released last week. The webinar and report confirmed a lot of hunches online marketers have had for a while now – that mobile and tablet markets continue to grow and influence online shopping – and unveiled some new insights, like the fact that the search query volume is increasing faster than ads can follow.

After the webinar, Todd Pollack, Google's Director of Retail, discussed with Search Engine Watch how online retailers can use the report and turn it into action items. Below are the highlights.

Major Stats Online Retailers Should Know

1. 55 percent of consumers plan to use more coupons this year.

Pollack noted how the state of economy presses consumers to look for deals. Having a creative coupon strategy is now more important than ever.

2. 46 percent of consumers plan to use search engines more for researching holiday purchases this year.

More reason for you to diversify your online marketing campaigns. AdWords, Google Product Listing Ads, Comparison Shopping Engines (who bid on paid keywords), Marketplaces, Video ads, and click-to-call ads are just a few you can try out.

3. On average there's a 5 percent increase in consumers using coupon and deal-oriented sites like Dealnews, social networking sites like Facebook, and group buying sites like Groupon to find bargains this holiday season.

I've worked with Dealnews.com and can vouch for their site as one that not only brings sales, but a positive ROI in most cases because each offer is based on a flat CPC, not a fee or CPA deal.

4. Search query volume is up 46 percent YoY while Google has been servicing 26 percent less ads since this time last year.

Search ads are on sale in certain categories. Take advantage of this stat by launching ad campaigns now before your competition does.

5. 50 percent of shoppers will start shopping in the next 22 days.

Now is the time to get in front of new customers.

Major Action Items to Take Away

1. Videos are becoming increasingly important in an online retailer's marketing arsenal.

TrueView is a program where retailers don't pay for ads unless the consumer viewed the entire thing.

Mobile video ad costs compared to desktop is about 4 times as cheap, but the traffic there is huge. Conversion rates don't keep up with desktop, but it's a great way to do branding.

Quick Tip: What's the best type of video ad to serve? One with a call to action.

2. Tablet-only ads are underserved.

Conversions on tablets are very similar to those on desktops, and the average order value is higher because the economic status of tablet buyers is on average higher than the average desktop user.

Try setting up a tablet-only ad campaign. Todd noted that there's a relationship between higher bids, higher conversions, and higher average order values.

Use your analytics tool to research how shoppers search on these devices to tailor your strategy.

3. Integrate your coupon strategy into all marketing channels.

Paid search, comparison shopping engines, even marketplaces if you can, should integrate with the coupon strategy you have on site for the biggest lift to your conversions.

4. Big brands think nationally. Not a big brand? Get local.

There's opportunities in local markets. If you're a small or medium-sized business, analyze where you're profitable, and make sure you win there. Then look at new local markets you can enter.

Click here for more information on how to audit your competitor's PPC strategy.

Click here to learn more about how to audit and model your own PPC strategy.

5. Get a mobile site.

Don't have a mobile site? You're missing out. With smartphone usage increasing, it should be a top priority, especially if you have a brick-and-mortar store because many smartphone users use their phone to find store locations.

Another route to go is by getting your products on mobile apps of other marketing channels like Pricegrabber and Become.com, but once a shopper clicks on your product there, you'll want a mobile-optimized site to increase conversions.

Google's HowToGoMo.com is a good resource to use to start your mobile site development research.


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