Google to roll out updates and new formats for mobile shopping and travel planning

Flights screenshots

Mobile will play its biggest role ever in 2016 and as Google reveals: mobile travel and shopping searches are already up nearly 30% year-over-year.

To help with this rise in demand, Google announced yesterday in a blog-post possibly timed to steal some Prime Day thunder, that it will soon begin rolling out new mobile-centric features for PLAs, holiday booking filters, its YouTube’s TrueView shopping feature and a new Showcase Shopping ad format.

That’s a lot of new info to wade through, but it’s all designed to help prepare marketers and mobile users for the October – December holiday season, which you’re all thinking about now right? Right?

Travel planning and booking

According to Google, visits to mobile travel sites made up 40% of total travel web traffic in the first quarter of this year, while individual travel web sessions are becoming shorter and travel mobile conversion rates have grown 10% as users are increasingly ready to book on mobile.

To help with planning and booking travel ahead of time, Google has introduced a few new features:

Hotel Smart Filters

You’ll now be able to filter hotel search results based on rating or price with a single tap. So “pet-friendly hotels in San Francisco under $200” will theoretically find you something relevant.

Hotel Deals

When searching for a hotel, you may now see a ‘Deal’ label when a hotel’s price is lower than usual. These deals are automatically identified by Google algorithms when it sees a significant reduction in price. In early tests, Google saw that hotels marked with the ‘deal’ label received about twice as many bookings as other hotels.

Hotel Tips

The ‘Tips’ feature will offer real-time analysis to help users find the best hotels for their needs. Tips may be shown to people when they could save money or find better availability by moving their dates slightly.

Flights price tracking

Instead of having to continually check prices in Google Flights, users can now opt-in to track ticket-price changes for a specific date and route combination. When prices either increase or decrease significantly, they will be notified by email and Google Now cards.

Flight price tracking

Showcase Shopping Ads

This is a new format designed to help shoppers who use broader search terms, such as “women’s athletic clothing” or “living room furniture.”

Rather than present them with one specific product ad that probably isn’t relevant, Showcase Shopping Ads provides a more in-depth “visually rich experience” showcasing multiple related products.

showcase shopping

All merchants running Shopping Campaigns in the US, UK, and Australia will be eligible to have their products automatically appear in Showcase ads in the coming weeks.

Google also states its experimenting with a premium version that allows retailers the ability to curate the experience.

New features for TrueView

Almost half of the US population (47%) says that YouTube helps them when making a decision about something to buy at least once a month.

TrueView is Google’s tool that allows ad viewers on YouTube to find out more information and click to buy.

According to Google, the number of advertisers using the product is up 50% since January and in recent weeks, about 1/3 of them are using it every week.

To help give retailers more control over branding, Google is introducing two new features:

Companion banner

A new interactive banner appearing next to the video that lets viewers scroll through products while the video is playing next to it. The banner also shows viewers the most up-to-date product information.

Product picker

This lets advertisers choose and prioritize which of their products are featured as cards in a TrueView for shopping campaign.

Trueview for shopping companion banner

Currency converter

And finally, Google is currently testing a tool to perform currency conversions in Australia, Switzerland, Canada, and the UK. This feature allows you to convert the currency in your product data locally. So a person shopping in the UK can see products sold by a US retailer, listed in British pounds.

Currency conversions

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