Brands Boost Conversions With Google Shopping Campaigns

Content Takeover Mobile & Local SearchGoogle Shopping campaigns – the digital showrooms that replaced product listing ads (PLAs) over the summer – were just recently taken out of beta and opened up to advertisers from all over the world.

The campaigns allow advertisers to browse their product inventories directly in AdWords and create product groups for bidding, as well as measure performance by product or product group and check on competitive data for click-through rate (CTR) and cost-per-click (CPC). Because of tester feedback, Shopping will also include bulk-editing product groups at scale, with API support and a bid simulator scheduled to launch in the near future.

“Shopping campaigns allow for a retail-centric experience with advanced reporting and the ability to better understand and analyze the competitive landscape,” explains Paul Bankhead, senior product manager for Google Shopping.

PetSmart is one brand that’s using Google Shopping to improve its omnichannel marketing approach. Using Google’s Estimated Total Conversions in AdWords, the pet supply retailer found that around 15 percent of its search ad clicks result in a store visit within 30 days.

Macy’s, too, has been able to leverage mobile searches on Google Shopping and turn them into in-store sales. While the retailer hasn’t been able to provide Search Engine Watch with specific numbers, it did say that the updated ad products have proved beneficial for consumers and purchases in the brick-and-mortar stores alike. Via the local inventory ads, consumers can search items and find out how many are available at different locations. They then come in and purchase them. 

“If a search takes place on a mobile phone and a customer is near a store, she can go into that store and take advantage of that item. She can also click through the ad and purchase from Macys.com,” said Jennifer Kasper, group vice president for digital media and multicultural marketing for Macy’s, in a recent video interview with Google. “The bottom line is, we’re indifferent to whether she converts in the store or online. We just want her to shop with Macy’s.”

Smaller brands have also seen success. Real, a German retailer comparable to Walmart, has seen an 88 percent increase in its conversion rate since using Google Shopping, while the return on ad spend for Value Pet Supplies, a family-owned pet supply company based in Tennessee, jumped to 650 percent.

Google research found that year-over-year, smartphone searches have more than tripled, while nearly one-third of consumers have visited stores or made purchases after seeing location-based search ads. Additionally, the search giant has sent nearly twice as much smartphone traffic to merchant websites during the fourth quarter.

“This means that the bridge between digital traffic and foot traffic has become a competitive necessity in retail,” Bankhead says, adding that Google Shopping features help retailers “dynamically run ads that represent the actual inventory.”

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