More than 40 percent of shopping-related queries on the Google Network are for broad terms, such as “winter coat” or “men’s shoes.” Historically Google responds to broad, non-brand product searches by either not showing product listing ads or displaying specific products. For example, a broad search for “desk supplies” might generate a gallery of options including pencils, scissors or notebooks.
To improve relevancy for broad searches, Google announced the introduction of Showcase Shopping Ads just in time for holiday marketing campaigns. The new layout will display a main image with two smaller images next to it, saving the bottom of the ad space for a promotional message or distance to the retailer’s location for Local Inventory advertisers.
Upon clicking on an ad, users are directed to an archive of similar product listings and descriptions, much like original PLAs. Google released a statistic that claims 44 percent of searchers found product listing images useful as part of the shopping ideation process, demonstrating just how effective shopping ads can be. Advertisers are then only charged if a searcher clicks on a featured product and is redirected to the retailer’s website.
Since Showcase Shopping is still in its infancy, Google doesn’t have performance metrics to share for this updated format. Consequently, advertisers should closely monitor performance and strategies for broad, non-brand search queries, especially for Customer Match and RLSA targeting in PLA campaigns. Google also announced that a premium version of Showcase Shopping is currently being tested to allow for further customization and curation of showcased ads.
Mobile has become a predominant nucleus for travel and leisure bookings, accounting for 40 percent of all traffic for respective travel sites in Q1 of 2016. Virtually half of all Google Hotel Ads referrals originate from mobile devices, increasing 2.4 times year-over-year. With such an emphasis on mobile, supplemental features are being added related to hotel and flight booking to improve the relationship between the consumer, the ad and the brand. Additionally, Google is unleashing an update to the TrueView product that will include a banner companion to video ads, enhancing the consumer’s engagement with product images and information.
According to Jonathan Alferness, Google’s VP of Shopping and Travel, the rollout of Showcase Shopping and the other updated features seek to “infuse the unique aspects of the retailer into the ad formats to really help that retailer come first to the consumer as a choice.”