PPC and Display

Google Shopping Campaigns: An Indispensable Ally for Retail

Back-to-school campaigns are already making their appearance, as parents prepare their children’s shopping lists for their return to the classroom. This is a key period for advertisers, especially in the retail industry.

Last year, 40% of searches during this period were done using mobile. For Google, mobile is currently associated with “micro-moments.” For example, parents are likely to do their “back-to-school” searches while waiting for their children at the end of a sports practice, taking public transit, or at night before they go to bed. These moments are brief, but they are also where consumers are highly likely to initiate a purchase or transaction.

Faced with a rapid evolution in consumer behavior, we invite you to discover how the retail industry can capitalize on mobile usage, and more broadly on search engines, to increase traffic and sales.

Why Retail? What about Other Industries?

Google Shopping campaigns allow you to display products directly from your e-commerce platform by using a photo and description. It isn’t possible to use Shopping to advertise other things, such as services. 

But what makes Google Shopping campaigns a truly unique solution for retail is the extended place that they occupy in the search results. This creates a “micro-shopping” experience for the internet user: They can compare products directly in the search engine results page before choosing to visit your website. Products are displayed in compact rows in search results as if they were side-by-side in a virtual display.

By including as many details as possible in the advertisement (color, size, brand…), as well as an appealing product image, the user can instantly see if the items you are offering correspond to their needs. Your leads will be of better quality because you will have given them all the information they need before they even enter your site. The traffic that Google Shopping campaigns drive towards your site is highly valuable.

Entering the Sales Funnel with Mobile

The key to mobile online shopping is to make the consumer’s life easier! Don’t forget that mobile screens are smaller, and that usage times are shorter. According to Google, 35% of consumers will not make a mobile purchase if the checkout process is too complicated. The average mobile checkout process includes 24 steps for the user to go through! Optimizing your site for mobile is of the utmost importance in order to offer a quality user experience.

But let’s go back to our Google Shopping campaigns. As well as driving traffic to your site, they also help you direct users to your land-based stores. You can geo-localize your bids by proposing higher bids in locations close to your stores. Therefore, people searching near your brick-and-mortar locations will have more of a chance of seeing your products, visiting your shop and leaving with several purchases.

A Complete Solution, but One that Requires Resources

To create a Google Shopping campaign, you will need to integrate your product inventory into what is called a “product data feed.” This is a list with price and category details, images, etc. for each of your products. This feed is then sent towards a Google Merchant Center account, which is linked to the Google Adwords account where your campaigns are stored.

Creating a data feed requires some programming knowledge. Therefore, Google Shopping campaigns can be difficult to enable for small businesses, which are less likely to have knowledge of HTML or do business with specialists or agencies. 
You must also keep the data feed up-to-date. Internet users (and you) don’t want to select a product that is no longer available or out of stock! A successful Shopping campaign must include all the latest prices, and only include products that are available currently. Make sure you are able to modify the data feed as often as necessary. 

If you are using an agency, keeping a good relationship with them is also essential for your campaign’s success. You can help your agency by letting them know which products are selling well so that they can adjust the product bids accordingly.

Compare, Analyze, Optimize

Your campaigns should be structured like a brick-and-mortar shop! Thanks to product grouping, you can organize your products (by brands, margins, or best-sellers for example) in order to easily optimize your bidding.

One of the advantages of a Google Shopping campaign is the ability to prioritize, so you can highlight products that are in-season or current promotions.

Finally, don’t hesitate to adjust your bids according to demand or sales peaks, so that you stay competitive and take advantage of opportunities during heavy-traffic periods! Stay ahead of the competition by monitoring the click-through rates (CTR) and cost-per-click (CPC) of your competitors, two metrics that are only available in Shopping campaigns.

Finally, Keep the Focus on User Experience!

Use pertinent and high-quality images and descriptions. Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes: Would you be interested in this product? Would you click on this ad? As we’ve seen before, including as many details as possible in your ad will allow you to drive high-quality traffic towards your website.

Is your brand recognized? Use it in the title of your ad. The product description is equally important. Even if all the characters are not shown, they will still factor into the ad’s indexation. To attract internet users, think about promoting your special offers. If possible, apply for the “Trusted Store” designation, a mark of quality and reliability for your customers. 

Ideally, you should use a landing page that corresponds exactly to the product shown in the ad in terms of size, colour, etc. You will thus allow the internet user to save time in their search and enjoy the user experience of your site.

Conclusion

Google Shopping campaigns require a certain amount of investment, but they will drive high-quality traffic towards your website. Not ready for “back-to-school” yet? Don’t panic. You can prepare and launch your Shopping campaigns this fall, just in time for the holiday season! Last year, 40% of Christmas shopping was done online. Your products deserve a virtual display!

This blog post was originally written by Audrey Pouydebasque.

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