Google have announced the beta of Showcase Ads in the US, UK and Australia. The new Google Shopping ad types, Local Inventory Ads and Showcase Ads mark the beginning of how Google Shopping will be supporting the earlier stages of the customer journey, for example when users are searching by broad terms. Instead of just showing a selection of multiple products over many retailers, the user is led to a Google-hosted area, in which more products of the same retailer, together with ratings and reviews collected across retailers, are shown. Thus, Google starts to let users explore and discover a retailer’s product offering outside of their own website.
Google Opens a New Impression Pool for Advertisers
Once shoppers click on an item, they are taken to the retailer’s site just as they would have for a ‘normal’ Shopping click. Google Shopping is now becoming a rich gateway, where users can spend more time browsing before clicking out.
The new ad format will allow Google to further shift clicks for very broad queries like “living room furniture” to Shopping. Before now, Google risked losing paid clicks to organic search results due to irrelevant Shopping ads replacing search ads that were better optimized for broad searches. But they will now be able to open new Shopping impression pools for advertisers. According to Google, up to 40% of shopping related searches are very broad.
From our own client data, we have already seen a continuous growth in clicks for generic search queries entering Shopping auctions in 2015, as shown here.
Retailer Brand Name a Key Influencer
The first gatekeeper for the new ad format will – unlike for more targeted shopping searches – not be price and delivery speed, but rather the retailer’s brand name. The takeaway for retailers that have not developed a strong brand name yet will be to use Shopping budgets in the early stages of the customer journey more as a mid-term branding investment rather than a classical short–term performance budget with hard ROI goals.
The Retailer’s name will be more prominent for broad searches
Product Recommendations, Ratings and Reviews Will Play a Decisive Role – With the GTIN as an Enabler
Notice how Local Inventory Ads and Showcase Ads have both started recommending and annotating other products from the retailers’ feed – by mixing in reviews and ratings from other retailers. According to a study from Nielsen product descriptions, reviews, and price comparisons play an equally important role when shopping via smartphone. It is noticeable how consequently Google aligns with and enforces user’s interests by launching the Manufacturer Center, ist ‘Mobile First’ campaigns and the finally the GTIN initiative to provide all of these.
Other countries can expect the new ad format to be rolled out at the end of the year. Watch out for first data-driven evaluations soon.