2016 may not have been a great year for everyone, but it was a heck-of-a year for Google Shopping.
Retailers spent 56% of their ad spend on Google Shopping last year, meaning Shopping finally outpaced traditional Search ads in terms of spending in the US and UK.
Google overhauled the Merchant Feed Center and updated the Feed Specifications to include Unit Pricing, Color and Size, and GTIN. They also set a minimum image size requirement and increased the maximum Product Feed file size from 1 – 4GB.
Shopping ads began appearing as part of image searches. Local Inventory Ads got an update to allow for in-store pickup. Google started including a currency converter to make it easier for shoppers looking to buy products from another country. And the launch of Customer Match finally allowed retailers to target Shopping ads to segmented lists.
So, what can we expect from Google Shopping in 2017? We asked a load of Google Shopping experts that very question, and here’s what they had to say…
Year of Mobile (but for real this time)
Here we go again, the 5th year in a row that I’ve predicted this and I’m going to do it again…. In 2017 many sectors will see the scales tip very much in favor of mobile traffic. Google have recognized this already and are constantly testing new ad formats, changed ad extensions and improvements to the shopping experience.
We will see many new developments with hints already about carousels and swipeable cards appearing as the mechanism to enhance ads on handsets. Swipeable cards are the interesting one as this opens up the door to many different extension formats on mobile – this could be the year we see video extensions or a return of the short-lived image extensions.
Source: Equimedia Blog
The Death of Text Ads
The death of text ads approaches. Budgets will move towards product ads and Google will add new verticals and allow more personalization in the ads.
I also think the newer (ish) ad platforms will get in on product advertising: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. There will be opportunities for retailers to get in on the ground floor as these platforms mature and their advertising models get more sophisticated.
In addition, product advertising platforms have potential to drive new insights to retailers on their inventory performance whether it be stock levels, pricing, selection, depth, range, etc.
Monetizing Voice Search
I believe it’s likely that we’ll see the first monetized voice search campaigns start to kick off in 2017. I’m still not sure which company will be first to market but for us advertisers, it will be increasingly important to watch and pay attention and test the waters as early as possible – like I’ve urged people to do for much of 2016. My prediction is that the first two areas to see voice search campaigns kick-off will be shopping campaigns and local search campaigns.
– Purna Virji (@purnavirji), Senior Bing Ads PPC Training Manager, Microsoft
Source: Search Engine Journal
Adtech has a ripper of a year
It’s really sucked to be a leader in the advertising technology industry – half of the media industry openly hates your guts, and the other half is convinced your days are numbered because of the Google/Facebook oligarchy. But they’re all wrong. Advertising technology is, at its simplest, the ability to apply data to a decision at scale. And the more open and free flowing that data economy becomes, the better and more valuable the companies which enable it become. Independent, high-integrity companies in advertising.
2017 will be all about automation in AdWords. For a lot of businesses, the bulk of digital advertising budgets has moved to either Facebook or Google Shopping. It has become less attractive for advertisers to invest a lot of time and thought into the traditional channel Google AdWords. However, revenues through AdWords are still a substantial part of most businesses, so the need for automation becomes more pressing than ever. People will ask for tools that help them automate most of their PPC workflow as much as possible to maintain past profitability levels.
Product Data Feeds will be key
For savvy ecommerce businesses, optimizing product data feeds for both Google and Bing shopping should become a priority in 2017.
Google shopping is already a cost effective tool for ecommerce businesses to advertise their products in Google search, and I expect its functionality to increase over the coming year with the rollout of features such as shop the look ads. Moreover, Bing has been proven to be cheaper in terms of CPA than Google search, so if you haven’t already run tests on Bing, it’s certainly worth considering doing so in the new year.
– Ben Wood (@iambenwood), Head of Digital, Hallam Internet
Source: Search Engine Journal
War of Voice Activated Purchases
From the huge amount of mass media to supporting Amazon’s Echo towards the end of 2016 and the vast improvements of results from “Okay Google”/Siri, I see 2017 becoming the war of voice activated purchases.
Just 5 days into 2017 Ford has announced that Amazon’s Alexa is officially coming to their new release cars giving consumers the ability to now complete their diary updates and buy a new tie whilst in the car. If you’re a prime member, then, of course, you could also have it delivered within the hour. So essentially, my predictions are that voice activated purchasing will be creating a culture of racing against your purchase to the destination. The opportunity for advertisers is finding a way to gain the preferred purchase spot with tools like Alexa.
Go big or go home
Google Shopping Ads will continue to hold court for retailers. But Shopping ads will be bigger and hold more real estate on the SERPs in the coming year.
We are still coming across sites that sell items on their websites, but do not have Shopping campaigns. Some of these are larger advertisers that sell B2B products and are slower to adopt for various reasons.
We’ve also encountered some smaller retailers that have yet to get started on Shopping and are still expecting the same results they received 5 years ago from Search ads. Not going to happen!
– Pauline Jakober (@GrpTwentySeven), CEO, Group Twenty Seven
Source: Search Engine Journal
Put-up or shut-up
I think that 2017 will be a “put-up or shut-up” year for marketing and ad tech. From Facebook’s “questionable” measurability standards to programmatic’s opaque buying models, 2017 will be the year that agencies and brands demand more accountability from their media partners, both large and small. Marketing technology companies will be asked to adopt fraud monitoring, add transparency to bidding policies, and present full and robust analytics by brands and agencies seeking to measure the impact of every media dollar spent.
Bigger Google Shopping Ads
Google Shopping results could get bigger (especially on desktop computers), or we could see them repeated in other places on the SERPs. Folks have already reported seeing Google Shopping ads in image search. This is obviously one of many ways Google may choose to further monetize page content.
Source: Search Engine Land
What do you think we can expect from Google Shopping in 2017? Tell us your predictions in the comments below!