Wondering why product pictures have started popping up at the top of your Google search results? Meet the latest addition to the Google AdWords product suite, Google Shopping. NZ’s online marketers have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of Google Shopping for many years. Having first been launched in US back in 2012 and Australian in 2013, last month Shopping finally crossed the ditch to NZ.
So, how does this benefit the consumer?
Let’s say I’m in the market for a new garden hose. Prior to the launch of Google Shopping, a quick Google search for “garden hose” subjects me to a list of websites that could either offer exactly what I’m looking for or something relatively similar. I’m not quite sure which site delivers the model I’m after until I conduct some further investigation. Browsing a few of the websites on offer, I’d compare pricing, brands and garden hose lengths available on each site.
I could select “images” but there would be no information about price and no guarantee it’s available in NZ. Now with the launch of Google shopping, when I search the same query in Google I’m exposed to a completely different user experience.
As seen above, I now have six different products, with visual content, from six different suppliers! These new-format ads include the hose brands, lengths, some unique features such as “tangle-free”, and most importantly (for me) the price.
What used to be a back-and-forth process of opening each website one by one to find answers now takes a fraction of the time (I haven’t even left the Google search results).
Look at the experience on mobile: 85% of the real estate available on the screen is comprised of shopping ads! Granted, I’m still using an outdated iPhone 5.
How does it work?
Google Shopping is managed in AdWords via Google Merchant Centre. Using these two tools, Google Shopping allows advertisers to upload their inventory lists and serve product specific ads in response to searches by potential customers. Some e-commerce platforms provide the ability to import product data directly into a Merchant Centre account such as BigCommerce, Magento and PrestaShop.
Why should I invest in Google shopping?
Sales: Google Shopping provides a medium for online retailers to be visible in an increasingly competitive e-commerce landscape. With so many options for consumers these days, time is such an important element to the purchase decision-making process. If a consumer is actively seeking to purchase a product, it is likely they are further along the purchase funnel. Being shown visual content with product information & price removes several steps in the purchase process.
Data: Google Shopping will provide you with invaluable insights on customer behaviour patterns, with the ability to produce performance metrics for each specific product within your inventory set. Using these insights, along with your analytics data, will give you the ability to fine-tune your digital strategy to deliver the best ROI.
Traffic: Smaller businesses can now compete with the big guys. Using the example above, before the launch of Google Shopping, seven of the top listings were Gardena, Bunnings, and Mitre 10 (five times!). This new ad format creates equal opportunity for smaller businesses against the dominant, larger competitors. As you can see above, with Google Shopping five additional companies can now compete for the same product within the same landscape.
More and more space is taken up by paid listings and the front page of Google is more revenue driven than ever. For an E-commerce business that’s not investing in Google Shopping, it becomes even harder to attract those all-important online sales. If you’re not actively looking to buy, these additional ads could become an annoyance and inhibit casual browsing.
How do I advertise on Google Shopping and how much does it cost?
Google Shopping is unfortunately not available for every advertiser; there are a few pre-requisites you need to comply with. If your online store operates with one of the e-commerce platforms listed above, then setting up a campaign is a fairly simple process. If not, don’t fret! There’s just some time needed to organise a product data sheet that can be imported to your Merchant Centre account. Google Shopping operates on a Cost-Per-Click (CPC) auction based system, much like AdWords. How competitive your product group is, along with a few other factors, will dictate how much you will pay for a click.
If you would like to find out more information about the Google Shopping and are interested in increasing your online sales, get in touch with a member of the Alexanders Internet Marketing team. By the way, we are already BigCommerce partners, which has that seamless integration to Google Shopping built in.
Remember, this is a new landscape for online advertisers in New Zealand so competition within your industry could be low or non-existent. What better time to kick-start a campaign?
David Ramirez is a Project Manager at Alexanders Internet Marketing. He has 5-years experience working in the digital space and specialises in SEO & SEM projects. He works closely with clients to ensure campaigns are optimised and are achieving the best possible ROI.