Google Shopping is more popular among shoppers — and marketers — than ever. In 2016, retail marketers spent 12% more on Google Shopping ads than on text ads, according to Sidecar customer data. This accounts for a 30% year-over-year spend increase in Google Shopping.
Why the shift in spend to Google Shopping ads? Marketers are seeing more value in them. And with recent updates that devote a larger share of SERP real estate to Shopping ads, Google is placing these ads squarely in front of your potential customers.
While text ads will likely keep their place in search advertising as a first touch, Google Shopping is shaping up to be the darling of e-commerce marketing. Here we cover five reasons to heed this feed-based ad format, and consider bumping up your investment in Google Shopping over text ads.
Shopping Ads Are a Top Priority for Google
Google released a steady stream of updates in 2016 that increased visibility and improved the experience of Google Shopping ads. And Google shows no sign of slowing down in 2017. Just this month, Google added search filters to its scrollable carousel format for Shopping ads, enhancing product discovery on Google’s SERP.
Google released a steady stream of updates in 2016 that increased visibility and improved the experience of Google Shopping ads. And Google shows no sign of slowing down in 2017.
In February 2016, Google dropped text ads from the right side of the SERP, dedicating more space to Shopping ads at the top and right side of the page on desktop.
Showcase Shopping ads, released in July 2016, transformed costly clicks on generic searches into branding opportunities and made clicks to product landing pages more efficient.
The volume and velocity of Google Shopping updates show that Google is committed to delivering on its promise of putting retailers’ products in front of the right consumers in this channel.
Compare this slew of Shopping updates with the roll-out of expanded text ads in May 2016 (Google calls this the first major change to text ads in 15 years) and mobile price extensions in July 2016, and Google’s top priority is clear.
…And Retailers Have Taken the Hint
Some of the largest retailers have been investing more heavily Google Shopping for some time. We’ve noticed a similar trend among Sidecar customers, with spend in Google Shopping outpacing that in text ads in 2016.
Retail marketers spent 12% more on Google Shopping ads than on text ads in 2016, according to Sidecar customer data. This accounts for a 30% year-over-year spend increase in Google Shopping.
When it comes to reaching shoppers on mobile, Shopping ads have clear advantages. On mobile, Shopping ads dominate the screen. Product images, with price and brand prominently displayed, invite shoppers to scroll the carousel to see more of the products appearing in search.
With much less visibility at the top of the SERP and no visual component, text ads command much less attention on mobile by comparison.
Retailers should be catering their shopping experiences to mobile and using ad formats that are not just mobile-friendly, but mobile-first.
Mobile searches and usage have already surpassed desktop. So retailers should be catering their shopping experiences to mobile and using ad formats that are not just mobile-friendly, but mobile-first.
If you’re looking to convert customers and keep costs reasonable (and who isn’t?), Google Shopping is your choice ad format. Here’s why:
If cold, hard conversions are what you’re after, invest in Google Shopping to engage shoppers who are closer to purchase.
Google Shopping ads are designed to reach audiences searching for product-specific terms, making them a stronger ad format to convert shoppers who have narrowed their options and are closer to purchase. These shoppers are more likely to include the style, color, and brand in their searches — and these long-tail queries in Google Shopping are less competitive, less expensive, and better converting than generic search terms.
Text ads are well positioned to capture general traffic, because they can be directed to a general listing page for products. But here’s the issue: So many retailers try to stake their claim on generic queries, which drives up CPC to astronomical levels. To rank for generic terms, like “blinds” for example, retailers need a hefty budget to compete in text ads.
If healthy ROAS is a priority for you, investing too heavily in text ads can be a gamble.
Text ads ARE a good avenue if you’re looking to expose potential customers to your brand and range of products as they research. But if cold, hard conversions are what you’re after, invest in Google Shopping to engage shoppers who are closer to purchase.
If you’re curious about how your Google Shopping performance measures up, booking a free analysis can give you the insight to earn more from your catalog and reduce wasted spend.
Retailers need to be present in each stage of the purchase funnel, so using text and Shopping ads to tag team shoppers is a good strategy. Just be sure to get the right mix of spend between the two formats for maximum ROI and efficiency.
We live in a world where images and video dominate the media we consume. We’re accustomed to, and we expect, visual content to help us navigate online. And e-commerce is certainly no exception. Shopping is a visual experience, and shoppers browsing online rely on images and visual content to bring them closer to products.
From a retailer’s perspective, the best way to entice a shopper to click through to your site is to offer as much product information as possible before visitors reach your site. Google Shopping delivers: Shopping ads show product-focused images and description, as well as price. The result is more qualified traffic that leads to stronger conversions.
Shopping is a visual experience, and shoppers browsing online rely on images and visual content to bring them closer to products.
On the other hand, text ads — by their very definition — don’t include visuals. Product price is also not typically displayed in text ads. This means shoppers can’t select listings based on their price sensitivity, which can lead to costly, unqualified clicks to your site.
And that’s one more checkmark for Shopping ads.
Google Shopping is a search advertising powerhouse, but you can achieve e-commerce sales goals by investing in a variety of channels. All ad formats have their value in promoting particular parts of your catalog, and reaching audiences at different stages of the purchase journey. It’s just a matter of knowing where, how much, and when to spend — and what mix works best for your catalog.
Hungry for more Shopping stats, trends, and insight? We’re crunching numbers and preparing release of our Google Shopping report, which will be chock-full of interesting stats to help you stay ahead of the curve. Stay tuned to the blog to catch the report.
And if you’re looking to get a read on the performance of your own campaigns, start with a free Google Shopping performance analysis.