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Retailers Grow Their Google Shopping Ad Spend by 34%

Mobile takes on new importance to convert increased investment into revenue, reveals Sidecar’s 2018 Google Shopping Benchmarks Report 

PHILADELPHIA – An influx of retailersincluding Amazon, the world’s largesthas driven competition to new heights in Google Shopping. Amid this environment, mobile is playing an increasingly critical role in driving online purchases, according to the latest research from Sidecar. The company’s data analysts studied 300-plus U.S. retailers to benchmark their annual performance in Google Shopping. Complete findings are available now in the 2018 Google Shopping Benchmarks Report.

“One of the most significant Google Shopping trends we saw in 2017 was consumers’ willingness to complete higher value purchases on mobile, with mobile average order values growing 23% over 2016,” said Steve Costanza, Senior Analyst, Enterprise Customer Strategy for Sidecar. “While conversion rates on mobile still lag behind desktop, consumers are getting more comfortable purchasing a wider array of products on mobile.”

One of the most significant Google Shopping trends we saw in 2017 was consumers’ willingness to complete higher value purchases on mobile.

The 2018 Google Shopping Benchmarks Report analyzes retailers’ Google AdWords data from 2017 and compares it to year-over-year data from 2016 and 2015. It uncovers shifting consumer behavior and identifies how retailers can find the white space in an increasingly competitive landscape. Key findings include:

  • Ad spend grew 34% in Google Shopping year over year. That outpaces the 25% ad spend growth Sidecar found in 2016, indicating strengthening returns on investment.
  • Amazon’s impression share grew steadily across major retail verticals. Amazon has created new competition in Google Shopping since entering the channel near the end of 2016. Notably, Amazon’s impression share peaked at 60% in the house and home space in 2017.
  • Mobile accounted for 36% of total Google Shopping revenue in 2017. That’s a 19% year-over-year increase, largely due to retailers’ improvements in mobile experiences and consumers’ growing comfort with shopping on mobile.
  • Cross-device conversion trends are anchored by mobile. The desktop-to-mobile conversion path (starting a search on desktop and buying the product on mobile) increased 259% year over year. Mobile devices, traditionally seen as research tools, are now increasingly central to purchase.
  • ROAS improved in many popular retail verticals. Of the dozen major verticals examined, eight experienced a positive year-over-year change in return on ad spend. Pet care led the way with a 189% year-over-year ROAS improvement.
  • Desktop CPC in 2017 was about 2.5 times higher than mobile CPC. Desktop commanded a rising CPC despite falling revenue share. Retailers looking to compete should keep a keen eye on honing their mobile strategy in Google Shopping to capture revenue opportunities.

“Shopper behavior is an always evolving variable,” said Andre Golsorkhi, founder and CEO of Sidecar. “Capitalizing on the shifts—such as mobile’s growing role in purchasing—requires constant tracking, agility, and a holistic mindset. Retailers will sharpen their competitive edge by better understanding the interaction between search activity and shopping trends not only within e-commerce channels like Google Shopping, but across them as well.”

Other findings revealed in the 2018 report include early performance metrics for Showcase Shopping Ads and Absolute Top Impression Share, and insights into how retailers should approach Google Shopping in 2018 and beyond.

Shopper behavior is an always evolving variable. Capitalizing on the shifts—such as mobile’s growing role in purchasing—requires constant tracking, agility, and a holistic mindset.

The 2018 Google Shopping Benchmarks Report is Sidecar’s second annual report on the state of Google Shopping. Each year the report offers a comprehensive look at retailers’ performance in the channel, covering major metrics including revenue, AOV, ROAS, CPC, conversion rates, and more. Also included is Sidecar’s expert analysis on the factors driving the evolution of Google Shopping and its changing competitive environment.

Sidecar publishes all its retail marketing research on Sidecar Discover. Deeper analysis of findings from the 2018 Google Shopping Benchmarks Report will be posted on Discover in the coming weeks. Readers can subscribe to get notifications about these new articles as well as updates on Sidecar’s latest studies, expert commentary, and answers to critical retail marketing questions.



Sidecar is an e-commerce marketing company that builds the advanced technology retailers need to optimize cross-channel online shopping campaigns. With a team of data science and e-commerce experts, our state-of-the-art machine learning engine, and a massive volume of data, Sidecar is the magic behind retail’s most efficient and powerful online shopping campaigns.

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