Google announces new online-to-offline features on the cusp of the holiday shopping season

Google’s focus on local search the past couple of years has some expecting local search traffic to play a heightened role for brick and mortar retailers this coming holiday. Google is now teeing up some new shopping features ahead of the holiday shopping season.

The announcements, made by Kishore Kanakamedala, director of product management for online-to-offline solutions and livestreamed at 8:15 am ET from SMX East in New York on Tuesday morning, include ways for retailers with brick and mortar locations to drive and measure more store visits from Google properties.

Local Inventory Tie-In to Google Assistant

With voice searching becoming an ingrained habit for more consumers, Google is tying local inventory data into results provided via Google Assistant.

When users ask their phones or Google home, “Okay Google, Where can I buy _____ nearby?”, Google will show a list of local inventory results on their phones. To be eligible for inclusion in local inventory search, retailers need to upload their local inventory feeds to Google Merchant Center.

Local inventory in display ads

Earlier this year, Google added location extensions to display ads. Now, Google adding a local inventory display ad format that features promotions and local products from a retailers’ inventory feeds.

The pilot for this new local display ad format is now open to all advertisers that set up display campaigns and upload their assets, including a feed and images.

Apparel shopping updates

In mobile Shopping results for apparel searches, users will soon see filtering options for sizing, pricing and other criteria. The listings within Google Shopping are bigger and feature brand logos.

Earlier this year, Google rolled out support for Showcase Ads in AdWords Editor and the new AdWords interface. These are the ads designed for broad category queries that feature three product images related to the query. Google said Tuesday that early tests have shown to drive an increase in brand searches and click-assisted conversions leading to a purchase when compared to standard Shopping ads.

 

Store visits measurement updates

Along with the introduction of the local display format, Google is adding reporting for impression-based store visitsThe ability to measure store visits without needing an ad click is a fairly significant development on the trajectory of Google’s store visits measurement capabilities.

Google is also introducing three new reports to AdWords for store visits:

  • Time lag report – Shows the time between an ad click and a store visit.
  • Demographic report – Users can add store visits as a column to existing demographic reports.
  • New vs. returning customer report – This will show how many of store visits come from repeat customers. “Together with the time lag report, this can help you gauge how your ads drive incremental visits.”

People are watching other people shopping on YouTube

If unboxing videos were the big thing a year or two ago, Google says YouTube ‘shop with me’ videos in which people take viewers into stores and store tour videos, in which, yes average people give viewers tours through stores have seen watchtime grow over 10x on mobile in the past two years.

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