Shopping campaigns are becoming a major source of website clicks and revenue during the holiday season, and the “Shopping Campaigns: Play Like Every Day Is A Holiday” panel at SMX Advanced featured tips and advice from three PPC veterans: Ann Stanley, Todd Bowman, and Mona Elesseily.
Shopping ads and buy buttons are everywhere. Stanley explored those areas where ads are driven by product feeds, and clicks either lead to retailer websites or convert on host platforms. Her talk was full of data insights and provided a neat map divided into three conversion areas:
Thanks to Windows 10, Bing Shopping ads share is growing (21% US, 9% UK). With Google Shopping winning by volume, Bing nearly always shows lower CPCs. In terms of conversion and ROAS efficiency, results vary heavily by vertical. Bottom line: if you target the US or UK, give Bing a try to see how effective it could be for you.
Social commerce still carries the promise of incremental returns by opening the door for the impulse purchases in the digital world. Stanley subdivides the area into four main types, showing how the growth potential is backed up by a hugely diversified ecosystem:
Google starts using the Merchant Feed in many more areas: TrueView and the brand new Google Contextual Dynamic Creative carries product ads into YouTube videos and into the Display Network.
To think omnichannel is the new, old marketing imperative. Wait, but how? With different channels managed by different departments, this is clearly a tough task. Stanley comes to the rescue by showing smart remarketing techniques:
Stanley also made it clear that a good feed management software is at the heart of being able to scale product ads across channels.
Bowman started to show how important PLAs have become, especially in terms of click share against text ads. For Non-Brand, it rose to a staggering 70% on Google, and 27% on Bing for U.S. paid retail clicks.
Given that importance, departments need to collaborate closely to succeed during special sales periods like Black Friday. As product data quality is at the heart of online sales, the Merchandising department needs to gather excellent product information from suppliers when buying the products. It is exactly that information that the Web Development needs to expose on the website.
Marketers’ task is to make sure the quality data is used properly, e.g. in the Google Merchant feed. Marketers also need to look at past data — when did clicks occur that drove sales? People are doing research for deals much earlier, and just pushing bids on cyber weekend will cause them to miss out on a lot of sales.
When structuring Shopping campaigns, Bowman recommended analysing search queries and applying different bidding strategies: Generic queries like “Bluetooth Speaker” and a more targeted “JBL Bluetooth Speaker” may otherwise end up in the same campaign showing the same product and the same bid.
However, targeted traffic is more likely to convert and should thus be rewarded with a higher bid. That, According to Merkle, is a driver to affect the bottom line strongly in terms of revenue as well as ROAS. (At Crealytics, we focus on the same strategy and can confirm these findings.)
When connecting offline and online, Local Inventory Ads (LIA) offer opportunities to traditional stores. Not only can a store be easily located on Google Maps, but also do LIAs provide a way for potential shoppers near the store to learn about products and availability.
Google is testing a lot of new Shopping features, including a “Buy online, Pick up in Store” currently in Beta. Bowman expects the majority of digital ads in the future be powered by feeds. Yet the biggest LIA challenge remains to track store sales and offline orders to measure the value of its clicks. At least measuring store visits is, as of now, no longer a vision, with Google offering a “Store visits” beta.
We at Crealytics also expect GTINs to play a major role in conversion attribution in the future. As Bowman notes: Google keeps being very serious about this number, rigorously disapproving products that fail to carry them in the feed after a 30-day grace period.
Elesseily provided a healthy a mix between Shopping present and future: tactics and useful tools for today, as well as an outlook on the next Google Shopping features for tomorrow.
Combining Google Shopping & Dynamic Search Ads is a promising way to get additional shopping reach. Elesseily highly recommends to ask Google for help to set up additional DSA campaigns from the Merchant Center feed with their internal tools. Mix these with regular “backup” DSA campaigns to cover any product currently not in your feed. Bid low on the backup campaigns to avoid cannibalization, which can go up to a 25% in her experience.
As an estimated 74% of internet traffic will be video by 2017, YouTube should not be underestimated to leverage more reach. Combining Trueview for Shopping, layered with dynamic remarketing yield amazing results according to Elesseily.
In the past, “Similar Audiences” were only available for Display. But since the Google I/O Summit in May 2016, these are also available for Shopping, Search and DSA campaigns.
Intended to reach new customers, Similar Audiences are incremental and recent; audiences do not overlap with existing RLSA lists und remain 24 hours on the list only. Her bet is that you’ll have to include higher funnel audiences (e.g. cart abandoners) to get traction from Similar Audiences as lower funnel audiences (e.g. purchases in the last 30 days) will be too small to provide significant traction.
For Mobile optimization, Elesseily considers site speed a crucial factor. To get started, she recommends the official Think with Google tool, testmysite, which provides actionable recommendations customized to your site.
In addition to more Google inventory opening up for Shopping ads (like the image search) Driven by mobile and local initiatives, Elesseily sees online and offline growing together heavily. Beyond informing the shopper what he can expected to find in a store, better in-store attribution remains a core area of effort.
Siri Voice Search, Amazon Echo and Chat Bots will become more and more popular. This changes the way people shop today – towards something more of a conversation. Advertisers will have to find new ways on how to respond to shoppers’ questions.
On the long term, we can also expect Google Tango, an augmented reality framework, to bring new digital marketing opportunities into the game. It can project virtual products into images of the physical space in nearly real time – just think of examples like placing virtual furniture into a room to see if they fit before purchasing them.
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