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#12DaysofStrategy: My holiday sales aren’t where I want them. How do I fix this?

We are almost half-way through December and the Christmas shopping season is well under way. The digital marketing strategy for the festive period has been implemented and we will now begin to see indicators of whether it is paying off… or not.

We all hope that analysing trends and lessons from previous years and developing new, clever ideas to reach shoppers in a different way will maximise sales. However, people are unpredictable and consumer behaviour changes all the time. Therefore, it is rare that campaigns go exactly the way they were planned, and in some cases, sales may be behind where we want them to be. If this is the case, do not panic; the holiday shopping period is not over. It is time to delve down into the details of the campaigns to identify exactly what is working, and what is not.

Devices

The changes in the way consumers use devices in their path to conversion has been a topic of discussion across the industry for the last couple of years, both in the way we use different devices, and using multiple devices in the user journey.

The ability to modify bids for desktop, tablet, and mobile separately on AdWords was not available this time last year. Therefore reviewing performance across devices on a continual basis is incredibly important, and could make a significant difference to campaigns. Do not only consider last click data when making bid adjustments. If possible, have a look at other attribution models to see if any devices are having an influence earlier on the path to conversion.

Demographics and Audience Data

Improvements in audience data and targeting by age and gender has been a focus of Google over the past year, most likely due to Facebook having this readily available for advertisers to use. With these features on paid search, not only are we able to target users based on their search intent, but we can overlay this targeting to hone in on the consumer most likely to convert.

If you do not have many audience lists or demographics applied to your campaigns, set them up as bid only. Let the data build up on the lists over the coming days and weeks, then apply some bid modifiers to bid up where performance is stronger than the average, and bid down where performance is weaker.
If you have been taking full advantage of these features, whether you are using bid modifiers, or have split out campaigns based on audience lists or demographics, review the data over the past couple of weeks. You will most likely see different trends from last year, or even the past few months, then adjust the bid modifiers where appropriate.

Facebook & Instagram Campaign Structure

It is often tempting to set up paid social campaigns and let them run. However, if you are not seeing performance where you would like it to be, demographics and devices are good places to start. This will provide insight into ages, genders, or devices to exclude from targeting due to poor performance, as well as indicate those which are driving the results so far.

The granularity of campaigns on Facebook can depend on spend limits, with minimum advert set budgets specified by Facebook. However, if you do have some budget to play with, explore the option of splitting your advert sets out further by device or demographics. Take a look at the data you have so far, and break out the advert sets by whichever segment sees the largest variances in performance. This more granular structure will allow poorer performing audience segments to be identified more easily in order to channel more spend into the top performing areas.

Time of Day Bidding

With a couple of weeks of data for December, this is the perfect time to review the time of day and day of week bid modifiers applied to paid search campaigns. Ensure all campaigns have hour of day segments applied, then bid up or down based on the performance of the campaigns at the different times.
For Facebook, if activity is limited by the budget and lifetime budgets are being used, advertisers have the ability to turn activity off by hour. Segment the performance stats for advert sets by hour and day to identify if any hours can be turned off due to poorer performance. This will allow budget to be channelled into top performing times of the day.

Google Shopping Structure

The middle of the holiday season is not the time to make any major changes to the structure of shopping campaigns; however there may be some adjustments which can help to improve top line performance. Drill down into each product group, and break out both the products which are driving sales and those which are spending the most. This will allow bids to be adjusted at a more granular level. Decrease bids on the products which are spending a lot, but not generating the desired return. Increase bids on the products which are performing well, but do have impression share maximised.

Paid Search Keywords

It is the task which many of us want to put off, however search query reports for paid search are key to ensuring budgets are being spent as efficiently as possible. Make sure all the irrelevant search queries are excluded from campaigns. Pull these reports on a regular basis as there are always new queries. Add any search terms which are driving sales through non-exact campaigns into the account as exact match. This will allow you to keep an eye on these keywords, and manipulate bids on them specifically.

Paid Search Ad Group Granularity

For paid search campaigns, review the keywords in each ad group to make sure they are all closely related. If there are any which are not, split them out into a new ad group and amend the ads where possible to contain the keyword. This is to ensure that your ads are as relevant as possible to the search terms they appear for, which will help improve quality score. As a guide, we recommend a maximum of five keywords per ad group. If there are any more than this, the ad group will likely benefit from being split out.

Ad Copy Messaging

It is not only ad relevance in paid search which is important; users also need to be served appropriate messaging, and this applies across all digital marketing activity. It is easy to fall into the trap of running with ad copy which is familiar to us as advertisers. It may have performed the best in the past, but on-going testing is crucial to a successful campaign. Often, we are limited by both promotional messaging and character limits, therefore testing does not need to be anything drastic, and during peak sales times it should not be. Test one section of the ad, whether it is the headline in paid search ads, the image in Facebook ads, or the call to actions. Make sure the unique selling points which differentiate you from competitors are highlighted.

If you have some tests up and running already, now is the time to review the results. Think carefully about which metrics are most important to your goals, then pause the ad variation which is lower performing, and set up a new test for the coming weeks. If you do not have any tests running, get some set-up. The ad variation feature released earlier this year in AdWords is a great way to do this quickly without having to create lots of new ads. It allows advertisers to simply find and replace in ads. If you are nervous about testing the unknown over such an important sales period, the tool allows tests to be run across a proportion of impressions, so set the test to only run on 20% of impressions for example.
Hopefully, some of these tips will be useful for improving performance of both paid search and paid social campaigns over the festive sales period.

Before starting to look deeper into your accounts, remind yourself of the goals of the different campaigns over the holiday period and think about the KPIs which are most important to each aspect of the activity. If you want to see more tips on how to run online Shopping campaigns, then please check out How Holistic Marketing Can Support The Festive Season

Stay tuned to more from our 12 Days of Christmas Strategy blog series.

#12DaysofStrategy: How Holistic Marketing Can Support The Festive Season

As Christmas Day approaches, there is fierce competition in the retail industry to close sales. At the same time, users turn to researching online to find the perfect Christmas gift. Through their research, a user will come into contact with a variety of touch points where holistic marketing can support the users’ journey to conversion.

Holistic marketing refers to the coming together of different marketing aspects. Syncing multiple digital marketing channels, including Programmatic Display, Paid Search and Paid Social activity can be used to create a seamless brand story to take the user through to converting.

For example, a user may be interested in purchasing the latest smartphone for a family member this Christmas. Buying a smartphone is a considered purchase, requiring thorough investigation before commitment. There are also dozens of Phone Providers to could choose from, so why choose your brand?

Programmatic Display

At the beginning of the consumer journey, the prospective buyer is likely to be interested in increasing their knowledge of this topic, and so the user may research phones online. Whilst doing their research they may find themselves on tech-sites and blog reviews to help them make their decision. As part of the phone provider’s Display marketing strategy, Display banners featuring messaging on the brand’s great range could be contextually aligned with the content on these sites. The call to action on the banners at this stage of the users’ journey should be more generic, opting for ‘Shop Now’ rather than ‘Buy Now’.

Paid Search

After seeing the Display banner, the user may want to find out more about the phone provider’s range, and so continues their journey by searching for them on a Search Engine. This stage of the journey can be supported through Paid Search activity with an ad featuring Christmas messaging as well as messaging which compliments their Display banners. If a user clicks through to the website, then after acquiring the information they need, the user may continue their daily business to give time to digest the information.

Paid Social

Later on, the user may go on one of their social media accounts. As part of the brands integrated marketing approach, the user could be retargeted with a banner through a Paid Social campaign which features information about the phone provider’s great Christmas offers relating to the phone they were researching. The call-to-action will now become less generic and more sales led. To complete the path to conversion, the user may click on the banner or make their own way to the website.

By considering this holistic approach, the user will be provided with a seamless story across the marketing channels which ensures a strong brand message which can help the consumer make an informed decision and support the journey to conversion to ultimately drive sales for the brand.

Stay tuned to more from our ‘12 Days of Christmas Strategy‘ blog series.

#12DaysofStrategy: Taking your Shopping Campaigns to the Next Level

With Christmas just around the corner, brands are pushing for the last sales before Christmas day. This year the industry has seen online sales over Christmas have soared by 12% with many traditional high street retailers allocating more budget towards digital marketing and online advertising. With the rise of Amazon Prime, same day delivery and Click & Collect, Christmas shopping has never been so stress-free.

Despite online shopping becoming more popular over the years, the market space has also become increasingly saturated and extremely competitive, especially around Christmas, the most exciting time of the year. Hence it becomes important for advertisers to be more strategic and creative with online shopping strategies.

Preparing your holiday Google Shopping campaigns is almost the same as getting your high-street shop window ready for the festive season. A well-optimised feed with attractive item titles and stand out images will not only attract more customers to your site, but a smoother customer journey is also more likely to increase the conversion rate.

Below are a few tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your Product Listing Ads this Christmas. Most of these are simple to set-up and a few hours of work will ensure extra sales from areas you haven’t explored before. If in doubt, ask one of the experts at NMPi.

Feed Optimisation

Google Product Listing ads are triggered based on how well the search term matches the product title and description. So, if your products fit into the gifting, partywear or festive food category then remember to include Christmas themed keywords in your product titles and descriptions so that they appear for the relevant search terms. For instance, if you’re promoting “stocking filler gifts under £5”, then remember to add this description to the relevant items in the product feed.

Use of Custom Labels

The use of custom labels will help you categorise and subdivide the products in your feed which can really help with reporting and bidding. Assigning Christmas related Custom Labels will make bid management a lot quicker. You can save time by setting up rules and bid strategies, meaning that you can spend more time elsewhere. For instance, if you have novelty products that fit into the Secret Santa category, then label it with “Secret Santa” and push the bids up for products within this category during the first two weeks of December when most people are looking for Secret Santa gifts.

Query Level Bidding

Query Level Bidding allows you to bid differently on different types of keywords and more specifically separate your product terms from your generics. Like traditional pure search campaigns, generic and product name terms convert differently as they are aimed at customers at separate parts of the sales funnel. To ensure the highest return on investment (especially with the high spends around Christmas) you want to bid higher on brand and product name search queries which are more likely to lead to a conversion and lower on generic prospecting terms. There are online tutorials on how to set this up, but the focus around Query Level Bidding is to get the priority setting, negative keywords and base CPCs set up correctly.

Currency Converted Shopping

Do you have an English feed, ship internationally and are already running Google shopping in the UK, US or Australia? Good news! Thanks to Google currency conversion, you can now target multiple countries using one English feed. This minimises the time spent on preparing another feed, and most important of all, you don’t need to make any changes to your existing website. Currency converted shopping takes minutes to setup and it’s the quickest way of getting your products in front of potential international customers when the intent to buy is at its highest.

We hope you found these tips useful and will help you drive more online sales from PLAs this season. If you want to see more tips on how to run online Shopping campaigns, then please check out The Essential Guide to Google Shopping.

Stay tuned to more from our ‘12 Days of Christmas Strategy‘ blog series.

Fashion Made Easy with Google’s Shop the Look

Last year, Google made mobile shopping from search results a cinch when it launched ‘buy on Google’ and ‘checkout’ buttons, turning casual browsing into cash. They’ve taken it one step further in 2016 by partnering with Polyvore, Curalate, and LiketoKnow.it to get users to purchase items directly. The goal: to make search even more lucrative.

It seems to have been successful venture. Google tested Shop the Look recently during New York Fashion Week. Those within the US who searched for details of the event on their mobile would be shown curated images which enabled them to shop for products directly.

IMG_3471 After clicking on 'Shop the show' fashion fans are taken to a page where they can purchase what they've just seen.

After clicking on ‘Shop the show’ fashion fans are taken to a page where they can purchase what they’ve just seen.

Even if shoppers don’t have a particular brand in mind, Shop the Look can still can guide users towards a purchase. How? Users can Google an article of clothing, such as “cocktail dress”, and like items will be shown in the form of Google Shopping ads. Images will be sourced from bloggers, retailers, and publishers, whilst products will be sourced from Google Shopping inventory. Retailers will be charged on a cost-per-click basis, with impressions and clicks reported within shopping campaigns.

Shop the Look offers retailers another opportunity to turn the casual browser into a buyer by making shopping for favourite designers and clothing, an easy, convenient experience. Combined with behind-the-scenes access, videos and images, mobile users can engage with the latest fashions, and designers, and with a few easy clicks, purchase what they see immediately.

This is a clear attempt to vie for space in online shopping against retail giants Amazon and eBay. Google hopes to take the success it garnered from Fashion Week and move further into apparel, and expand into home decor. Shop the Look is currently available in limited locations.

 

The Impact of GTINs on Google Shopping

In February, Google announced its latest PLA requirement would become mandatory on Google Shopping: the implementation of GTINs across products sold by multiple sellers. As of May 16, they formally enforced the rule across the board. Google first broke the news last August when it initially issued the requirement to only fifty brands. Now Google is expanding this to include all brand name products or services.

What are GTINs?
GTINs are the barcode of google shopping. Every product has one, but not every customer looks at them. However, they are a unique code that identifies and provides important details about every product in the Google Shopping catalogue; and now they play a vital role in Google Shopping.

Why Implement GTINs?
Google implemented this regulation to keep tabs on what retailers and service providers are selling on its platform, saying that by knowing what’s being sold, they can help merchants boost their ad performance. The addition of the GTIN has allowed Google Shopping merchants to serve their ads in more places, and with Google’s partners, thereby bringing conversation rates up by 20%. A successful test conducted in September 2015 determined that GTINs improved CTR by up to 40%. As a result, Google has required all brand name products within Google Shopping feeds to have a GTIN.

Who is Affected?
Merchants targeting Australia, Brazil, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the UK or the US, must affix a corresponding GTIN on all new, in-stock, and branded products in order to comply with Google’s requirement for Google Shopping. Merchants advertising pre-order, used, handmade, custom made, or vintage items will not be impacted because these products are unique, and only being sold in one place.

What has been the impact?
This has been time consuming for advertisers who don’t already have this data within their feed. It required sourcing potentially 100s of GTINs. Regarding overall performance, GTINs have only been a requirement from May so there hasn’t been enough time to see any significant change.

Want to know more about 2016’s trends? Download our mid-year review

How Google Shopping Can Benefit you this Holiday Season

As the second holiday season unfolds for Google Shopping, merchants can feel confident that this heavily direct-response focused channel will reap substantial rewards during the last few months of 2015.

Here are some key points advertisers should know about Google Shopping and consumer trends going into this holiday season:

Merry Mobile: The Virtual Holiday Shopper
While shopping days like Black Friday will remain big for brick and mortar retailers, online merchants are closing the gap with the help of mobile. People are now using their mobiles as virtual shopping carts and shop assistants, signalling a dramatic change in consumer behaviour.

Online purchases have dramatically increased over the past year thanks to mobile, and it’s expected to continue to rise over the course of 2016. It is the merchants who are advertising on mobile this holiday season that will take their sales to the next level since 40% of holiday shopping now takes place online, and 48% of shoppers indicated that they start their holiday shopping well before Black Friday. Google Shopping is the perfect advertising platform to take advantage of this holiday mobile rush.

Retailers can expect to see a massive shift in the way consumers do their holiday shopping as purchases made via mobile and tablet increase. Shopping is no longer a frantic activity that takes place on a few peak days over the holiday season; consumers are now researching and making purchases while they sip coffee, walk the dog, watch TV or stand in line at the bank. Mobile is creating a space for these “micro-moments,” shopping can occur anytime, anywhere.  Inside Adwords suggested, “Shopping moments will replace shopping marathons. There is no longer a sense of urgency since every day is shopping day.”

NMPi Account Director, Leonie Tamkin remarked, “Part of this shift has come from the fact that online we’ve seen such a huge surge in purchases on Black Friday, with more people wanting to be prepared early. Merchants have allocated more of their digital budgets into Black Friday shopping. Black Friday is a time when consumers are going to be searching for the best deals which is where Google Shopping becomes more important as a price comparison tool.”

What’s Missing: Google Shopping Assortment Report
How can retailers take advantage of these shopping micro-moments? By optimising their feeds and staying on top of the latest shopping trends with the newly launched Shopping Assortment Report, merchants can review and refine the products they are offering. The report displays the most popular items that competitors are showing ads for, and gaining traffic from, that aren’t in their product feeds. It also provides information on the benchmark prices for these recommended items.

This information will be vital as the holiday season kicks into high gear as it gives merchants important information about potential missing revenue that can be easily recouped by adjusting their product range and stocking that product. Merchants can review the last 14 days of activity on the Shopping Assortment Report to determine what’s working, what they’ve missed, and note changes or trends occurring over the holiday season.  The report also encourages more fluidity between digital and buying teams from the advertisers’ side because these reports can help shape buying strategies.

Online Activity and In-Store Holiday Purchases
Retailers looking for a successful holiday season must blend their virtual and physical presence. Online activity and in-store activity are no longer separate segments of the path to purchase. Consumers are seamlessly combining online and in-store activities blurring the line between online and offline purchasing.

Google Shopping has honed in on this trend with local inventory ads that provide consumers with important details such as stock availability, location, and product detail at their local stores when they’re on the move. This feature goes hand in hand with the increasing trend of researching online, then purchasing offline. It’s also a great method to drive footfall for the purchase of products that require more consideration. Google Shopping has also made mobile purchases even easier by implementing a feature that allows customers to swipe over the desired product to reveal relevant information. This could translate into an increase in holiday sales.

Brick and mortar stores have increasingly become distribution centres where holiday shoppers come to retrieve online purchases. Merchants eager to increase their take this holiday season need to adjust their marketing strategies to align with these trends in consumer behaviour, while continuing to provide a convenient and personal shopping experience.

Summary
Google shopping can offer a big boost to retailers this holiday season if merchants heed these changes in shopping habits.  87% of consumers do their research online first before finalising a purchase in-store.  By understanding this change in consumer behaviour and the growing impact that mobile has on the way people shop, Google shopping gives merchants the opportunity to take advantage of these micro moments, the popularity of location based shopping, and to keep on top of product trends.

What-is-Google-Shopping



What’s New in Paid Search

As 2015 draws to a close, it’s time to celebrate our achievements, but also reflect on the next stage of the paid search landscape in 2016. We have identified the top trends for agencies and brands to watch for in the coming year. There were considerable developments to the paid search arena; here are some key take aways:


What’s Working: Brands

It looks like the two biggest movers in paid search for 2016 will be conversion rate optimisation and social advertising, while text ads, mobile, and remarketing remain tried and true channels for paid search. Brands have been extremely pleased with their 2015 PPC results and have earmarked substantially more spend towards paid search campaigns for 2016. The largest gains in this area appear to be, unsurprisingly, in mobile with a 75% industry-wide increase in mobile advertising predicted for the next year. Automation software also ranked highly with brands as it cut down on wastage and returned profitable results.

Customer Match
With mobile engagement on the rise, taking home 25% of all shopping transactions, Google has come out with 2 new products that tap into this unique venue: Customer Match, and Universal App Campaigns. Customer Match has been likened to Facebook Audiences and gives brands the ability to upload email addresses to Google. Customer Match is available across YouTube, TruView, Gmail, and the Google Display Network. This is a powerful new tool that allows brands to recapture former customers, cross-sell, personalise PPC ads, follow customers across devices, and create look-alikes.

Coming to an App Store Near You
Google has created a new campaign for marketers, dubbed ‘Universal App Campaigns’ because the ads reach across Google’s platforms. This ties in neatly with Google putting out search ads in the Google Play Store this past February to help developers stand out in the crowd.

Google Shopping Update: Don’t Miss Out
Google has enhanced its PLAs and shopping campaigns to showcase items merchants are missing in their feeds. Shopping assortment reports allow marketers to uncover products they may not be offering, but that are popular with shoppers. This provides an opportunity to add coveted products to their feed and capture new business.

Location, Location, Location
A recent update to ad customisers enables brands and agencies to tailor ads based on a person’s location. Mobile users now have important purchasing information at their fingertips: store inventory, store hours, shipping information and location, all at the regional level. Location targeting will continue to be big going into 2016, especially since searches by mobile users can convert into sales quickly, in some instances, immediately or within the hour.

Making It Personal
The push for personalisation remains strong as we move into 2016. Personalising the user experience has never been easier with multiple avenues readily available for relevant targeting: behaviour, location and preference. Connecting meaningfully with new and past customers has been a key objective for agencies and brands and will continue to do so in the coming months.

 

More Updates to Google Shopping, What Does this Mean for you?


 
Last week Google released several new updates to Google Shopping campaigns, formally known as Product Listing Ads or PLAs, just in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We chatted with Net Media Planet Analyst, James Pendleton, to discuss what these changes are and how you can expect them to affect your PLA campaigns in the upcoming month.
 

1) Addition of PLA Auction Insights

 
Google Shopping data metrics now include Impression Share, Overlap Rate, and Outranking Share at Campaign and Ad group level.
 
With the original Google Shopping transition came the first competitive metrics for shopping. These included benchmark CTRs, CPCs and impression shares. They are important metrics to look at for optimisation, however; with these new insights users can compare their metrics to the competition benchmark. For instance, Overlap Rate now allows users to view key competitors who appear in Shopping Search results at the same time as their ads appear. This will help retailers to stay on top of competition by viewing trends and strategic opportunities.
 

 
Furthermore, all of these new insight metrics can be further segmented by device and time. This gives advertisers the ability to compare themselves against competitors with even greater detail. As mobile becomes a more valuable space this information will be critical to success.
 

2) Improved Search Impression Share

 
PLA impression share will no longer be calculated from campaign level but from customer ID level. Incidentally, this is how Google Search currently calculates Impression Share.
 
Google is making an effort to align Google Shopping features to those of text ads. Besides the one-time change in impression share when comparing October and November there should be no impact on how you manage the campaign. This will be useful when making optimisation decisions as there will be consistency between text ads and PLAs during data analysis.
 

3) New Columns for Predictive Bid Simulator Metrics

 
The Predictive Bid Simulator allows you to estimate how bid changes can impact your impressions. Google’s update allows users to download predictive information into a standardised report.
 
Although, currently this update will not have much of an effect on the overall product, the information produced by the Bid Simulator is a useful basis from which to start forecasting on optimisation scenarios.
 

4) Ability to Sort Product Groups by Performance

 
Impression Share percentage and other columns can now be sorted from product group data.
 
This is another function that will not greatly affect Google Shopping campaigns but it will help to give advertisers a better overview of product group performance by sorting important benchmark columns quickly.
 

5) New Diagnostics Tab in the Merchant Center

 
Within AdWords, The Data Quality tab has been replaced by the new Diagnostics Tab.
 
The work involved in troubleshooting and comparing AdWords performance to ProductFeed content is cumbersome. The new Diagnostics Tab will save time with the ability to download a report of issues with the feed at the ID-level from AdWords.
 

6) Merchant Promotions for non-US Advertisers

 
This is the most visual update made by Google. It enables retailers to show promotions within their PLAs on search results and Google Shopping.
 

 
Until now this option has only been available within the US market but Google has opened Merchant Promotions to United Kingdom, Germany, France, Australia and India just in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This feature will be incredibly beneficial to retailers who take advantage of it, as it highlights the benefit of purchasing from a retail website at the moment consumers are deciding where to shop. It makes the offer more enticing to the consumer with its visual icon.
 

Overview

Overall, we are seeing major alignments between Google Shopping and AdWords reporting, which will ultimately increase optimisation efficiencies between the two. With the Christmas peak just around the corner you can take a couple of these updates and implement them straight away to help improve your campaign performance. We recommend implementing the Merchant Promotions, as such a visual statement can give you a competitive advantage when consumers are ready to buy. Also, make sure you take advantage of the competitive insights now available when considering bid prices. These simple updates can have a large impact on your campaign when implemented correctly.
 
If you are interesting in implementing a Google Shopping campaign for your company and would like our help, please don’t hesitate to contact us via our website.

Simpler Shopping On Mobile

Google’s Product Listing Ads (PLAs) are beginning to play a major role in the digital marketing strategies of retail brands. Over the past year they have soared in popularity, and this growth looks set to continue. Indeed, recent research from Marin Software shows that retail advertisers have increased spending on PLAs by approximately 300%*.

 

Following this growth, Google is now expanding the reach of PLAs even further, with the recent launch of a new version of mobile PLAs.

 

Given the size of the opportunities for retailers to connect with mobile shoppers using PLAs, we decided to put the new mobile PLA update to the test.

 

Understanding the new mobile PLAs:

Consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices not only to research but also to buy products. Google’s recently updated version of mobile PLAs has now made it simpler for consumers to quickly and easily browse products. One key new function is the new swipe feature, which allows users to swipe across the screen to browse all of the products. Not only does this enable users to browse more products from the initial search results page, they can also view larger product images and longer, descriptive product titles. This update has also given more retailers the opportunity to appear on the mobile PLA unit, as the screenshot below shows:

 

Example mobile PLAs:

 

 

Testing out mobile PLAs:

To conduct a test of the new version of mobile PLAs, we analysed performance data of an existing PLA campaign being run for one of our online retail clients, which was opted in for all devices. Mobile has consistently performed well for this client, and currently holds 14% share of traffic and a 7% share of sales from PLAs, with an outstanding conversion rate of 4.8%!

 

Following the launch of our campaign with the updated Google mobile PLAs, we noticed an initial decrease in CTR which could have been due to initial usability issues, with users unaware of the new scroll feature. It is worth mentioning, that even if the product is not seen, it will still warrant the impression but not the click and could affect CTR as a result.

 

Following the initial drop in performance, the number of clicks from mobile PLAs quickly started to increase, as shown in the graph below. Over the 8 week reporting period, the share of sales from PLAs on mobile increased by a significant +29%.

 

Campaign data pre- and post- launch of the new mobile PLA:

 

In conclusion:

Although it is early days and the test analysed a relatively small data set, there are some interesting insights. Certainly, the results suggest that Google have developed something that is far more in tune with how users are searching for and looking at products.

 

Furthermore, the marked increase in performance with this campaign demonstrates the growing value of PLAs on mobile for retailers, and the growing importance of mobile for connecting consumers researching the best places to buy products, both online and in store.

 

Therefore, if you have not already set up your PLA campaigns into mobile, we recommend carrying out initial testing by applying appropriate mobile bid adjustments. This will help to capture more searches which are relevant to your product set.

 

Mobile PLAs could provide a potentially profitable new way to reach new consumers and incrementally grow your business. Certainly, with advertiser investment continuing to increase, and the on-going success of the PLA format, they seem here to stay.

 

 

*http://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/industry-insights/retailers-increase-spending-on-product-listing-ads-by-300

 

Understanding the new Google Shopping changes

Google recently announced the launch of a new campaign type for Google Shopping. This new update will fundamentally change the way in which Product Listing Ad (PLA) campaigns are managed.

 

So what does this mean for advertisers? We catch up with one of our Search specialist’s, James, to get the low down on the new changes:

 

Q. What are the changes that have been announced?

A. Google announced the release of a new way to structure PLAs under the name of ‘Shopping Campaigns’. With Product Listing Ads (PLAs) continuing to perform strongly in the retail sector this new release is designed to make managing PLAs easier for advertisers. Though it is worth noting that with this ‘ease’ come significant changes to the way in which PLAs are created in AdWords.

 

Q. So what are the main differences with ‘Shopping Campaigns’?

A. The output will look the same to the consumer. Where we will see real differences will be in the campaign structure and management. Some of the main changes include;

  • The ability to give campaigns high/medium/ low priority – This will allow advertisers to prioritise a campaign if a product appears in multiple campaigns
  • The way of selecting products – Products can be selected by product feed attributes (e.g. Product type). In addition, a number of new ‘custom labels’ (0-5) have been added to the product feed attributes which can be used for segmentation
  • Ad groups – These will now be called ‘product groups’ and can then be further segmented (up to 7 times) by other feed columns (such as brand or custom labels)
  • There is another useful segmentation feature which is the option to group ‘everything else’ together

 

Q. What does this new update mean for advertisers?

A. The new Shopping Campaigns will make it much easier for advertisers to set up, manage and maintain PLAs. For example, instead of breaking out ad groups from all of your products, you can create new ‘product groups’. However advertisers experienced with Google Shopping may find this new more simplistic approach rather limiting in its scope.

 

With the new simpler structure we can also expect more advertisers to experiment with Google Shopping, which means that in time competition, and advertising costs, will rise as a result.

 

Q. What are the risks to advertisers with these changes?

A. Advertisers without carefully structured products feeds will struggle to take full advantage of the benefits of this new campaign structure, and could potentially lose market share to their competitors as a result.

 

There is an additional risk to performance levels if the transfer is not carefully managed or products are not suitably segmented. For example, granular bidding is limited by the segmentation of the campaign, and so a poorly set up structure would lose the carefully set up bids from the historic PLAs.

 

Q. What are the benefits for advertisers?

A. There are clearly a number of advantages for advertisers. I would say that the top benefits are;

  • The ability to easily browse products in the feed through the Adwords interface
  • Better segmentation options such as ‘everything else’ rather than ‘all products’
  • It’s easier to view performance by product segment
  • There is more data available on the competitor landscape such as impression share, benchmark CTR, benchmark CPC, bid simulator data
  • The ability to edit in bulk is now available

 

Q. What are you looking forward to testing with your client’s campaigns?

A. I look forward to using the new feature to prioritise top products as this will give us more control on which products show, which is more difficult with existing PLA activity.

 

I also think that access to up-to-date data on impression share and bids will enable us to put together more accurate projections and optimise the best performing non-brand activity.

 

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Thanks James for your thoughts on this! It’s clearly early days, and we will continue to explore what the changes will mean for advertisers going forward. Watch this space! In the meantime if you have any questions or queries with your Google Shopping campaigns then please don’t hesitate to get in touch!