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.


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.

4 Steps to Making the Most Out of Christmas

It’s that time of year again. The leaves are turning brown and the days colder. For many of us that means breaking out our winter coats but for most retail marketers it means that Christmas is already in full swing and Black Friday is approaching at a rapid pace.
So, what can we expect this Christmas from consumers? During our Digital Breakfast Seminar, Google’s Matt Bush outlined 4 tips on how to approach this Christmas Season.

1) Think Digital

There are over 100 billion search queries on Google each month and of that 15% are new never before searched terms. We are turning more often to the internet to answer our questions, to find what we are looking for, and to shop. In fact, according to IMRG, 1 in 5 purchases are made online.
For most companies being visible online is imperative, but it’s not just organic search that matters. According to Mintel Digital Trends, “52% of those who clicked on an online ad in the last 3 months purchased as a result of an ad click.” Furthermore, IAB’s research has found that from January-June 2014 there was a £3.462 bn ad spend increase year on year. Search and Display hold 57% and 27%, respectively, of the ad spend share. However, Display leads the way with highest like for like growth of 30.1%.
We are seeing incredible growth within the digital advertising industry. As technology continues to grow, enabling smarter targeting and more engaging creative formats, so does the effectiveness of digital campaigns. With advertising capabilities such as, location based advertising and the increase in wearable technology the opportunities are tremendous.

2) Think Mobile

Smartphones are rocking the digital world this Christmas. According to Google data, for the first time we will see 13 days of the year where mobile searches exceed those of desktop and tablet. Not too surprisingly those days all happen across November and December.
Investing in a mobile optimised website is a must. Mobify’s study found that around 30% of mobile shoppers abandon a transaction if the experience is not optimised for mobile. With £3bn worth of sales coming through mobile devices last December (IMRG – CapGemini) and even greater predicted growth for 2014, a retailer cannot afford to lose out by not having a mobile app or website.
Furthermore, mobile devices are influencing purchasing decisions outside of the digital space. Google found that location based ads led 32% to visit stores / make purchases and 19% to make unplanned visits / purchases. While these percentages may not be entirely devoted to in-store purchases in 2013, Deliotte Digital reported that £18bn of UK in-store retail sales were influenced by smartphones.
Quick Mobile Stats:
• Mobile ecommerce grew +100% Year over Year
• Mobile accounted for 27% of all online sales
• 39% of UK smartphone owners use their smartphones to buy goods

3) Think Engagement

We are constantly being told that we need to engage our customers. It is true that in today’s fast paced media savvy world, consumers no longer want the sales pitch approach but are looking for a more tailored interactive experience. For some this could involve creating communities through social media or holding webinars. For many retailers however, there is another approach, Google Shopping, also known as PLAs.
Google Shopping is a visual way for consumers to search for retail goods. It’s engaging content draws the eye more so than normal search results. According to Google, PLAs will drive approximately 33% of 2014’s retail traffic. That is an increase of 10% year on year.

Net Media Planet analyst, James Pendlton, states, “We see a much higher conversion rate on Google Shopping. The image allows consumers to see if the product fits their needs and with the price below they can determine whether it is within their budget. Consumers who click on these ads are generally closer to the bottom of the purchasing funnel.” There is little doubt that Google Shopping can give retailers a competitive advantage this holiday season.


4) Plan Ahead

It isn’t too late to take advantage of the influx of online shopping that occurs between the end of November and December.
We will leave you with some search trends and tips to consider to help you optimise your holiday strategy.
• ‘Do it yourself’ and ‘How to’ searches are on the rise this season. Look at keywords like ‘homemade Christmas,’ ‘inspiration,’ ‘cake recipes,’ homemade gift ideas,’ ‘decorations,’ and ‘last minute.’ Perhaps write a few ‘do it yourself’ holiday blogs this season.
• Mondays have the highest online search volumes for Christmas presents. Net Media Planet Analyst, Nimi Gupta says, “maximise opportunity on the busiest day of the week this Christmas. Increase your bids and expand those budget caps on Mondays.”
• Mobile activity will peak during weekends throughout December. Mobile PLAs can be an extremely effective way of generating sales, if your site is mobile optimised.
• Fashion related searches peak for two weeks from Cyber Monday. Top Q4 2013 searches included, ‘ankle boots,’ ‘baby clothes,’ ‘Chelsea boots,’ ‘Christmas jumpers,’ ‘dresses,’ ‘evening dresses,’ ‘handbags,’ ‘lingerie,’ ‘maternity clothes,’ ‘men coats,’ ‘parka coats,’ ‘party dresses,’ and ‘womens boots.’

Net Media Planet gets down and Dirty at Spitalfields Farm

Thursday the 13th of November the Net Media Planet team had their community day at Spitalfields City Farm in Whitechapel, London. The farm was originally setup in 1978 by volunteers and to this day houses a selection of animals including, cows, pigs, donkeys, goats, and bees. There is also an extensive garden, where volunteers help to grow affordable organic food for our community. You almost forget you are in London surrounded by this oasis of plants and animals that is, until a tube passes by or you look up and see the Gherkin in the distance.
For mid-November we couldn’t have asked for a better day. We worked on a multitude of projects to help the farm including, shovelling manure, cleaning up leaves, and laying bark mulch for the bulls.
Here’s what our team had to say:


“It was dirty, cold and back breaking work but it was thoroughly enjoyable.”


“It was great experience for the team to get outside and bond in a different working environment out of the office! Everyone worked well together within their teams and fortunately, no one was afraid to get their hands dirty on the job. It was a perfect chance for practical skills to flourish and for team members who don’t work together directly on a day-to-day basis, to get the opportunity to do so on the different tasks.”


“It was an interesting experience and lots of fun. I also appreciated how I had the chance to talk and work with other people in the company who I hadn’t had the opportunity to speak too much before.”


“I had a good time. It was refreshing to get out of the office and put our minds to something different, and it was great that we were able to actually produce something – Christmas tree stands in our case. By the end of the day, we could really feel that we had contributed to the farm.”

Overall, the team had a great time helping out at the farm and got to experience something new.
If you would like to get involved in helping to support Spitalfields City Farm you can make a donation on their website or hold your own community day.

We’re Moving!


Net Media Planet has been expanding so rapidly that in less than three years we have outgrown our current office in Farringdon. In order to keep up with the demand for space and especially meeting rooms we are moving office to nearby Angel.

Our move will commence on the 24th of November into the newly designed Suncourt House. Our new address will be:

Net Media Planet
Suncourt House, Level 3
18-26 Essex Road
London N1 8LN

Office Design

Guests will be greeted at our brand new reception, as seen illustrated below. We will upgrade from 2 meeting rooms to 4, plus an informal meeting room tucked around the corner of the kitchen.


There will be a spacious kitchen with stunning views of London. The most important feature of our Suncourt House office is that there is plenty of room to grow even further.
We will be sad to leave our Farringdon office as we have had so many great memories here. However, there is an air of excitement within the office as many are thrilled for what this change means for the company. This move is a great step to the future and our continual progress as a company.

How Papa John’s Takes a Slice Out of Advertising


At Performance Marketing Insights’ Sri Sharma, CEO of Net Media Planet, sat down with Papa John’s Senior Director of Marketing, Andrew Gallagher, for a Fireside Chat to delve into some of the challenges facing the marketing industry today. The conversation was a candid look into how Papa John’s is gaining market share against pizza giants such as Dominos and Pizza Hut through a clever marketing strategy.



Gallagher talked about the intricacies of the pizza sector and its competition. For starters, the pizza industry is worth £2 billion a year, and half of that business is done by independent pizza shops. The three main players are Dominos, Pizza Hut and Papa John’s, with Dominos dominating the sector. What’s interesting about these three companies is that they are all franchises, and for Papa John’s that means that their marketing budget is supplied to them by their franchised stores. That fact paired with the industry being notoriously driven by impulse and discounts has greatly determined how and where Papa John’s spend their marketing budget.


For Papa John’s, whose yearly marketing budget is limited compared to their competition, their overall marketing strategy is what Gallagher calls “smart spending.” With fewer store fronts than both Dominos and Pizza Hut their leaflets act as their shop window encouraging those impulse purchases. To maximise the effect of their leaflets, distribution was targeted to postcodes who were most likely to purchase. Their radio and television ads are aired on specific times of the day and days of the week, while PPC campaigns are run in a similar manner. All of these strategies are used to have the maximum effect on the most relevant audience, in other words “smart spending.”


All of these targeting strategies come back to “knowing your audience.” Gallagher expresses this as one of the most fundamental marketing requirements for increasing market share. He asserts that marketers must first define their audience and then communicate with them in a relevant way through the channels that they use. Gallagher suggests using “less of the spray and pray approach” and more focused relevant targeting.


Papa John’s ran a PPC campaign with Net Media Planet that emphasised the quality of the product, differing from the everyday discount and offers messaging that would normally run. This campaign focused on the product characteristics that would entice users to purchase, with messages of how cheesy and tasty the pizzas are. It was extremely successful because it focused on exciting the impulses of the consumer and what makes them desire pizza.


Sharma says, “For me it’s all about thinking outside the box, being dynamic in how you are doing things, using data to give a personal experience to your customer and building a great product.”



Sharma went on to discuss a great example of using data effectively. With the insights collected from Papa John’s PPC campaign, Papa John’s was able to determine the best locations for new stores. The data revealed locations with high volumes of Papa John’s search queries and when compared to current store locations could determine possible future locations with a higher return on investment.


Gallagher wrapped up his time on the PMI stage by reiterating how important knowing your customer is and that you need to be dynamic in the ever changing advertising environment. In closing, Sharma complimented his statement, adding that marketers need to learn how to use their data effectively to make better decisions in their marketing strategies.


If you would like to see more images from the event visit our flickr page.