Google is rolling out a series of new features ahead of the holiday season, making it easier for consumers to find the perfect products – and easier for retailers to sell more goods.
With the majority of UK shoppers saying they will spend the same or more this Christmas and more of this shopping taking place online this year, making full use of these new features could be crucial for retailers in need of some Christmas cheer.
Google starts highlighting promotions in product listings
Merchant Promotions is a Google Shopping feature that you can set up in Merchant Center to offer discounts, free gifts and free or discounted delivery. This feature is now available to all retailers in the UK and Google wants to help your promotions make a bigger impact this holiday season by highlighting them in your product listings.
Google is adding labels to product listings featuring items on sale and annotations in bold text to make promotions more obvious to users as they scroll through product feeds. The idea is to make your deals easier to understand and your PLAs easier to distinguish from other listings – especially when users are faced with a reel of similar-looking products like the example above.
Highlighted promotions can show across the following Google surfaces:
For more information on Merchant Promotions, you can find Google’s participation criteria and policies here.
Data-driven attribution now available to more
In mid-October, Google announced that it was expanding data-driven attribution to more advertisers ahead of the holiday season.
“Data-driven attribution (DDA) is a type of attribution model that uses Google’s machine learning to determine how much credit to assign to each ad interaction along the consumer journey… It continuously analyzes unique conversion patterns, comparing the paths of customers who completed a desired action against those who did not, to determine the most effective touchpoints for each business.”
The thing with data-driven attribution is, you need a certain amount of data in order for Google to build an accurate model. However, as Google’s machine learning systems become more intelligent, the search giant is able to lower the data requirements for eligibility and open up DDA to more advertisers.
“With this change, each conversion action in your Google Ads account that has at least 3,000 ad interactions and at least 300 conversions within 30 days will be eligible for DDA.”
Google says it is now able to “do more with less data”, meaning the lower eligibility requirements have no impact on the quality of its outcomes. You can find out more about data-driven attribution and eligibility on the official Google Ads Help page.
Google helps consumers find the best price
On the consumer side of Shopping Campaigns, Google is helping users find the best prices with a new ’typical price across the web’visualisation.
When users click on a specific product listing in Google Shopping, they can scroll past the buying options to see how the price of the item compares to other retailers selling the same product across the web.
“Starting today, you can quickly see whether the price offered for an item is high, low or typical, compared to other prices from across the web and in nearby stores. Just search on Google and hop over to the Shopping tab. Then, select your favourite product to land on the Shopping product page, where you’ll find these new price insights.”
Users can also compare pricing and purchasing options from the same page, including details for in-store and curbside pickup options.
Given the current uncertainty leading into this year’s Christmas shopping season, Google is taking steps to help retailers ease consumer concerns about buying from physical retail locations.
Joint research from Klarna and Retail Economics finds that 37% of British consumers say they will avoid shopping in physical locations “as much as possible”, meaning retailers need to explore all of the digital alternatives this year – particularly strategies that bridge the online-offline divide in a safe and reassuring way.
Consumers this year can also track prices and receive notifications for future deals by using the Track Price feature in Google Shopping.
As long as users are signed into their Google Account, all they need to do is tap the Track Price switch and they’ll receive notifications as soon as any new deals are available.
Now is the time to get your Google Shopping campaigns in order
If you look at the official ONS figures for internet share of purchases compared to previous years, it’s obvious that online sales are the key strategy for overcoming Covid-19’s devastating impact on the retail sector this year.
Google is doing what it can to help retailers sell more products and capitalise on the increase in online sales, as a result of the outbreak. And, with free product listings now available in Google Shopping, every retailer can make the online transition. Meanwhile, established retailers have more tools than ever to showcase their products during the most important shopping period of the year.
Matt McCullough is a PPC specialist at Vertical Leap.