We’re fresh off of the biggest shopping weekend of the year. Three quarters of Americans shopped during Black Friday weekend spending a record $5 billion in online sales – a 16.9% increase from 2016 according to Adobe Digital Insights. Many more people will shop on Cyber Monday too. Adobe Digital Insights predicts another $6 billion in digital sales. While you might feel a little shopped out (not me!), there is much more money to be spent! We’re not yet into December and shoppers and advertisers alike have a lot of work to do.
To help advertisers make the most of the holiday season and beyond, Google recently released a few different features and products within their Shopping campaigns, Google’s Merchant Center, and in general with their product-focused advertising products. These new products come just in time for the holidays, but they’re just as useful any time of the year. We’re excited about some of these changes and what they mean for our clients and the housewares industry specifically.
Drive More Foot Traffic with New Ad Formats & In-Store Measurement
Manufacturers and retailers who sell online and offline are going to see the most success with their bottom line with an omni-channel strategy focused on their e-commerce and in-store sales. A recent Google store visit study showed that mobile ads drive 160% more incremental store visits when compared to other devices and that a local and omni-channel focused strategy can drive 80% higher rate of incremental store visits. One of the biggest struggles we face with that is attributing in-store purchases with our online advertising efforts. How can we know how our ads are affecting in-store traffic and purchases? There are very few effective ways for us to track this type of success. Marketing and technology has come a long way though, and the big players in tech and advertising are starting to come up with solutions. Google already offers store visit conversions for a select number of advertisers – think big spenders with many locations like Sephora and Buffalo Wild Wings. For the rest of us before that feature is rolled out to more (and hopefully eventually all advertisers!), Google has given us some more measurement options!
- Local Ads for the Display Network and Google Assistant: With the growing popularity of voice-activated products like Google Home and Amazon Echo and the ability for us to use our smartphones to get answers to basically any question, it was only a matter of time before advertisers were given options to place ads in these spaces. Soon, advertisers will be able to place ads in both of these places to reach their audience in even more places. When someone asks their Voice Assistant, “Where can I get blackout curtains?” they can easily find the nearest location to purchase those. With the Google Display Network, advertisers can reach their audience passively as they browse the internet on their phones or other devices. If you use local product inventory ads, products may start to show on results for the Assistant too. Cool, huh?
Image source: Inside AdWords Blog
- Store Visit Measurement: Google is enhancing their store visit measurement capabilities by providing impression-based store visits in addition to the existing click-based store visits. In the coming months, advertisers will be able to start to measure the number of people who visited their retail store after simply viewing and ad and not necessarily clicking through the ad. Don’t worry though – this is done securely with no personal location information being shared with anybody.
Enhance Performance with More Targeting and Ad Formats
There are many ways for us to reach our target audiences online through the various targeting options available across advertising platforms like Google, Facebook, and more. We’re always excited when there are new, more sophisticated targeting options and ad formats to help us reach the right people at the right time for our clients.
- Custom Intent Audiences: When you are looking to reach I-want-to-buy shoppers, you want your ad dollars to go to the people are most likely to purchase your product. The Google Display Network now lets us create custom intent audiences to help us reach those users. Custom intent audiences reach shoppers who are actively shopping for gifts and products. If your brand sells bakeware and baking tools, Google could create an audience of people searching for “cake pop molds” or ”stainless steel pastry cutter” to help you reach those people.
- Remarketing and Dynamic Remarketing to Gmail: Remarketing and dynamic remarketing are not new to Google or advertising as a whole, but Google recently extended these targeting options to Gmail ads, giving advertisers the opportunity to reach an audience that has already visited their website in the users’ inboxes. Dynamic remarketing ads offer a unique experience for users. When they click on a dynamic remarketing ad, they are taken to an immersive shopping experience where they can view your products in an easy-to-view, clean window that features up to four of your products. To me, this is similar to the Shopping Showcase ad format and is great for showcasing products the viewer has already looked at on your website to say, “Hey, you showed interest in these products. Is it time to buy yet?” It keeps your brand and your products top of mind for shoppers and follows them through to their purchase.
GIF Source: Inside AdWords Blog
New ad formats, enhanced measurement options, and new targeting features – it’s like a big, shiny Christmas gift for us advertisers! And we love playing with new toys. We are always looking for ways to improve our clients’ advertising programs to make them as successful as possible, and we’re awfully glad that Google continues to be innovative with their advertising products. Have you used any of these new features in your advertising campaigns? I’d love to hear how you like them! I’m always on Twitter if you want to chit-chat about marketing, advertising, or the Bachelor. 😊