Earlier this summer we reported that Google Merchant will transition to Google Shopping by this fall. Google has announced that starting on October 17th, Google Shopping results in the United States will come only from merchants who have Product Listing Ads (PLA) implemented within their AdWords accounts.
The search engine will rank PLA results based on relevance and will also take CPC or CPA bidding into consideration. Google says that one of the reasons for the migration is to build a better shopping experience for its users.
Google has also announced the ability of product level bidding for PLA campaigns. Advertisers will be able to set CPCs at the item level. In addition, it is now possible to create product targets using the product ID in your Merchant Center feed to manage your bids at the product level. What’s more, a new Merchant Center tab will be available within AdWords for advertisers to be better equipped to manage PLA campaigns.
The transition to Google Shopping is just in time for the holiday season. Ecommerce sites that have seen revenue from Google Merchant organic clicks should implement Product Listing Ad campaigns in time for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and holiday online shopping.
Working in the online advertising industry, I try my best to stay on top of the latest news and notes. There are many great resources to lean on, from digital (and print) magazines to blogs written by thought leaders in our field. Many times they focus on one specific channel and how businesses either need to get into that channel or how they are currently using it. Other blogs talk about recent news and rumors with the main players in our industry (see Google and the recent talk about acquiring Groupon).
Some of the most informative resources deal with statistics and trends in online advertising. It is extremely beneficial when recommending a specific marketing channel to a client when I can reference expected expenditures in that channel. It provides greater relevance by showing the expected growth in the channel I am recommending. However, the best resources of information are usually the hardest to find…real life performance of businesses implementing multi-channel marketing programs. While it helps to show expected (or predicted) results when proposing a new idea to a client, nothing beats the real thing.
I have been working with a client for the last 3 years managing a multi-channel marketing program. We manage their Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns through Google AdWords and the new Search Alliance (Bing and Yahoo). We also handle all of their SEO efforts and Affiliate marketing. In addition, we manage shopping feeds and remarketing programs on their behalf. They administer their own social media marketing and blogging, but only after extensive consultation and training by our internal teams. In other words, we have had a robust multi-channel program in place since April 2008.
I was recently reviewing the program’s overall performance via Google Analytics, and would like to share the following real life (not predicted) results:
Comparing November 2008 to November 2010
Revenue from Direct traffic increased by 137%
Revenue from Google CPC traffic increased by 142%
Revenue from Google Organic traffic increased by 566%
Revenue from *Search Alliance Organic traffic increased by 214%
Revenue from *Search Alliance CPC traffic increased by 101%
Obviously, we grew the programs over time and many of the multi-channel programs were in their infancy stages which somewhat inflated these figures. To further my point, I went ahead and compared last year to this year (at which time all programs were mature with solid previous statistics throughout the date range comparison):
Comparing November 2009 to November 2010
Revenue from Direct traffic increased by 71%
Revenue from Google CPC traffic increased by 25%
Revenue from Google Organic traffic increased by 65%
Revenue from **Search Alliance Organic traffic increased by 63%
Revenue from **Search Alliance CPC traffic increased by 45%
*For easy comparison I combined MSN and Yahoo stats pre Search Alliance formation*
In these economic times, especially when you factor what the economic climate was like during the time frame of my analysis (November 2008 — today) these are exceptional results. Basically, my client has achieved record sales growth during one of the most difficult times in our economy by leveraging and aggressively pursuing a multi-channel online marketing strategy and achieving excellent real life (not predicted) results.
In today’s economy, consumers are being more price conscious than ever, going the extra mile to research and find a reputable company with the right price for a specific product.
Advertisers want to place their product in front of consumers and have an ad/product that stands out. Shopping feeds, which provide another opportunity for advertisers, fall in the pay-per-click category of advertising.
Advertisers can chose as many or as few of these shopping feeds they would like. Below are a few benefits of using shopping feeds.
Below are a few features of shopping feeds:
Keyword Bidding: Advertisers are now able to bid on specific keywords for their products.
Product Pricing: Advertisers can have specifications on what products will show. For example, they can omit products under $10 from showing in search results.
Below are two examples of Google searches. The second image shows a more refined search. You can see how the search results change as the searcher narrows their search query.
Each shopping engine may be manually monitored by you, or there are also vendors that provide one upload portal. Vendors will often format the feeds for each specific search engine.
To learn more about Shopping Feeds, please review our other blog posts.