Author Archives: Stephanie Shum

Turn curiosity into customers this holiday season

The holiday season is the most beautiful time of the year and, for retailers, it’s also the busiest. This year has been particularly challenging for retailers and shoppers, alike, with the presence of global uncertainties like supply chain disruptions. Still, holiday shopping is poised to surge and retailers can turn to Google to drive sales.

This past holiday season, 54% of shoppers used five or more channels, like video and social media, to shop over a two-day period.[209121]With Google's full range of promotional channels, retailers can show up across the shopping journey and stay top-of-mind for consumers. Here are a few tips to set you up for success this holiday season.

For more holiday insights, tune into Think Retail on Air at 10 a.m. PDT later today and check out in-depth recommendations in our Holiday Best Practices guide.

Show up to the party early

The countdown is officially on as holiday shopping kicks off earlier in the year. In May, we found that, on average, 17% of consumers in surveyed markets have started their holiday shopping and more than a third (36%) say they already have ideas for gifts they are going to buy.[b6dc7b]Get ready to reach these shoppers with the following Google Ads insights and tools.

Make your grand entrance with demand forecasts on the Insights page. This predicts upcoming trends relevant to your business so you can adjust your budget and bidding strategy to capture growing demand. Additionally, use Performance Planner to understand how these changes to your advertising spend will impact your predicted clicks, conversions and conversion values.

Beyond optimizing your campaign settings, you’ll also need to get your product feed in shape. Product-specific insights are now at your disposal at the account level in the Google Ads products tab. These insights let you spot underperforming offers, identify products with missing feed attributes and compare your bidding strategy with your top competitors’.

Desktop UI of product-specific insights on the Google Ads products tab

Review product-specific insights on the products tab in Google Ads

Make the rounds

With more ways to shop than ever, it can be difficult to keep up with complex purchasing journeys. Last holiday, we saw that shoppers who used at least five channels to inform their decisions and complete their holiday shopping reported making two times more purchases and spending twice as much, on average, compared to those who just used one or two channels.[c8c668]With the best of Google automation at your fingertips, you can stand out to shoppers across the full range of Google Ads channels.

It starts with Search where people conduct billions of searches every day.[d6b18a]Maximize your reach by showing your ads to shoppers who search for terms related to your keywords using broad match and Smart Bidding. Then use responsive search ads to tailor your messaging based on shoppers’ search terms.

But Search is just one part of the equation. Complement keyword-based Search campaigns with Performance Max, which finds even more converting customers across channels like YouTube, Display, Search, Discover, Gmail and Maps.[84e8c1]As the next generation of Smart Shopping and Local campaigns, Performance Max connects with your product feed to drive sales both online and in-store. Keep an eye out for seasonal templates launching this fall. They’ll help you create video ads in a matter of minutes for Performance Max campaigns.

Round off your advertising strategy by inspiring shoppers when they least expect it. For example, 60 percent of people say they often or sometimes get prompted to buy something even when they weren’t actively shopping.[184b9b]You can now harness the power of your Google Merchant Center product feed with YouTube Video action campaigns and Discovery ads, which present new shoppable opportunities for your brand in moments of inspiration and discovery.

Finally, don’t forget about your mobile-first shoppers. In the next 2-3 years, 68% of retail marketers anticipate increasing apps use as a primary means of increasing customer loyalty.[8e7b4e]Promote your app to shoppers across Google’s largest properties such as Search, Google Play, YouTube and more with App campaigns and give users a seamless web-to-app purchase experience by setting up deep links.

Be scroll-stopping

Give shoppers a reason to turn from browsers to buyers wherever they may be. More than half a million online businesses use Google Merchant Center to show their products for free across Google websites and apps.[99e10e]Join them by listing your products on Google to unlock access to different levers that can make your products shine during the holidays.

More than half (55%) of holiday shoppers across surveyed countries are planning to hold off on buying gift items until they are on sale.[a90cb9]Fuel demand by adding your sales and promotions early. The Content API is also now available to make it even easier for you to upload and manage your deals at scale.

Like last year, shoppers are still anxious about getting what they need in time where 3 in 10 consumers are shopping for things they don’t need until later because of stock concerns.[828740]Keep stockings stuffed by adding estimated delivery times such as “Get it by 12/20”, and help shoppers stay worry-free by highlighting your flexible return policies like “Free 90-day returns.”

Mobile UI of sales price annotations and shipping and return options (US example)

View sales price annotations and shipping and return options (US example)

Take it offline

Your audience won’t just be shopping online. In-store shopping has made a big comeback this year, as searches for "store open" have grown globally by over 400% YoY.[a8c784]Offering a seamless experience between brick-and-mortar and online shopping will be key to winning shoppers.

Make it easy for shoppers to find you by updating your Business Profile with store hours, location and images. Then grow in-store foot traffic and sales by promoting your location to online shoppers in the area with Performance Max campaigns for store goals, such as in-store promotions or seasonal specials. You now have more control over your Smart Bidding to meet your store visits or store sales goals this holiday season.

And for last-minute shoppers or shoppers who prefer to browse in-person, you can use local inventory ads to promote your in-store inventory online and convenient curbside or in-store pickup options.

Join the conversation at Think Retail on Air

We’re here for you this season to help you hit your holiday milestones, so make Think Retail on Air your next stop to get more insights. We will be going live today at 10 a.m. PDT. For more recommendations, visit the Holiday Best Practices guide.

Google Ads Best Practices button

Get into gear with vehicle ads on Google

More people are turning to the web to find their next car. In fact, 89% of new car buyers researched their new vehicle online.[7fb54a]And shoppers aren't just looking up information online — they’re purchasing there, too. In 2021, 16% of new car buyers purchased their car online, up from only 1% three years prior.[ea5e48]

Shoppers today expect an easy and helpful experience when they search for what to buy. It’s important for auto advertisers to get in front of car shoppers with the right information and inventory.

Introducing vehicle ads

Today at the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Show we announced vehicle ads, a new ad format on Search that shows nearby cars for sale. Currently available in the U.S. and coming to more countries soon, vehicle ads can help you easily reach customers looking for a new ride.

For example, if someone searches for a 2019 SUV, they’ll see several vehicle options they can either purchase nearby or get delivered — along with pictures and inventory information like location, make, model, price and mileage. Once they select a car, the ad will direct them to the vehicle description page on your website where they can fill out a lead form or get your dealership’s contact information. You can then select which actions you’d like to measure, like leads and store visits, and assign a value to them.

Smartphone shows Search results for “2019 suvs for sale.” There are two ads, each showing a picture of a car and its details. The ad on the left shows a white SUV and the ad text below the image says “2019 Honda Passport Sport, $32,773, Used - 8k mi, Park Place Motors” and has a location icon to indicate the car is in Fort Worth, Texas. The ad on the right shows a dark blue SUV and the ad text below the image says “2019 Toyota RAV4 Limited, $35,286, Used - 16k mi, Big Star Honda” and has a location icon to indicate that the car is in Houston, Texas.

New vehicle ads on Search spotlight available cars to shoppers.

To get started, you’ll need to create a vehicle inventory data feed and connect it to Google Merchant Center. This feed contains all the details about your vehicle inventory, like make, model, price, mileage and condition. Google uses those details to match shoppers with the most relevant cars as they’re searching. Plus, by using Merchant Center, you can keep track of key inventory and ad performance insights.

Advertisers who complemented their existing Search campaigns with vehicle ads saw a +25% average increase in conversions during beta testing.[83f78c]Let’s take a closer look at some businesses who recently gave vehicle ads a spin.

The results from the pilot far exceeded our expectations. With vehicle ads, we can help customers by bringing them right to the car they’re interested in. This helps us maximize traffic and conversions to vehicle pages and increase efficiency. Miran Maric, CMO and SVP, Strategy and Innovation
Asbury Automotive Group
Our main goal is to drive customers to view our inventory. Vehicle ads allow us to get our inventory in front of customers with better efficiency. They also drove more store visits than other campaign types. Nathan Sato, Director of Digital Marketing
Ken Garff

Want to try vehicle ads yourself? Check out more information and get started today.

To learn more about auto retail trends and vehicle ads, register for Google’s “Auto On Air: Delighting Customers in a Digital World” session on Wednesday, March 30 at 10:00 a.m. PT / 1:00 p.m. ET.