Google announces new features for retail advertisers at SMX Advanced
A new local inventory ad unit for GDN and product pricing benchmarks are among the announcements.
Google announced several new advertising features for retailers and brand manufacturers during a keynote discussion with Surojit Chatterjee, who leads product for Google Shopping, at SMX Advanced in Seattle last week.
The announcements include features for local selling, price comparisons and an update on Google Shopping Actions. Here’s a look at some of what was discussed onstage in Seattle.
Product price benchmarks for Shopping advertisers
Advertisers running Google Shopping campaigns will be able to compare their product prices against those of competitors. Advertisers can then use that comparative data to inform their bidding strategies on specific products — bidding down products that can’t compete price-wise and bidding up those that can, for example.
Additionally, the data will allow them to better understand and adjust to performance changes caused by competitor price changes, and they can also employ the data for internal decisions about pricing.
The price benchmarks reporting will be available in AdWords soon.
New online-to-offline features and programs
Affiliate location extensions on YouTube
Google has launched affiliate location extensions in Search and Display campaigns to help brands and manufacturers show users nearby retail chains where their products are carried. Those ad extensions can now appear in TrueView in-stream and bumper ads on YouTube.
When a user clicks on an affiliate location extension, it brings up a Maps page of nearby retailers where the product is sold, as shown in the example below. Additionally, advertisers can get store visits data on their affiliate location extensions if the ads gain enough data.
Google says early testing showed that including affiliate location extensions in YouTube ads could increase CTR by more than 15 percent.
Local catalog ads in Display
A new local catalog ad unit for the Google Display Network will be available to retail advertisers with physical locations by the end of June. The mobile display ad units feature a hero image at the top followed by product cards of inventory available locally. The product cards show “in-store” availability and pricing.
“This new format can complement your traditional print campaigns — including catalogs, flyers and circulars — with the added audience and measurement benefits of digital ads,” Chatterjee told the SMX audience.
French appliance retailer Boulanger was among the beta testers for local catalog ads. An example of its ad for a promotion this spring is shown below. The companies say the campaign drove more than 20,000 store visits and a 42x return on ad spend.
Getting local inventory feeds set up in order to run local inventory ads, and now local catalog ads, can be a big hurdle for retailers. To make it easier, Google is launching a new program for retailers’ point-of-sale and inventory data providers that lets them send sales and inventory data directly to Google. With this program, retailers can skip the process of creating local inventory feeds entirely.
The program also enables retailers to include local inventory in the “See What’s In Store” area in knowledge panels that’s currently in beta. Cayan, Pointy, Linx and yReceipts are among the vendors participating in the local feed partnership program.
Progress update on Google Shopping Actions
Google also shared some updates on Google Shopping Actions, the new commerce program available via Search, Assistant and voice that the company launched in March.
Chatterjee told the SMX audience that more than 70 retailers are now live on the program, and thousands of retailers have submitted the interest form.
“Early testing indicates that participating retailers on average see an increase in total clicks and conversions at a lower overall cost per click and conversion, compared to running Shopping ads alone,” he said. That includes results captured from February to June.