The status of Google’s presence in Google Shopping Auctions
Google has long been visible in these auctions, not only through Express but also Play and Store. Contributor Andy Taylor evaluates its presence and assesses how it's changed over time.
As my company (Merkle) reported just a couple of weeks ago, Amazon has exited US Google Shopping auctions for all advertisers that had consistently seen it as a competitor for the last few quarters.
While the rationale behind this decision remains somewhat of a mystery, those brands competing against the e-commerce giant are certainly not sad as a result of the recent development.
One update that may have played a role in Amazon’s decision was Google’s announcement of Shopping Actions in late March, which places ads for products that can be purchased through Google Express alongside traditional shopping ads in the carousel. Shopping Actions also surface products for voice shopping through the Google Assistant.
Google then takes a commission on each product sold, similar to Amazon, and many reports on the change hailed this update as a move to more directly compete with Amazon.
Using Google Auction Insights Reports, however, it’s actually clear that Google Express had been a part of shopping auctions for nearly a year prior to the Shopping Actions announcement. Further, Google Play and Google Store also appear in shopping auctions for some advertisers.
What’s the status of Google’s presence in Shopping Auctions now, and how has it changed over the last few quarters?
Google stepped up Express Ads in Q4 2017
Taking a look at a sample of around four dozen retailers specializing in product categories ranging from home goods to electronics to apparel, over 80 percent have seen Google Express pop up as a competitor in Auction Insights at some point over the past year and some change.
For many of these advertisers, Google Express’s presence in Auction Insights is spotty and often falls below 10 percent impression share (IS) or out of the report completely for a given week. One way to trend Google Express’s presence is to note the percentage of the sample set which saw Google Express in Auction Insights for a given week.
Doing just that, we find that Google Express became much more prominent in Product Listing Ad (PLA) auctions during the holiday shopping season in 2017 and has continued to consistently appear in reports for more advertisers than was the case prior to Q4 2017. Google Express was not present in Shopping Auction Insights prior to…
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