The kiddos just finished their last day of school, and we celebrated solstice, but there certainly won’t be summer break for search marketers. Parents are shopping earlier and earlier in preparation to send their kids back in style with the latest gadgets and supplies. Now is the time to refine your marketing strategy and make sure your campaigns are ready to go. Although the mandatory switch to Google Shopping campaigns doesn’t fall until August, now is the time to start building and making the appropriate changes to your feed. Most marketers are seeing positive results so far, but to really make the biggest splash this summer all search marketers should consider implementing and testing the items below to help achieve the greatest return from their Shopping Campaigns.
We’ve all heard year after year that this is the “year of mobile”, and I honestly think we’re getting close. Smartphones are more sophisticated, mobile tracking is more comprehensive, and the purchase process is becoming seamless. If you have responsive product pages, you should be giving mobile a shot. If you’re an online retailer with brick and mortar locations, you better be giving mobile a shot. According to Google, “84% of smartphone shoppers use their phones in a physical store”. The user may not complete the purchase via smartphone, but they are more likely to make an in-store purchase or complete their transaction on their desktop or tablet when they get home. Advertisers also see much lower cpc’s, so if you’re seeing positive ROI, I say just go for it. Mobile is undoubtedly going to be a sweet spot for many retailers this fall (especially during the Holidays), so may as well jump in and see what the water is like.
Automatic Item Update Beta
Nothing kills your Shopping performance more than poor data. Google recently announced the Automatic Item Update Beta to help retailers provide the highest-quality data and improve overall user experience. Many advertisers only have the bandwidth to update their product feed once a week or sometimes only once a month, which results in inaccurate data, item disapproval and worst case scenario, account suspension. With the Automatic Item Beta, Google will update your items to match the price and availability of a product as it’s listed on your site if the product information doesn’t match what you’ve listed in your data feed or the Content API. This is an opt-in beta, so Google allows you a few options -you can update price information, availability information, or both. Google also allows advertisers the ability to opt-out if you’re weary of the accuracy of the beta.
All retailers should be testing Bing Product Ads and run them in tandem with Google Shopping. Bing Product Ads have been in beta for months, but were officially released to all US advertisers in late March. If you’re familiar with traditional Google PLA’s, Bing Product Ads should be a piece of cake. Feed attributes are almost identical and bidding takes place at the target level. Bing even allows the “Import from Google” option for a smooth transition (remember to add tracking params). In my experience I’ve seen low impression volume and sub-par ROI, but I’m certain this varies by advertiser and product set. Bing Product Ads are in infancy, but I can’t think of one good reason why you shouldn’t test this channel.
So there ya have it, plenty for your search marketing summer bucket list. Now go drink a margarita, because it is summer after all.