The summer holidays are coming to a close, the nights are drawing in earlier, the temperature has dropped and there are now just 16 Saturdays until the big day. Yes, Christmas is coming!
This year, due to inflation and rising cost of living, there is even more pressure on marketers to start planning for the holiday season as early as possible. Not only are spenders likely to plan and do their shopping earlier, to help spread the cost of the big event, but they are also more likely to shop around for the best price.
But also, costs are rising for businesses, so ensuring advertising campaigns are as efficient as possible is even more important this year.
Be ready for new customers
Google states that 61% of people use 5 or more channels to shop across two days and there is no common route to purchase anymore. This gives some advertisers an opportunity to intercept some sales and get in front of new potential customers.
Google has just released a new feature called, “New Customer Acquisition with High Value Optimisation”. This is something that is currently being beta tested and allows advertisers to bid for new customers that are likely to be average to high-value lifetime customers, whilst still covering existing ones.
There are two options available for new customer acquisition for Performance Max and Search campaigns using the online sales goal:
- Bid higher for new customers than existing ones (New Customer Value mode)
- Only bid for new customers (New Customer Only mode)
Optimise for local searches to increase online search to in-store sales
Google conducted a study in October 2022 until January 2023 that showed that search was used within 96% of in-store shoppers’ journeys to purchase. To help advertisers be there and consistent across the different channels, Google has:
- Enabled ‘Pickup Later’ annotations for those without a local inventory feed.
- Given businesses using ‘Performance Max for Store goals’ better access to its interactive ads. These ads are shown on the top slot of the search results and display more store information (opening hours, directions etc.).
- Reduced the time taken to start using local inventory ads and developed a new local store ad format. These new ads combine information and images from the advertiser’s local product feed and business profile.
Reporting changes to help improve campaign performance
Google is adding more detailed information to the Products tab within Google Ads to allow merchants to simply and quickly identify product feed issues that could be impacting their ad performance.
Information such as missing values, out-of-stock items and high bidding targets (ROAS etc.) will now be shown in the Products tab so that it can be viewed in one platform, without having to go off to Google Merchant Centre (GMC).
Saying that, the Performance tab within GMC has also been upgraded to show details such as pricing and competitive performance insights. Merchants can see their most popular and best selling products and compare them to the competition.
Those merchants that do have physical stores plus an ecommerce capability, will now be able to A/B test online-only bidding against Smart Bidding for store visits and store sales. This is currently possible for Standard Shopping campaigns, ahead of the festive season, and will soon be available for Search campaigns too.
Make your products stand out from the rest
Google’s holiday shopping study (Oct 22 – Jan 23) also revealed that:
“87% of holiday shoppers report using Google properties (such as Search, Maps, and YouTube) as a shopping resource, while 65% use social media platforms, and 59% turn to top online marketplaces.”
Ensure product information is complete and accurate
With so many touchpoints along the way, it’s crucial that the information provided regarding online inventory is as complete and accurate as possible, to give the best chance of success.
Additional data (such as promotions etc.) is now more visible and personalised to searchers using Google Shopping. On both Shopping ads and free listings, deal and shipping annotations are now allowing merchants to convey the latest and most important information to the user when they need it.
Use multiple product images
Google says that products that have more than one product image are likely to see an increase in impressions of up to 76% and 32% more clicks. Product Studio is Google’s new AI-powered tool that will soon be available within GMC Next (please see my previous article for more information on Product Studio).
Utilise video content
Advertisers have seen an average increase in conversions of 12% when including at least one video in their Performance Max asset groups. With this in mind, Google will begin to use images from product feeds to create video content for YouTube and YouTube Shorts.
It has also made it easy to create them manually from the asset library in Google Ads or from Performance Max workflows.
Also, 3D images are proven to perform well and can be created from at least 5 static 2D images using Google’s AI:
For more information on how to create these see: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/13671720?sjid=14342446810523277284-EU
If you’d like any help getting your products online or optimising what you already have for the upcoming festive season, feel free to contact us.