Google has unveiled a range of AdWords features that have the potential to help Australian retailers boost mobile and video shopping experiences for their customers.
In a blog post, the Google AdWords team said mobile travel and shopping searches are up by 30% year-on-year across its network.
“This year we expect mobile to play its biggest role ever,” Google said.
The features, which will become available to retailers in Australia, the UK and the US over coming weeks, are planned to help businesses improve the experience of shoppers on-the-go and make buying easier during retailers’ busiest period of from October through to December.
Marketing expert Michelle Gamble, from Marketing Angels, says the changes will remove buying barriers and accelerate the transaction experience for consumers through direct clicks to purchase.
“They’re a game changer,” Gamble told SmartCompany.
Here’s are the changes your business needs to know about.
Showcase shopping ads feature
This feature will allow consumers to search for products and buy products directly from search results.
Retailers will be able to display products in a slider panel that showcases stores and items related to the search.
If a user searches for “summer dresses” the slider panel will present fashion stores and items within each that reflect the search.
Google AdWords is also trialling a premium version that will let retailers customise the way their brand and products appear.
While this could be particularly useful for advertisers and retailers to design the shopping experience for consumers, Gamble says the click-per-cost rate may be quite high and competitive for smaller businesses.
“I imagine they’ll be premiumly priced,” she says.
Shopping on YouTube
According to Google AdWords, YouTube influences the decision to purchase of nearly half the US population at least once a month.
Following the successful uptake of TrueView for shopping, which was released last year and lets retailers sell products directly through YouTube video ads, Google AdWords has released more features to increase buying activity of viewers.
The “companion banner” is an interactive panel that will appear next to a video and will allow viewers to scroll through new products while the YouTube video is playing.
“It’s a pretty small panel so you’ve got to be careful about the type products you’re putting in there,” says Gamble.
The “product picker” will give retailers and advertisers the option to choose and prioritise which products feature as cards in TrueView for shopping campaigns.
When using these ads, Gamble highly recommends developing a cohesive campaign and strategy.
“The first thing is to have really good [high quality] visuals,” she says.
“You’re going to have to stand out from the crowd so making sure your product descriptions are really tight and that you’re going to have good matching against key word searches will ensure you don’t burn budget on visual ads.”
Instant currency conversion
Google AdWords is testing a currency conversion tool in Australia, Switzerland, Canada and the UK.
The tool will instantly convert the price of products into local currency so that retailers can easily share products with overseas consumers using existing websites and landing pages.
“We’ll be rolling out currency conversions more broadly over the coming weeks,” Google said.
Additionally, Google AdWords is releasing a retail micro-moments guide to educate retailers on mobile shopping and ways to enhance the shopping experience using case studies.
Features to simplify travel bookings
In addition to its shopping features, Google AdWords is rolling out several new features to make it much easier for travellers to filter searches and discover deals on flights and accommodation.
“For an industry that’s already been hugely disrupted this could be the nail in the coffin for travel agents unless they’re really specialised,” says Gamble.
To stay competitive, Gamble recommends traditional travel agents continue to develop niche product offerings.
For example, there’s a travel agent that specialises in surfing trips and curates experiences from around the world for surf enthusiasts.
“You wouldn’t try to put together a package like that yourself,” she says.