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Google releasing FREE Shopping listings (not ads)!

In an attempt to combat coronavirus as people can’t shop physically but go online instead, and companies pulling marketing spend Google have announced they are to allow their most successful e-commerce ad product – Google Shopping Ads or PLA’s to feature in a free listing.

Note: They aren’t allowing the ads to be free, rather they are offering a free listing within the shopping tab.

Big difference!

Now whilst this is great for e-commerce companies, I can’t help be suspicious (you know me when it comes to Google) that this is more to do with the massive growth in Amazon sales during this crisis, and our chums at Google see an opportunity to grab market-share.

From May, Google will allow e-commerce companies to show their products across Google Shopping tab (not the SERPS’s page) you need to be running Google Shopping ads for that.

But it’s a lovely opportunity for online retailers to feature their products when people search on Google.

Set-Up

Obviously you won’t feature unless you have a Google Merchant Centre account (GMC Account) and all the usual attributes needed still apply.

But it has to be a welcome development at this uncertain time for retailers.

If you already have a GMC account, please ensure you opt into “Surfaces across Google”. That way, you will feature on the free listings.

At the moment, this is only applicable to the USA, but Google will roll it out worldwide throughout 2020 so the time to set it up is now.

Shopping ads remain unaffected

Google Shopping Ads do take primacy on the organic search page as a premium placement.

So when someone searches for your product, you appear on the initial search results page as a paid shopping placement. (See below)

SHOPPING ADS STILL APPEAR ON SERPS

The free listing only appears if a user then selects the shopping tab at the top of their results page. So in terms of UX this is a further hurdle to get here but there will be shoppers who will go through the extra step.

AFTER CLICKING ON THE SHOPPING TAB ABOVE, YOU WILL BE TAKEN TO THE FREE LISTING PAGE

If you need any Google Shopping advice or wish to know on scaling up sales through Google Shopping ads simply email info@leagueofadvertising.com to find out more.

Getting started on e-commerce’s most powerful sales tool – Google Shopping Ads

PPC, Pay-per-Click, Google merchant centre, PLA ads…..

It can seem an arduous task getting start on Google Shopping ads. Thankfully we have been through this process many times and can offer advice on how to set up the basics and get you head around Google Merchant Centre and Google Shopping Ads.

What is Google Shopping Ads?

Google shopping ads or PLA’s are the image based search results that come back when you search for a brand, product or e-commerce product on Google and (Bing).

Google Shopping Ads
Google Shopping Ads

These ads are essential for any e-commerce store as it delivers rich search results based on a users search. Google Shopping Ads are your way to promote your products on Google Shopping. They are CPC ads where you pay when a user clicks on your ad and land on the exact product page on your e-commerce store.

Shopping Campaigns are one of the main growth drivers for e-commerce stores. They get 87% of the search budget of retailers (source: Merkle Digital Quarterly report Q3 2018) and have increased their share of total store orders by 160% in the last 2 years. Therefore, they are indeed a traffic source that lives up to the hype.

Merkle Digital

3 Pillars to success

As with everything that is effective in e-commerce, setting up Shopping Ads can be frustrating and cumbersome. I know many in-house web managers who simply cannot get their heads around the task as it requires a level of technical ability and liaising with your development team (many out-sourced) to successfully implement the basic feed.

In essence, your SKU’s need to go to your Google Merchant Centre and from there Google Ads scrape the data to publish the results on the SERP’s page.

Sounds easy?
In our experience, many companies get stuck on setting up a successful Google Merchant Centre feed. For more information on setting up the feed to your Google Merchant Centre click here.

After your business data is implemented, and your feed is up and running you can do wonderful things like adding custom labels and also create Google Shopping Promotions.

Google Shopping promotions are a wonderful way of increasing CTR’s (20% in our experience) by simply having more visual presence.

Our client James Pirie enjoy the benefits of Google Shopping Promotions

Conclusion

If you are in e-commerce and not running Google Shopping Ads, then you are simply missing out on the best Google ad creation ever invented.

Scaling up

Google have also loosened up the rules in running Shopping ads in other countries. Originally, both your landing page and currency had to reflect your visitors location, however if English is a popular language in a country like the Netherlands for example, then you can run ads without the need for geo-language switching.

Also, with a UK currency feed – Google will allow automatic currency conversion using their own currency conversion data.

This means rapid scalability with the single feed set-up.

The effectiveness of these ads cannot be underestimated. And that’s before chatting about mart shopping, showcase shopping ads, promotions and Google shopping actions which is going to be a direct competitor to Amazon….. if it ever gets out of Beta.

It is available in the U.S. and France.

If you need any Google Shopping advice or wish to know on scaling up sales through shopping Ads simply email info@leagueofadvertising.com to find out more.

Google Ads can now track offline store visits.

This. is. critical. if. you. own. retail. stores.

Finally, we can now measure effectiveness of our Google Ads and other PPC strategies that drive footfall to your physical bricks and mortar store.

Google generously wants to help you understand how AdWords paid search campaigns influence those physical store purchases.  They deliver that generosity for the lucky businesses that can see “Store Visit” conversions in their AdWords account.  This is generally going to be hotels, restaurants, and retail stores. It is released in beta format.

This is an amazing addition for businesses in Northern Ireland especially, where a high percentage of online activity leads to an actual in-store purchase.

Google store visit conversions are available to a limited number of AdWords advertisers. In order to be eligible to measure store visit conversions you need to:

  • Have multiple physical store locations in eligible countries.
  • Receive thousands of ad clicks and many store visits.
  • Have a Google My Business account linked to your AdWords account.
  • Create each of your store locations in your Google My Business account.
  • Have at least 90% of your linked locations verified in Google My Business.
  • Ensure location extensions are active in your account.
  • Have sufficient store visits data on the backend to attribute to ad click traffic and pass Google’s user privacy thresholds.

Store visit conversions are determined using data from users that have opted-in to share their mobile device location history and are signed into a Google account, and also from users that are like them based on a highly accurate algorithm, which extrapolates data for non-signed in users.

How it works

Store visit data is based on anonymous, aggregated statistics. Google Ads creates modeled numbers by using current and past data on the number of people who click or view your ads and later visit your store.

Store visit data can’t be tied to individual ad clicks, viewable impressions, or people. Google use industry best practices to ensure the privacy of individual users.

Small numbers in store visit reports

Occasionally, store visit reports may show low numbers, even “1.” This can happen if you’re looking at data on more detailed level, such as segmenting by device. Because numbers are modeled and anonymized, “1” does not actually mean that that one person clicked or viewed an ad and then visited your store. Instead, it’s better to read this as a value close to one, or an average of one.

While this data can give you a sense of the breakdown of your campaign performance, store visit reports are more precise when the numbers are larger. So, to evaluate your campaign performance, we recommend using reporting levels with at least 100 store visits.

It’s also important to note that even when the reports present small numbers, our privacy techniques ensure that store visit data can’t be tied to individual people.

Get registering on-site store visits.

Want to get set up with this latest tracking conversion? Just email Marco at info@leagueofadvertising.com to find out more.

5 mistakes companies make when advertising on Facebook

There have been thousands if not millions of articles written about Facebook advertising, and I want to take this opportunity to deal with Northern Ireland exclusively.

reaction

We have been running Facebook campaigns for many years now. I’m constantly surprised at the lack of knowledge out there regarding the potential of Facebook – and Instagram – and how it can help local businesses generate valuable new leads.

First of all, I want to make something clear: Facebook is NOT a PR tool.

Whilst PR can form an engaging part of Facebook as part of an overall content strategy, if you constantly post pictures of “look at me” type content, you are missing out on huge areas of lead generation and new business opportunities.

Social media, and indeed Facebook, is not a “young person’s” platform. The younger demographic would primarily use instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Snapchat and utilise Instagram when sharing peer to peer.

Here are five things to consider when advertising on Facebook:

1. Liking a post is not the same as liking a page

We’ve all been there. A post is generating hundreds of likes but your Facebook page audience doesn’t appear to be growing at the same rate.

This comes from a change Facebook brought in a few years back to stop spam competitions and “fake” likes, and to improve the overall experience for Facebook users.

But there is a way to counter this – even in retrospect.

Simply click on the sentence below the post detailing the number of likes and reactions – up pops a list of people who have interacted with the post.

Then “invite” them to like your page, and they will receive a notification to do just that.

It’s a good way of organically getting people to follow your page.

2. The targeting is superb, but the numbers aren’t accurate-

Facebook trumps Google when it comes to targeting. There’s no better platform for demographic and interest-based identification than facebook. However, did you know there are more 18-year-olds on Facebook than there are on planet Earth? How does this happen?

-Put simply, a lot of teens will set their default age to 18, thinking it’s a pre-requisite to having a Facebook page. Thus Facebook believes there are millions more 18-year-olds than there are.

According to Facebook, there are 1,000,000 people in Northern Ireland on Facebook & Instagram.
This simply isn’t accurate. In reality, there are around 200,000 active individuals on these channels in Northern Ireland. So take the targeting with a pinch of salt. However, bear in mind that the targeting is highly effective, and advertising costs reflect this. And so 200.000 engaged is a huge number in the local context.

3. Campaigns automatically select Instagram as a placement

Facebook owns Instagram, and when creating campaigns using Facebook Power Editor it will pre-select Instagram as a placement. Instagram’s primary audience would be the under 25s and Facebook informs us there are approximately 200,000 people on Instagram in Northern Ireland (see above).

What this means is that unless you wish to target the under-25 market, you would be better deselecting Instagram as a placement and ensuring your whole budget goes on your Facebook demographic instead. Think of context here, and getting a better bang for your buck.

4. The dreaded 20% rule on images

Unfortunately, Facebook has invented a crazy rule stating that text should not exceed more than 20% of an image area. We have never worked out why this rule is there, but it means that text should be kept at a minimum.

Utilise Facebook’s 20% grid template to ensure you fall within their guidelines. Failure to do so may see your ad approved but highly limited in terms of exposure to your market – and yet you will be paying for it.

If creating an ad, we recommend having a title on the image or a logo, and then put any copy in the text spaces allowed accompanying the post.

5. Track your success

Facebook is a phenomenal marketing tool and without question should be used by most businesses. There are pitfalls however, and only trial and error can determine how effective it is for your company.

We suggest you add Facebook pixels to your website so you can track and measure any conversions you receive from your ads. This will give you infinitely more targeting options including re-marketing, which is a great way of showing your product or services to individuals who previously visited your website.

If you would like to know more about advertising on social media feel free to contact us for a chat and to download our free Facebook cheat-sheet.