Google has announced several updates to improve the mobile user experience during the holiday season. These updates are customized to the user's search history. The goal is to bring more product-specific information to mobile users and empower them with comparative shopping solutions through their mobile devices.
More Product Information and Buying Guides
So, what does Google hope to accomplish with these updates? Better yet, how will these updates help eCommerce, fashion and retail outlets? First, this is just another step in Google's initiative to increase in-store traffic for retailers. Second, these changes are meant to simplify how mobile users search, identify and comparison shop their favorite products online. Finally, the goal is to improve user experiences, increase lead generation for advertisers, and incentivize spontaneous purchases. So, what updates were implemented?
1. Broad Search Terms and Improved Categories
Google is now showing buying guides where mobile users can access broad category listings. Users who enter broad search terms like “coffee maker” and “toaster oven” will be presented with a slew of brand options, complete with product availability and product descriptions. This helps to narrow down a user's search terms into more product-specific or brand-specific searches.
2. More Product-Specific Information
Google’s focus on product-specific data for users is also included in this recent upgrade. This will improve how users comparison shop long before they visit a store. Users can now see product reviews, consumer ratings, prices, shipping costs and other critical information like specifications and dimensions. All this information is presented to mobile users so they can make a side-by-side comparison of different in-store offers.
3. Updates on Newer Model Availability and Upgrades through “Quick View”
A “newer model available" label has been added to electronic Google Shopping ads. This is an ideal solution for tech-savvy mobile users anxiously awaiting the newest releases from their favorite brands. This change has been added so that users are made aware of the most recent version of a product.
Users can then deep dive into the new upgrades and compare specifications and functionality across product listings through the “Quick View” button. A perfect example might include comparing the iPhone 8 vs. iPhone X.
Why is Google Doing this Now?
Google is well aware that Amazon is the dominant online retailer with the largest share of the market. Amazon is expected to achieve $196.8 Billion in eCommerce sales in 2017, which represents an astonishing 43.5% of internet-based purchases in the United States, up from 38.1% and $149.1 Billion in 2016. With eBay a distant second at 6.8%, Google aims to take advantage of the rise in mobile-driven purchases. The goal is to position Google as the first option for frenzied shoppers looking for the best deals on last-minute shopping ideas.
Each of these updates aims to improve the user’s experience which should increase lead generation and in-store visits for retailers. As mobile-driven purchases increase, consumers are becoming more informed and educated, and they're using that knowledge to avoid long lines and wait times in store. They're planning their purchases well in advance. To be prepared for the upcoming holiday rush, Google pulled search data for broad search terms, non-branded searches, as well as product-specific and brand-specific searches prior to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Google’s Think With Google blog outlines the trend on Black Friday mobile-driven searches. Those searches have increased by 80% over the past two years. That trend shows that broad, non-branded searches dominate in early November. Branded and product-specific searches dominate two weeks leading up to Black Friday as shoppers narrow down their searches to the most favorite brands. Some of the most popular clothing and attire brands include Canada Goose, Nike KD 10 (Kevin Durant), and Nike Air Jordan Retro 11. The most popular games include Call of Duty WW2 and Nintendo Switch.
What Does this Mean Moving Forward?
Create a game plan. As an advertiser, you must research the most widely-recognized brand names and compare them to the search results you’re generating. Do the same for generic product description search terms. You want to itemize those products highest in searches.
Ensure your feed is up-to-date. Include all the important and relevant product information. Use high-quality images and detailed product descriptions. Include the most recent reviews and product grades that your best selling items have received. Identify the low hanging fruit within your product portfolio and decide whether these need to be emphasized more based on existing search volumes.
Track and monitor mobile search behavior throughout the holidays. There will be mobile users looking for deals immediately after December 25th, so be sure to keep your products up-to-date all the way through December. Take advantage of each of these Google updates by matching those highly sought-after products with your catalog and product availability.
Finally, be sure to take advantage of mobile drive-to-store campaigns with a proactive geo-fence marketing strategy. This involves creating a virtual perimeter where your solution pops up on their mobile devices any time a potential customer comes within your store's location. Using behavioral and location targeting strategies ensures more in-store sales and visits.
If you're looking for more insight into maximizing the upcoming holiday season for mobile users, then this is a must read: How Feed Quality Affects Google Shopping.