The Impact Of Google Shopping On Digital Marketing In The UK

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RICHARD TALBOT Head of Paid Search

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Google shopping came into being in 2002, initially called Froogle. In April 2007, the service was renamed Google Product Search because research showed people had no idea what Froogle was about. In May 2012, the service was once again renamed, this time as Google Shopping. The Google Shopping site still uses froogle.com to redirect clients to its services.

Google Shopping allows users to search for products in the online shopping markets. The online market contains a variety of products and their respective prices, hence shoppers are exposed to a wide range of products at competitive prices.

Impact on paid search

Before the advent of Google shopping, every PPC campaign placed on Google were free. Companies were able to showcase their online products at no cost. But since May 2012, all retailers have had to pay to advertise their products in the online market. The Google ads ensure that products achieve high ranking in search results. These rankings are crucial in making online shoppers aware of the products.

When a company pays to advertise a product, the product or company name is expected to pop up when any word contained in the ad is searched for. When it comes to paid search, there is a clear relationship between budget and revenue. The higher the budget for an ad, the more revenue it is expected to generate. A paid ad makes the product easily accessible and more relevant in the online shops. Google shopping offers an added advantage to large enterprises since big companies have the means to pay for advertisements whereas smaller companies may not.

Paid search means the cost per click on your site increases, and in some cases an increase in traffic also results. More traffic means you get the opportunity to figure out how your shoppers behave, and use the information to improve the quality of your service.

Use of the platform

To use Google shopping more effectively, companies need to ensure that every product is targeted. Targeting products involves using relevant words in your ads. These let Google know where the business product can be displayed, based on what is searched for. Google’s shopping site allows shoppers to get the best deals by allowing for easy price comparisons.

Google Shopping’s impact for Advertisers

According to a recent report released by RKG, Product Listing Ads (PLAs) accounted for more non-brand traffic to retailers than traditional text ads. In other words, 56% of non-brand clicks were from PLA ads and while 44% of clicks were from text ads, highlighting an undeniable trend in eCommerce PPC.

Here are some possible reasons why this happened:

Firstly, when Google introduced PLAs, ads were either placed between the paid and organic results or placed above the ads on the right-hand side of the page and, as expected, did not generate a large amount of traffic. Recently, Google has given priority to PLAs by placing them above the paid results for a high volume of search queries to naturally attract more clicks.

Secondly, the way these campaigns are set up, there are now probably millions of search queries that PLA ads rank for that text ads don’t, since Google gives priority to PLAs. This has organically raised some potential clicks PLAs offer to websites.

Lastly, PLA ads are significantly more accurate and richer; they contain accurate pricing, images and are sure to shoot up straight to the product page. They are more reliable than text ads. Users have welcomed them and feel more comfortable clicking on them.

Results for advertisers

Advertisers on Google intend to get the best out of the service. For best results on Google shopping, advertisers need to ensure high visibility of products by using some of the special tools and techniques provided by Google. Google Keyword Planner is an example of such a tool. It helps to target specific keywords or phrases that are being searched by Google users. Understanding this, and putting it to good use, will increase traffic and ROI.

The more information Google has about your products, the greater your chances of getting search results. When much information is provided about your company, the products can be found easily when searched for on Google. Companies that provide relevant information about their products get better results on Google shopping than those with irrelevant or scanty product details.

Digital shopping trends in the UK

The population of UK are the biggest web shoppers in the EU, alongside the Danes. Britain’s shopping habits have changed in the recent years: the number of adults shopping online has more than doubled, from 35% in 2006 to 76% in 2016.

E-commerce embodies different types of business exchanges including electronic data interchange and website revenues. E-commerce plays a vital role in the UK economy; such role is highlighted by the value of revenue from e-commerce, which in 2012 reached a staggering £492 billion. The figure represented a 47% increase from the £335 billion recorded in 2008. Astonishingly, the figure represented 18% of the total non-financial business turnover in 2012.

Relevant digital shopping trends

Smartphone shopping is increasingly popular and will continue to play a vital role in the future of digital shopping. Shoppers love the idea of getting updates of products in stores from their phones, among other benefits. Also, the prices of products are searched online on phones before a decision to purchase is made. Some stores are even equipped with Bluetooth beacons for sending out ads and information about products to shoppers.

Insights from Google Trends

Google trends show how often a particular word is searched across a variety of countries, which means Google trends can be used to find the words that are used most during searches. Knowing these words gives you the opportunity to include them in your adverts so that the next time the word is used, your ad pops up. Google trends provide a great insight into digital marketing strategies in general.

Google shopping creates opportunities for individuals to get the best products at affordable prices from online markets. It also creates opportunities for companies to inform the world of the presence of their products in the online market. It’s a valuable opportunity that should be grabbed with both hands.

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RICHARD TALBOT Head of Paid Search

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An experienced digital marketer with 8+ years of industry experience, Richard has worked in client account management at both Google AdWords and Microsoft's Bing Ads in Dublin. He now leads the Paid Search & Display Advertising team at Tinderpoint delivering successful campaigns for a portfolio of diverse national and international clients across many industries.