Pricing and promotions in Google Shopping could be more important than ever this year.
Along with updates for merchants’ holiday Shopping campaign efforts, on Thursday, Google announced consumer-facing updates in Shopping that retail marketers should pay attention to — particularly as it relates to the importance of pricing and promotions.
Retail advertisers will also have access to more reporting and performance insights for Shopping campaigns and new customer targeting for Smart Shopping is coming out of beta.
This, of course, is also the first holiday season with free and paid listings in Shopping, and Thursday’s updates further reflect Google’s new approach to commerce.
Consumer price comparisons, deal alerts
In addition to being able to compare prices across retailers in the Shopping tab, users can also now see whether an item’s price is “high, low or typical compared to other prices from across the web and in nearby stores.” Price insights will show on product Shopping pages when a user clicks on a listing on the Shopping tab. If they want to try to wait for a better price, users can enable “price tracking” to get alerts either via email or in the Google app.
They’ll also be able to compare pricing and shipping options for both online and local retailers, including curbside and in-store pickup
Advertiser promotions get faster, more visible
Merchant promotions are now available to all U.S. retailers and they will show in more places across Google.
A quick note: Google is referring to these simply as “promotions” now, but these are the offers that you set up in Merchant Center. The way they appear on Google often changes (and more on that below), but here’s an example of one in an ad on desktop:
Promotions appearing in Shopping ads on desktop.
One drawback of promotions has been approval wait times. Last month, Google announced it would be approving promotions much faster and that advertisers would be able to edit them after they go live, and both of these capabilities are now live. In the past, slow promotion reviews often meant short-lived sales — the kinds of flash sales that are particularly popular during the holidays — were nearly over before promotions got approved. That should be much less likely this holiday season. Editing will also allow advertisers to edit the promotion timing and duration.
Promotions are also now eligible to show on both free and paid listings on the Shopping tab (opt-into surfaces across Google in Merchant Center to enable free listings), mobile Image search as well as in local inventory ads (LIAs) on Search.
Promotions can show in more surfaces across Google. Image: Google.
Optimize for new customers in Smart Shopping
The new customer acquisition goal in Smart Shopping campaigns is now out of beta. Announced in July, along with new Smart Shopping display ad formats and shipping annotations, the new customer acquisition goal allows marketers to set a separate conversion value on new customers to inform Google’s automated bidding.
The other goal options in Smart Shopping campaigns are “sales to new and existing customers,” and “store visits.”
More auction insights, reporting for merchants
Auction insights metrics will be available in Google Ads Report Editor at some point next month. The data will be available for both Search and Shopping campaigns.
Performance planner is also available for Shopping and Smart Shopping campaigns, as of last month. This allows you to see conversion, conversion value, conversion rate and spend estimates based on your targets and historical performance. The forecasts are updated daily, taking into account fluctuations over the previous 7 to 10 days. Google says the seasonality model has also been adjusted for recent market fluctuations.
A new Report Editor is also coming to Merchant Center. In addition to custom reports, you can make custom dashboards. If it’s available in your account, you’ll see it under Performance in the left nav. (If you’re only seeing the Surfaces across Google card, note there are easily-missable links at the bottom — “by product, by brand, by category” — to get segmented details on those clicks.)
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Ginny Marvin was Third Door Media’s former Editor-in-Chief (October 2018 to December 2020), running the day to day editorial operations across all publications and overseeing paid media coverage. Ginny Marvin writes about paid digital advertising and analytics news and trends for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, Ginny has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.