What Google’s Product Search Updates Mean for Retailers
Search engines are constantly evolving, and none more so than Google. In fact, Google has created a unique position in the online landscape: it's both a search engine and comparison shopping engine, thanks to its price comparison service, Google Product Search (GPS). GPS, like many of Google's products and services, is updated regularly. And, as usual, any changes by Google are a call to action for marketers and retailers.
Traditionally, GPS product listings have been displayed as part of natural search results, with listing formats and positioning on pages varying depending on relevance. This fall, the service was updated and now includes paid advertising opportunities called "Product Extensions” and “Product Listing Ads."
Originally referred to as the “Plus Box,” Google Product Extensions enable retailers to enrich their existing keywords with more relevant and specific information about their retail merchandise. Available to all retailers, Product Extensions appear at the top of search results pages as well as along the right-hand rail.
Shoppers who click on an ad headline within the plus box are taken to a paid search landing page. When they click on an image within the plus box, however, they're taken to a product search landing page. Retailers determine which campaigns show Product Extensions, but Google decides the products that are shown.
Product Listing Ads
Product Listing Ads are now out of beta testing and available to retailers. Served from Google's Affiliate Network, Google Listing Ads have a cost-per-click-based pricing model. Product Listing Ads always appear at the top of the right-hand rail. Each ad contains an image of the product, product title, product price and at least one retailer's name.
Some Product Listing Ads feature multiple retailers per image and include pricing information.
Wrapping it Up
Retailers should keep a close eye on Google Product Search changes to ensure that they’re not missing an opportunity to improve their clickthrough rates. Also, retailers should enable product extensions and experiment to determine how this ad format impacts their keywords and product search. Track your progress and ensure that you have visibility into how your products are performing so you can make the right strategic moves and sell more this holiday season.