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Google Unwraps New Online-to-offline Ad Innovations for Holidays Shopping Season and Beyond

Google announces new online-to-offline features on the cusp of the holiday shopping season and beyond for marketers to reach new customers and measure the impact to their business.

Here’s a list of new feautres anounced today:

To help shoppers discover brand and product selection, Google is introduicng “Showcase Shopping ads,” that help brands curate a collection of lifestyle images and products for people to explore and discover — “what they want to buy and who they want to buy from. “

These ads are now available to advertisers globally in 15 new countries, and can be access from the new AdWords experience. Screenshot of example Showcase Shopping ads:

Google Showcase Shopping Ads

Apparel shopping updates

In mobile Shopping results, a new visually rich “apparel search” is introduced that features design alongside brand logos, and filters, so shoppers can quickly narrow down search based on sizing, price range and more.

Additionally, more recommendations based on user’s past clothing preferences are surfaced in the “Similar looks.”

Here, an example of new apparel shopping search:Google Apparel Search

Local inventory on Google Assistant

“Local inventory” on Google Assistant, which makes it easy for shoppers to move between online and offline stores, let brands organically sufrace products from their local stores to users. When asked on phone or Google home, “Okay Google, Where can I buy _____ nearby?,” Google will surface a list of local inventory results.

To be eligible inclusion in local inventory search, retailers need to upload local product inventory feed to Google Merchant Center, so products will begin automatically appearing in relevant results on the Assistant.

The screenshot below is an example local inventory in Google Assistant:

Local inventory on Google Assistant

Local inventory ads in Shopping campaigns

Soon, much like print catalogs or circulars, marketers will be able to promote their in-store products and promotions across Google to drive more foot traffic with new “local ad for Display,” which is now open to all advertisers, so they can set up display campaigns and upload assets, including feed and images.

Also, ‘shop with me’ and ‘store tour’ videos are helping drive incremental and higher-value store visits. For example, ‘shop with me’ popularity is grown to over 10x in past two years on mobile, while watchtime of ‘store tour’ on YouTube grew by 10x.

Location extensions are now available across Search, Display and YouTube — and point people to helpful information like store hours and directions to business.

Local ad for Display example screenshot:

Local ad for Google Display Network

Store visits measurement updates

To help understand full offline impact of local ads and other formats on Google Display Network, the company is upgrading store visits measurement for display advertisers, as well as adding reporting for impression-based store visits, which will become available in coming months.

Store visits are measured based on aggregated and anonymized data from users who opt in to activate Location History. This is done in a secure, privacy-safe way without sharing any personal location information.

Additionally, Google alongside “distance and location” reporting for store visits, also making following three new reports to AdWords for more granular insights:

  • Time lag report shows the time between and ad click and users store visit and help understand how quickly they take action offline.
  • New vs. returning customer report will show how many of store visits come from repeat customers. “Together with the time lag report, this can help you gauge how your ads drive incremental visits,” writes Kishore Kanakamedala.
  • Demographic report let you add store visits as a column to existing demographic reports to see which groups are more likely to visit your locations.

Finally, with iPhone X now available for pre-order, to help app developers adapt a better ad experience for users with new design considerations as the rounded corners, notch, and home screen indicator on extended screen — today, put together a guide, that includes guidance for how you can shift placement of banner or native ads to designated “safe areas” for this new device.

Also, policies indicating that ads must not be placed where objects may interfere with user’s typical interaction with the ad or app, such as under the home screen indicator on the iPhone X is now availble.

Update 10/26: Continuing with new innovations announced at SMX East in NYC, Google also updated its Best Practices guides with recommendations to drive more offline sales with online ads, and to glean more actionable insights from store visits data.

Next, it’s critical to get a holistic view of your conversions to measure the full impact of your ads across online and offline channels. Use store visits for eligible advertisers to understand how your digital campaigns drive in-store performance.

Update 10/27: Watch this quick video to learn how to reach customers near you with location extensions in AdWords:

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