Google Gives Update On Shopping Going Full Paid Inclusion, Hints At AdWords’ Future On Q3 Call

Now that Google’s new pay-for-play Shopping is in full swing (the changeover took place October 17), the company used its earnings call to share thoughts on its success thus far, and its future vision for the product. Additionally, Google execs came out with some tidbits about the status and future of other elements of its advertising business.

Nikesh Arora

According to SVP and Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora, the company is listing more than a billion products from tens of thousands of merchants and over 100,000 sellers. (The distinction is that marketplaces — such as (Etsy or eBay — could be comprised of many sellers.)

Said Arora:

… we believe being able to do product listing ads gets us closer to intent because if somebody types a Nikon D800 then we know they are looking to buy or looking to get more information about a specific product. And the fact that we can show them reviews, pictures and pricing information gets us closer to action. And we believe in the medium term that’s going to create more monetization and a better monetization for us as opposed to having just 10 blue links of ads that would send them to other websites. So I think that’s going to have a good impact in the medium term, I don’t think I’m going to comment whether that has an impact [on Google's financials] in Q4 or not.

The advertisers participating in Google Shopping are seeing an impact, though, according to the execs. Adorama camera, one of the biggest photo retailers in the U.S. saw its click through rate jump by 176% when the company began using product listing ads, and their conversion rate was up 100% in June as compared to the previous years.

And CEO Larry Page says more changes will be coming to Google Shopping. “There’s much more we can do to get you the right information at just the right time,” he said on the call, later adding that “I think we are still in the early stages of that.”

Goals For Google Shopping

One goal, according to Arora, is to reduce the number of steps from search to transaction, “making the online experience even more valuable to consumers and marketers.” But Google, at least according to product manager Jon Venverloh, doesn’t want to host the transaction itself. At the recent SMX East conference, Venverloh pointedly noted that the customer and the transaction will belong to the merchant, and not to Google.

One way in which the speeding from search to transaction is already happening is Google’s mobile click-to-call ads. Arora said click-to-call ads are now generating 20 million calls a month to AdWords advertisers.

The Future Of AdWords Across Devices?

The other aspect of the earnings call I found intriguing was Page’s hinting at how the company will be developing its advertising products to optimize for a multi-screen consumer experience. The gist is a vision of an advertiser creating one ad that would be delivered and optimized across multiple devices automatically:

I think we are really starting to live in a new reality, one where [there is a] kind of ubiquity of screens. Apps users really move from intent to action much faster and more seamlessly. I think this will create a huge new universe of opportunities for advertisers…. Focusing on platform-specific queries won’t make much sense because advertisers will be dynamically adapting across a whole bunch of different devices to reach the right audiences at the right time. And that’s kind of how we are thinking about it and I alluded to changes that we’ll make to our ads system to improve the advertiser experience and the user experience around that.

And a little more on the same topic:

…we want to make advertising super simple for customers. Online advertising has developed in very device-specific ways, with separate campaigns for desktop and mobile. This makes arduous work for advertisers and agencies, and means mobile opportunities often get missed. So we’re working to significantly simplify the campaign experience, working very hard on that. Advertisers should be free to think about their audience, while we do the hard work of dynamically adapting their campaigns across devices.

Not sure what that will mean in reality but it sounds like Google wants to use labor-saving technology to customize and optimize across platforms. I can’t imagine current marketers would object unless they didn’t have the option to go manual instead.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Google: AdWords | Google: AdWords: Product Listing Ads | Google: Google Shopping | Top News


About The Author: is Executive Features Editor at Search Engine Land and Marketing Land. She’s a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since 1998.

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  • Alan

    They are assuming that users are always looking to buy something! typical of Googles mentality lately. They don’t care about people doing research for any other reason!

    A search engine that goes back to Google original premise of doing what is best for the user (as opposed to now doing what makes them the most money) will win the search engine space away from Google! The sooner the better!

  • Get TinyVox & Say It

    Pamela this was a freaking awesome story, so very interesting and strategic. Thanks !!!!!

  • David Rothwell

    And Google just this week turned on a new source of “found money” in the transition to Pay to Play for ecommerce merchants using their (previously free) Merchant Center for the new Google Shopping ads:
    USA only at the moment, with the rest of the world to follow in 2013.
    Also, lookout Groupon! Google is after local offers too:
    Has Google got anything to worry about in its revenue stream? I don’t think so …

    Read more here:

  • MonopolizedSearch

    Fewer products in Google shopping means that it will be less of a resource for consumers. Many businesses, already squeezed by thin margins, have pulled their products feeds entirely. I personally will skip Google for product related transactions entirely as I know many retailers will inflate their prices to accommodate Google’s cut in the transactions.

  • Matt Van Wagner

    Nicely captured, Pamela. It will be interesting to see what Larry Page and his engineers can do to simplify AdWords multi-platform ad management, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg, really. We’ve got search. We’ve got social. We’ve new devices that have different usage profiles, and audiences whose behaviors we have to parse for each hour of the day, each day of the week, depending on what device they are working with. Online marketing is getting dizzyingly complex very quickly.

  • Durant Imboden

    A lot of SEOs and e-commerce people seem to think that Google searches are only about buying things, but Google obviously hasn’t fallen into that trap: If Google did believe that, it wouldn’t need to have Google Shopping: Google Search would *be* Google Shopping.

    As a searcher, and as the owner of an information site, I think Google Shopping is probably a good thing. Mind you, the trick will be in finding a balance between Google Shopping results and informational results in searches on keyphrases like “Nikon D800″ (the example cited by Mr. Arora).

  • Michael Rizzo

    The big question is how does google rank products?

  • Trevor James McCann

    Damn, this is a good response. The more Google tries to suck money out of marketers the lower the margins and profitability it will become. What then? Google will turn into a “shopping directory” of “authority sites for user experience”. Aka amazon, ebay, wikipedia on every damn search.

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