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Going back a few years, Google Shopping (known then as Google Base) was a free to use platform for businesses to upload their product feed to gain free traffic via the Shopping area of the search results.
In 2012, Google Shopping as a paid platform for advertisers was launched giving eCommerce retailers a channel to really promote their products online.
As with any paid marketing platform, even the smallest mistake can make the difference between a profitable and a not so profitable campaign.
So, what do businesses think of the Google Shopping platform? Do they find it valuable? Is it driving a positive ROI?
We conducted a survey to 1,000 eCommerce retailers in the UK to find out how effective Google Shopping campaigns really are, and we highlighted some rather interesting results.
The number of businesses using Google Shopping is increasing and the average Cost Per Click (CPC) is rising with competitor demand. With this in mind, let’s find out what businesses think of costs and whether they are rising.
As you can see from the pie chart above, two thirds of businesses (66%) believe that the costs are rising with competitor demand. This emphasises the competitiveness Google Shopping is encountering, as popularity is increasing.
Once it had been established from the survey that businesses thought the costs of Google Shopping had risen substantially, we needed to drill down to find out the percentage increases that were being seen.
The results were quite varied, but highlighted just over a third of the businesses asked felt costs had risen between 30% and 40%. This was followed closely by 29% of businesses who felt costs had risen between 20% and 30%. These two results accounted for nearly two thirds of the businesses surveyed and the remaining 34% reported cost increases of 20% and under as shown on the pie chart above.
With the increased costs in mind, we wanted to find out how effective businesses thought Google Shopping campaigns were and if they felt that they were worth the extra investment.
It was interesting and very encouraging to note that 62% were positive about the results from Google Shopping and felt it offered a positive return on their investment. 23% disagreed and felt it was not a good investment, with 15% unsure of the value of Google Shopping.
So what could this mean? Google have many stats about how effective this channel can be but the set up needs to be done right. The 23% of businesses who were not seeing a good return are likely not to be running campaigns in the most effective manner.
Following on from the results above, we needed to understand more clearly how the comparison between Google Shopping and standard Google Search Network was perceived by the e-commerce businesses.
Nearly half of all e-commerce companies believed that the Google Shopping campaigns were generating a higher ROI than standard Google Search campaigns.
This was positive and showed that when the campaigns are run efficiently they can have a significant impact on profit. However, the pie chart also shows that there is still a lot of work to be done to encourage and convert other e-commerce companies to the benefits of Google Shopping.
It is important to ensure that your product data feed is kept up to date and is reflective of the products that you sell on your website. We wanted to understand how often businesses are updating their feed.
The results show that the majority of businesses (36%) update their product data feed weekly, followed closely by 26% of businesses updating their product data feed every couple of weeks.
What’s most surprising is that only 4% of businesses update their product data feed every day, which is the actual recommended amount of time advised by Google. Worryingly, this suggests that the product data feeds are not providing the best quality data that they could be and therefore, may be jeopardising the performance of their Shopping campaigns.
Google will introduce their own ‘Buy Now’ button within the search results in the near future. We wanted to find out what e-commerce businesses thought about this impacting on their sales via the Shopping channel.
42% believed this new feature would impact negatively on their sales figures via the Shopping channel and 31% did not know.
Google have not released much information about this new feature, so these results are not surprising. The data suggests that businesses need to be educated on the pros and cons of the Google ‘Buy Now’ button and as soon as we know more about this feature, we will be sure to write about it on the Koozai blog.
Google recently announced the new Manufacturers Center, which will increase product accuracy in Shopping Results as manufacturers have more control over how products are displayed. We wanted to find out if businesses would prefer to keep control or were happy for manufacturers to take the lead?
Nearly ¾ of businesses wanted to keep control of their product data feed, following on with 18% who would let manufacturers have control and finally 14% of those who did not know.
We see potential advantages and disadvantages to this (watch this video to find out more about it) but with it being such a new addition, it will be interesting to see how this develops over time and whether or not businesses see improvements in the ROI if manufacturers have more control over product information supplied.
The Google Shopping survey results reveals concerns about rising CPC and account costs. However, many eCommerce businesses are generally happy with the ROI they are receiving from their Google Shopping campaign but as with any marketing efforts, there is always going to be room for improvement.
The survey also uncovered a worrying lack of understanding of the ‘Buy Now’ button in Google search results. There was a common view that it will have a negative impact on sales via the shopping channel, when in fact Google state that they are introducing the button to make the sales journey simpler for users purchasing products.
Similarly, with the new Manufacturers Center, many businesses seem to follow a similar view of wanting to keep in control of their product data feed. This may be due to a lack of understanding or the fact that it has only just been released (hence not many case studies or stats to back it up), which may give businesses a level of uncertainty.
To conclude, we can see that the results are mostly positive but advertisers really need to stay ahead of the game to compete in this increasingly crowded marketplace. With Google launching multiple new features for Google Shopping on a regular basis, optimisation techniques need to be tailored and adapted to suit.
We are certainly looking forward to seeing where Google take their shopping product and the ways in which we can help advertisers get more from their campaigns in the coming months and years.
For more information about our survey and media requests, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Samantha Noble is well known within in the search industry, she even won the UK Search Personality 2016 at the UK Search Awards in November. This year, she continues to make an impact on the industry by judging not only one, but three, prestigious industry awards.