Google To Release New Shopping And Travel Features

By Emma Franks | @akaEmmaLouise | Production Associate at Hanapin Marketing

Well, we have all survived another Amazon #PrimeDay! Whether or not you found a great deal on Tuesday, Google has ensured that no PPC-er left the event empty-handed. According to their official blog, several upcoming changes to Shopping and travel-related ads can be expected in the near future.


A New Kind Of Shopping Experience


The first Shopping update relates to SERPs, and how users will encounter sponsored ads in relation to general, non-brand product searches. Whereas a non-specific query such as “running shoes” would typically bring up a variety of related products, the new arrangement will feature these offerings in a “Showcase Shopping” format. As shown in the example below for a ‘summer dresses’ search, results will display a series of product groups with one larger image and two smaller ones to the right. When clicked, these product groups will take the user to a seller’s page, with a space for text followed by additional product listings.




An interesting addition to this feature is the pricing strategy. As Search Engine Land reported, advertisers will only pay for clicks that lead directly to their site, not for intermediate clicks to the expanded product listing. This will likely have a positive impact on broad-term conversion rates, as clicks become more qualified prior to purchase.


The Showcase ads will first be available automatically to current US, UK, and Australian merchants running Shopping campaigns. Google has also announced that a premium, customizable version is already in development.


A More Shopper-Friendly YouTube


The second set of Shopping updates relate to TrueView ads on YouTube, where 47% of users turn for purchase decision help at least once a month. These updates include:


  1. A new interactive, scrollable “Companion Banner” which lists available items and real-time product information.
  2. An optional “Product Picker,” enabling advertisers to select which Merchant Center products are featured in each TrueView for Shopping campaign.


As mobile use continues to climb for product research and purchases, these changes are designed to help boost branding efforts and ease the path to conversion for mobile users.


Innovating Across Locations


Other announced updates deal with travel and international purchases. When it comes to travel planning, 40% of searchers in Q1 of 2016 visited travel sites on their mobile device. Google has examined and responded to such research behavior with a number of features designed to make this planning easier and more efficient:


  • Hotel Smart Filters allow individuals to more quickly isolate hotel search results with the features, location, and price range they need.
  • Hotel Deal labels are automatically generated to signify when offered prices are lower than the historical norm.
  • Hotel Tips make recommendations, such as ways to save money with minor schedule adjustments.
  • Flights Price Tracking provides custom notifications when fares for a given date and route in Google Flights increase or decrease, eliminating the hassle of repeatedly checking by individual search.




Finally, to ease international sales, Google is developing a feature that will automatically convert prices into local currency. Already in testing for Australia, Switzerland, Canada, and the UK, this tool eliminates the need for users to manually or mentally calculate prices based on current exchange rates. This is a welcome innovation for advertisers with a large international audience, and will provide valuable growth opportunities as currency conversions continue to expand in coming weeks.


Are you excited about these new Google features? What impact do you expect they will have on Shopping and travel-related campaigns? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @ppchero.