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How to Use Google Shopping to Acquire Customers on Search

On today's episode, Steve sits down with Harrison Phillips, VP of Paid Search, to discuss Google's updates on Google Shopping and making image search's shoppable. Tune in to learn how Google has been trying over the last couple years to really expand upon Google shopping and how we're using it with eComm brands to acquire new customers at? scale.

Episode Transcript — How to Use Google Shopping to Acquire Customers on Search

Narrator: You're listening to the Spend $10k a Day Podcast, brought to you by the performance marketing experts at MuteSix. This is your source for cutting edge insight into the world of online advertising from the team with more Facebook case studies than any other agency on the planet. Here is your host, Steve Weiss.

Steve Weiss: Hello, everyone. Welcome back to another episode today of the Spend $10k a Day Podcast. Today, we have a new update to Google, and then we're going to be talking about... Yup. I also have Harrison with us today, who runs our search team... very YouTube focused.

Harrison: Yup.

Steve Weiss: And we're going to be talking today about Google's foray into Shoppable. We call it Shoppable, very similar to Pinterest, Shoppable Instagram, Shoppable Pinterest. Now Google is integrating Shoppable images into images, and this is a big change because it's opening up more ad inventory for Google Shopping. Google has been trying over the last couple of years to really expand upon Google Shopping and be a place for discovery. That's the biggest goal of Google, is they want to be a place for discovery to compete with aforementioned Facebook and Google. So, Harrison:

Harrison: Yup.

Steve Weiss: What does this change mean today? Obviously we saw this pop up today. We knew it was coming in a lot of ways, but to you as running a media team, you see this change probably. What does this point you to do? How are you changing your strategy?

Harrison: Well, let's explain what it is. So actually on Google images now, you're able to see a little sponsored promotion on the actual image. And click a product, and it'll take you directly to that product, which is really awesome. So they've done this with Shopping, as Steve said, they want to expand their inventory. Right? So we now have YouTube shopping, we now have smart shopping, which serves on both display and within Gmail. And now we're going to be able to show shopping ads in Google images. That's incredibly powerful.

Steve Weiss: So for those listening who are very Facebook focused media buyers and want to really start leveraging Google as a core acquisition channel. What is smart shopping for discipline? Kind of go into that. I don't know if all of our listeners understand exactly about smart shop.

Harrison: Yeah. So the difference between standard shopping and smart shopping is that smart shopping will show outside of your traditional shopping tab. So, smart shopping will show on both G-mail and display. It'll show on YouTube as well. So if you've ever watched any YouTube ad and you see shopping products under the ad or under the video, that's your smart shopping campaign. And now, we're getting into images. So like you said, Steve, earlier, shopping is our best way on Google to discover new customers. Expanding this inventory only makes sense for Google. Expanding into images only make sense because it expands the pool of users that we can hit.

Steve Weiss: So, obviously Google is not using AI. I'm looking at an image on your screen, which I'm going to try and describe to the listeners here. It's a picture of an office on Google images, and inside the office is office supplies, which all have listings on top of those supplies. So, you could literally click and go to the dark wood desks in a Google Shopping ad, and then you can also click and go to the chair as well. So this is really interesting that AI is really evolving to a point where Google is now taking images and really just placing links inside the images from Google,

Harrison: Yeah. Just like Shoppable Instagram. Literally just like Pinterest. It's all visual, right? That's we love shopping so much more than search, and why it converts so much better. You can see the product, you can see the price point much attuned to like a Facebook feed, where you actually have some kind of visceral reaction when you're looking at the product. It makes sense. So this is just, again, giving us a new way to expand our reach and a new way to convert users.

Steve Weiss: So what type of companies, or what type of brands should I say really Leverage shopping the best? So obviously you have an e-commerce brands. Say you're a home office brand, you're selling home office furniture is a great example. You have some skews that are very profitable, and you have other skews which aren't very profitable. The goal is is to really integrate your paid media with your business model, with the rules of your business.

Steve Weiss: The rules of your business state that these seven, eight different products are the highest margin, highest profitable. I want to drive profitable media, profitable new users to buy these seven or eight products. Obviously I have a lot of other products which some are really good, but they just don't have the profitability margin of these seven or eight products. How do you leverage Google Shopping in a very intelligent way to really drive traffic demand to your most profitable products?

Harrison: That's a great question. And your Google team, if you're a brand listening to this, should help you with this. But you can actually not only break out your shopping campaigns by product category, so back to the margin conversations. You can break it out by product as well. And what I would recommend doing is breaking out a custom column that incorporates whatever margin you have on that specific product, so that you can actually not only see CPA and return on ad spend, but actually like Steve was saying earlier, alluding to is like what are your highest grossing margin categories?

Harrison: What are your highest grossing margin products? Add that as a custom column and then break out your shopping campaigns by those products. So, yeah. What kind of companies have a lot of success on shopping? Any e-commerce, really. That's where you're going to differentiate yourself. You're trying to find non-branded keyword variations to plug into your product titles that are going to work for your brand and allow you to beat ... Say if you're in the apparel space and specifically the fitness space, how are we going to beat Rhone? How are we going to beat Mack Weldon or Lulu Lemon? Some of these bigger brands with tons of funding. You actually edit your product titles. And as I just said, you break up your campaigns by product categories and your highest grossing product margins.

Steve Weiss: So one thing which I think is real, I just had a really good conversation earlier today. Talked about the correlation between being a good marketer and understanding business. We always pride everyone on our team, whether it's at MuteSix, whether you're on the search team, the Facebook team, or the email team to understand that business rationale of why to do a specific action. I think understanding business is so important to being a good digital marketer. It's not just building great creative or building great ads. It's really understanding business, supply chain, understanding gross margin on each product. Understanding shipping, how much skews are, how much specific types of shipping, et cetera, et cetera. And what you're starting to see is that Google and Facebook are becoming more deeply integrated into the supply chain. And you're starting to see that the products that have good velocity and good sales are being integrated into more native looking areas of Google's feed, whether it's images and so on and so forth.

Steve Weiss: Harrison, just to pick into your brain a little bit. How is Google going to get more into discovery? How are they going to conquer this new ... Conquer and compete, should I say, with Facebook and Pinterest on driving discovery because ... They already own intent, obviously. So discovery is a new forte, and I think images is the first boat. But I know...

Harrison: Yup.

Steve Weiss: Yup. So tell a little more about what's becoming popular with video on YouTube.

Harrison: Yeah. Well, to your first point, I think what we're doing at MuteSix is we're building what we like to call digital CMOs. So guys that working outside of your traditional media buying, we want to advise you on what images you're showing on shopping. We want to advise you on what best creative is going to work on YouTube. And also, deeper understanding of your margins and your supply chain. But to answer your questions, Steve, I almost see search one day just being images and videos. Unless the links, I mean, I don't know if that's actually less text ads. But that's where, in my opinion, it is probably trending. Right? Everything to me seems like it's going towards video 360 display ads, 360 more YouTube ads, and people that are going to win in the future are going to have a really good understanding of what video converts direct response. How can you make video and images native to their respective platform, whether it be Pinterest or Google Shopping or Google images, and differentiate your brand that way.

Steve Weiss: One thing I want to add, which as Google starts launching some more of these placement types. It's to really understand from measurement perspective, which specific placement is driving the biggest impact on your business? I think there's a lot of companies which really trust the Facebook or the Google data that's coming in, and I think understanding this thing called incrementality. I know for those listeners that are very deep into measurement, really this is a word that's probably synonymous with a lot of people who talk about measurement. But, really understanding you start opening up YouTube, you start opening obviously Shoppable images, and you start seeing that there is a lift on other channels. You start seeing that email starts converting more. What percentage lifts since you launched this specific placement are you seeing, and really having someone on your measurement team really start tracking and mapping out what incrementality is to your brand.

Steve Weiss: It could be incrementality based on a product. It could be if you're doing lead generation. It could be incrementality based on a region of the country. Really mapping out what a measurement system is for your brand is so important as we start opening up these new placements. I can't tell you how important it is, how many conversations I have about measurement because it's still on everyone's mind. Because last click is gone.

Harrison: It's dead.

Steve Weiss: It just becomes more and more important to have that one person or that person who really understands measurement on your team to really advise where you should be allocating your money.

Harrison: Absolutely. One of the things you can do within the Google ads platform by the way, is you can actually log notes now in the new interface. Say you launched a discovery YouTube campaign that day, and you wanted to see overall how it effected impressions across search and shopping. One of the really cool things you can do is actually add notes.

Steve Weiss: That's cool.

Harrison: Yeah. One last thing about Google images, which I think is really interesting, is we know that shopping is probably the best place to discover new customers across the slew of Google products that you have offering to you. They're actually now saying that 50% of shoppers are reportedly inspired to shop based on Google images. Yeah, that's a Google study. But take it for what you will. But at the end of the day, you have to be there if you're a retail brand, so better to adopt it now rather than later.

Steve Weiss: And also, just remember when you run these ads, it's just so important to really keep tabs on the images that are showing. So many times, brands will see that they're getting conversions and they're getting good data coming in, but they see the images or the creative that's being run. They're like, "Whoa. That's not a good way I want my brand position." So, I always also suggest everyone listening to really have a good grip on what people are converting to and make sure that it is very ... You're being very brand conscious, should I say, when you start thinking of which images to run.

Harrison: So true. One of the other things I'll add to that is a lot of times people think that they can just run a product with a white background on Google Shopping. We have consistently seen that lifestyle images work just as well, if not better. How are you going to distinguish yourself if you're an apparel brand and you're going up against four other similar khakis pants? Are you just going to run your pants on a white background versus these other bigger brands?

Harrison: Or, do you want to put a lifestyle photo in there and see if that doesn't help improve engagement? So it's definitely a really good thing to think about.

Steve Weiss: You start seeing that the smartest e-commerce brands from a merchandising perspective are really building creative around the merchandise that they're super strong with. They're not just throwing up these white background images of sweats. They're doing lifestyle type images with people actually in it around products that they actually have in supply. So, you start seeing that there is a merchandising element to being good at Google Shopping. You have to actually have the product and you have to be able to market the product.

Harrison: Exactly. MeUndies does this really well. [inaudible 00:13:13] and Rhone, they also do it really well. Yeah.

Steve Weiss: So cool. So, this is an awesome podcast. If you want to learn more, obviously you could always email myself or Harrison at mutesix.com. Steven, mutesix.com. If you have any questions regarding Shoppable Google images, we have another awesome podcast coming up next week. I'm not going to tell you exactly what it is, but it's around new creative that Facebook's going to be launching. I'm excited to have a deeper creative dive in terms of augmented reality and so on and so forth for how you could kind of correlate that to your business, whether you are a performance marketer. Whether you work on the brand side, et cetera, et cetera. It's always very important to really stay in tune to what's going on as far as how these platforms are leveraging creative, because creative is where all the efficiency is happening. So, thank you so much for coming on, and we'll chat soon.

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