AdLib: Time to get set for Google Shopping
Media & Marketing with Michael Cullen
While search engine giant Google is prompting fake news queries of its own these days, last year saw some game changers for paid search. Mediaworks' head of search and analytics, Shane Lyons, says right-hand side ads were removed, expanded text ads rolled out and, for many advertisers, it was the year that mobile overtook desktop traffic for the first time.
Lyons sees four search trends emerging in Ireland. Firstly, Google Shopping will finally launch - a major step forward for Ireland's e-commerce stores. It opens the door to rich media ads on the search engine results page. Instead of just text ads, consumers can see the product and get a breakdown on specs. While it's still not known exactly when Google Shopping will arrive in Ireland, Lyons is telling clients to get set up with Merchant Centre and prepare product feed. That way, they can be up and running when the launch happens.
Facebook ad revenue continues to grow, with 84pc of spend coming from mobile in the third quarter of 2016. Growth is partly due to new ad formats but mainly because it's still the best digital channel for using demographics. Advertisers can overlay their search campaigns by focusing on age and gender.
However, Mediaworks' client trials found the results to be "underwhelming", due to the number of users in the unknown category. Google is trying to improve the functionality so audience targeting is more accurate. For advanced paid search, campaigns will become as much about audiences as they are about keywords.
Search advertisers can reduce wasted clicks by using products such as Remarketing Lists for Search Ads, tackling irrelevant audiences and bidding higher for audiences with more lucrative leads. But Lyons isn't over-excited about 2017 being mobile's 'finest hour', as has been touted since 2014.
Clients and search marketers need to think about landing pages, content and campaign set-up from a mobile-first perspective. Last year, mobile conversion rates improved and, as a result, consumers complete forms on their mobiles. Marketers should now build accounts knowing that most traffic growth will be from mobile.
Expanded Text Ads mean mobile-specific ads don't need to be written. Using Google's device-specific bid modifiers, advertisers can run mobile-only campaigns. It will be key in speeding up slow mobile performance, in simplifying mobile page content and ensuring online forms and checkout processes are more streamlined.
There's been much hype about voice search, with ComScore predicting half of all searches will be voiced by 2020. But Lyons says, while voice search will increase, there should be no let-up in consumers typing search queries.
* One e-commerce retailer with plans to take advantage of Google Shopping is AppliancesDelivered.ie. Part of Denis O'Brien's Communicorp, the home appliances site says it now has a 10pc share of the €250m market after just a year competing with the likes of Currys, Harvey Norman and DID Electrical.
Communicorp's group marketing director, Cliona Hayes, says one reason AppliancesDelivered has excelled is that the old-style, bricks and mortar retailers haven't been able to fully crack the online market. "Buying such goods is a grudge purchase, so our brand promise is to take the hassle out of buying home appliances," Hayes told AdLib.
"Consumers can go to the website and, in four clicks, can buy appliances from 9am to 8pm, seven days a week. They are assured of same or next day delivery in the greater Dublin area, installation and their old appliance taken away free of charge."
Today FM presenter Dermot Whelan fronts the AppliancesDelivered ads. As well as Communicorp's Today FM, Newstalk, 98FM and Spin 1038, spots run on RTE Radio 1. After TV trials last May, Hayes saw a 63pc rise in online traffic. The TV ads were shot by Irish production companies Fail Safe Films and Along Came a Spider, with space buying by Core's ZenithOptimedia.
Hayes hired Jonny Davis's Because experiential agency to create street stunts, with Mr Ireland showing up topless as 'Iron Man' to iron shirts on Grafton Street, much to the amusement of passers-by.
Communicorp also invests in Google AdWords and paid search. Back in October, Ignite Research was hired to do brand tracking. After just nine months' trading, prompted awareness was at 42pc. Hayes hopes awareness will double by October.
* Events agency Green Light has rebranded as Cogs & Marvel. Founded in 2006 by Roisin Callaghan and Jane Gallagher, the agency's first major gig was in staging Google's European sales conference in Seville. They have since handled projects for Fáilte Ireland, Matheson, MasterCard and Mason Hayes & Curran. Ex-Ogilvy boss Dave Smyth is Cogs & Marvel's ceo.
Michael Cullen is editor of Marketing.ie; firstname.lastname@example.org