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Google Local Inventory ads are yet another incredible avenue for brands and retailers using Google Shopping to reach their customers. What makes these ads unique is their ability to leverage location and local inventories, driving foot traffic to brick-and-mortar stores rather than online stores. However, success will require a few best practices that you might not use in your usual Shopping campaigns.
There has been a 200%+ growth in “open + now + near me” Google searches in the past two years.
According to Google, nearly 1/3 of all searches are related to location. As users grow more attached to their mobile devices, they’re searching for information related to their physical surroundings: directions, where to eat, where to shop. These searches happen all hours of the day and night.
The fact is, users love to ask Google about physical venues, and Google Inventory ads are a unique tool for brands and retailers to supercharge their offline sales. Here’s how to use Google Local Inventory ads as part of your next campaign… and master them.
These Google Shopping ads showcase useful store and product information to shoppers who are near a store’s physical location. This could include details like:
When a user makes a product search on Google and that desired product is in stock at a nearby location, they may be served a Local Inventory ad, along with the tempting “in store” label.
When a shopper clicks the ad, they’re taken to the Local Storefront page. This features the product that was searched as well as information about the physical store.
This information should be enough to turn a “searcher” into an “in-store visitor.” In fact, Sears was able to achieve a 122% higher shop visit rate with Google Local Inventory ads compared to PLAs.
“When we compared our most recent performance of local inventory ads with offline media typically used to drive shop sales, such as a recent broadcast television campaign, local inventory ads returned in-store sales at more than 5X the rate of TV advertising for each dollar spent.”
Note about using Google Local Inventory ads: on top of commonly required product data, these ads also require a full Local Product feed and Local Product Inventory feed (with details like store code, item id, quantity, and price). Google Local Inventory ads are currently supported in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, UK, and the US.
So how can you make the absolute most of these incredible ads and drive foot traffic and sales? Here are some key practices to always keep in mind.
More than any other ad type, Local Inventory ads rely heavily on smart targeting and bidding. You’ll need to optimize your bids to reach searchers who are on the move and looking to buy.
The single most difficult part of modern retail isn’t driving traffic and sales. It’s measuring how and where you’re driving sales. This is the only way businesses can continue to grow in the increasingly complex commerce space.
Google recommends using their Store Visit reports to understand conversions and where they really happen. Here, advertisers can see which keywords, campaigns, and devices are converting. Office Depot was able to attribute a 3x return on marketing spend to their online campaigns by using the Store Visit reports.
This data will be key to optimizing creatives, spend, and bid strategies for your ads. It will also show C-level that ad dollars are bringing returns.
Store Visits reports aren’t available to everyone. You’ll need to have multiple physical stores and receive a high number of ad clicks and store visits. Read more about getting set up here. Note that this is done using anonymous, aggregated statistics, so conversions cannot be tied to specific clicks or users.
For those shops that are still digitizing (which is a huge percentage of brands and retailers out there), it’s easy to think in terms of campaigns. Ads for Black Friday, holiday specials, or unique promotions are obvious “must-haves.” However, advertising online only for these special occasions misses the real power of online advertising.
If these ads drive returns, keep them running every day. Make it part of your overall strategy.
Google’s Local Inventory ads serve a completely different purpose than Shopping ads. In order to avoid cannibalizing clicks from your Shopping ads, be sure you don’t create completely new campaigns or accounts just for Local ads right away.
Google recommends enabling local ads in an existing online Shopping campaigns. That will allow Google to pick and serve the most relevant of your ads at any given time.
In order to keep those ads running every day, you’ll need to keep your feeds up to date—always. You’ll need to refresh your Local Products feed at least once a week and Product Inventory feed once a day, and that’s no small task.
Automated feed management tools will make managing and exporting data infinitely more manageable. Productsup, for example, allows users to schedule feed exports however necessary. That means you can upload all or part of your feeds regularly and ensure that shoppers are never disappointed.
Be sure to specify your exact goals before starting any LIA campaigns. Measuring results (and mastering omnichannel messaging) can only be achieved through careful planning. Is the goal to increase foot traffic? Increase sales of specific products? Are you pushing sales over time, in a specific season, or during off hours?
Similarly, if you’re going to focus heavily on Shopping campaigns in general, keep a close eye on your product data. Check out some of the most common Google Shopping feed errors below.
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