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NEWS: The latest in product feeds + ecommerce [Q3 2019]

What’s new this quarter in product data feeds and the ecommerce universe? Read on for the perfect helping of industry insights, new advertising features, ad placements, and more.

Google – Shopping feed spec updates + new ways to drive in-store sales

New Google Shopping feed specification updates

  • GTINGoogle no longer requires GTINs in Shopping feeds. This means it will no longer disapprove products that are missing UPIs. However, similar items that do have correct UPIs will be given priority in search. This change will be rolled out in numerous countries, including the UK, the US, and much of Europe.
  • Shipping Rate Marketers in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, and Poland are now required to include the “shipping rate” attribute in their Shopping feed. Google specifies that the change has been made to promote price transparency on Shopping ads.
    • Read more about the new requirement here.

Google has launched a personalized department store in the US market. Complete with online behavior-based recommendations and direct checkout, Google has taken the next step to become an all-in-one online department store. This is already being tested in additional markets, including India and France.

Read more here.

Google has started showing competitor ads on local business profiles, as part of the “Local Campaigns” placement. It is not yet possible to pay to remove such ads. Search Engine Land notes that this change highlights the fact that the GMC profile is not truly the property of the business, but of Google.

Read more here.

Shopping Actions update: Improved returns experience. Google Shopping Actions is being updated in order to provide better returns experiences. There will be a new dedicated returns tab in the Merchant Center and applicable shipping fees will be made visible both in the return management tab and OrderReturns API resource.

Read more here.

Google has announced several initiatives to help businesses promote in-store sales. Highlights include: adding “call” options to Local campaigns; group locations to tailor budgets and messaging; asset reporting in order to better understand Local campaign success and short-comings; and LIA promotions. Not all of these will be available immediately or in every country.

Read more here.

Google Merchant Center has been redesigned for 2019. The Google Merchant Center has been redesigned in an effort to make navigation easier and offer more personalized control. Numerous changes have been made to the navigational panel and tools and settings menu, and the Merchant Center will also support a variety of additional programs. However, no core functionalities have been changed.

Read more here.

Online shopping service, Google Express is reportedly merging with the newest version of Google Shopping. Google Express apps are expected to become Google Shopping apps within a few weeks. According to Google. Express will remain available through the “Buy with Google” button in Shopping.

Read more here.

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Facebook and Instagram – Dynamic ad updates + new ad placements

Facebook changes image sizes for posts shown in the mobile news feed. The aspect ratios of photos and videos shown on mobile news feeds changed from a 2:3 aspect ratio to 4:5. There is less text shown, dropping down to 3 lines of primary text from 7. Facebook says the changes are being made in order to keep ads more consistent across their ecosystem.

Read more here.

For anyone using Facebook Ads Manager, Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO) went from being optional to mandatory as of September 2019. This change impacts both new and existing ad campaigns. CBO works to optimize your campaign budget across ad sets and can help make the most of your budget throughout the campaign’s lifetime.

Read more here.

Marketing Land reports that Facebook is testing in-app checkout for Dynamic ads and the option to turn organic shopping posts on Instagram into ads. In-app checkout is currently only being tested on News Feed ads, but the next steps and stages are unclear.

Read more here.

Instagram is bringing ads to its discovery destination, Explore! Instagram announced that it will allow advertisers to extend their campaigns using automatic placements to reach audiences in Explore. The discovery engine is used by more than 50% of Instagram accounts each month. Explore caters to audiences that want to discover new things, shop, and learn about the latest trends.

Read more here.

amazon news

Amazon Prime has launched in Brazil. In an effort to strengthen its global reach, Amazon is now offering the benefits of Amazon Prime, including free and two-day shipping, to online consumers in Brazil.

Read more here.

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Pinterest –  new opportunities and more shopping

Pinterest is making several updates to push shopping. “Shop the look” ads a collections format for mobile, enabling US advertisers to tag up to 25 items in an image. Shopping ads will be expanded to more markets, including the UK, Germany, France, and Japan. Lastly, business profiles are getting revamped, with a dedicated Shop tab and customizable images.

Read more here.

Pinterest’s Lens functionality is now able to identify 2.5+ billion fashion and home products. This allows users to find products related to this in a picture by showing shoppable Product Pins.

Read more here.

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Microsoft ads – Ad format changes + new testing capabilities

Microsoft advertising rolling out A/B testing feature. Marketers can now test the ad copy, landing pages, bidding strategies, and modifiers of their Microsoft Advertising campaigns.

Read more here.

Microsoft has updated the Dynamic Search Ads format with longer titles and descriptions. Now, advertisers can utilize longer titles as well as an additional text in the description field (up to 90 characters). Microsoft recommends using the second description to make ads more specific and attention-grabbing, but this text is not guaranteed to show up on all devices.

Read more here.

Microsoft has released a new tool to help its advertisers better manage negative keywords. The company announced its release of the product negative keyword conflicts report. The tool is designed to help advertisers optimize shopping campaigns by limiting products being surfaced upon irrelevant search queries. 

Read more here.

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Uber and Cargo – the beginning of in-car commerce

Uber has partnered with Cargo to create a shopping app for in-car commerce. The Cargo store app lets customers buy products like the Amazon Echo, Apple AirPods, and Glossier make-up all while in commute. The app will be available only during a user’s uber trip and will offer daily deals and free shipping.

Read more here.

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