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Inside AdWords
Google's official blog for news, information and tips on AdWords.

  • Drive more app installs with higher lifetime value
    Our phones are filled with apps that have fast become lifestyle companions. We have apps for playing games, watching TV, working out, tracking our finances and more. Since the average smartphone user already has 36 apps on his or her phone, it’s more important than ever for developers to find effective ways to reach and keep users. That’s why Google is continuing to enhance our app promotion and re-engagement offerings to help developers reach the right users at the right time.

    Starting today, we’re expanding where you can promote your Android apps on the Google Display Network. You can now reach people not only when they’re using other apps, but also when they’re engaging with the 2M publisher websites across the Google Display Network (GDN). With the simple click of a button, we'll automatically extend your app install ads from the AdMob in-app network (which reaches 650K active apps) to the mobile GDN network. For early testers, this increased install volume by 28% on average while keeping cost-per-installs steady.1
    Extend your app install ads to the mobile GDN

    We’re also continuing to improve our in-app ad formats across Android and iOS to provide users with richer, more engaging content. You can now reach them with Video App Promo Ads - immersive, interstitial video ads that highlight how users will interact with your app.
    Video App Promo Ad

    GREE International, the global maker of popular free-to-play mobile games like Knights & Dragons and War of Nations, has utilized a variety of new app promotion features to grow performance.

    Kenneth Mei, Associate Marketing Manager for user acquisition, says, “We chose Google because of the scale of their app network. By auto-extending our targeting to include the mobile Google Display Network, we increased app installs on our test campaign by 81%. From testing new ad formats, we also found that in-app video has a 10% higher install rate and 40% lower cost-per-install compared to our internal benchmark data on other ad formats. We’re excited to continue working with Google as we explore new targeting and ad formats for app promotion.”

    While installs are the first step to securing engagement with your app, we recognize that not all installs are created equal. With 80% of installed apps only ever being used once, it’s essential to fine-tune campaigns to reach people who will not only install your app but also contribute lifetime value through in-app purchases. To help you reach these high-value users for Android, we are introducing Conversion Optimizer for in-app buyers. By using paid app install and in-app purchase insights from the Google Play app store, this new feature helps optimize bids for in-app buyers to maximize value from your installs.

    How this differs from other bidding strategies for apps:
    Fiksu, a leading mobile marketing and technology company, has generated greater value from gaming app installs by using this new bidding strategy.

    "By leveraging Google's Conversion Optimizer for in-app buyers, we were able to triple one client's install-to-purchase conversion rate after users download the app and decrease cost per purchaser by 61%,” says Ken Kehoe, Performance Labs Analyst at Fiksu. “The ROI using this strategy has been incredible, maximizing the lifetime value of users, and it's something we're excited to extend to more of our clients."

    The extension of app install campaigns to the mobile GDN, new engaging ad formats, and automated bidding for in-app buyers are just a few new features to help you promote your apps. To learn more about Google’s app promotion products, visit our Help Center and read our best practices for driving app installs.

    Posted by Sissie Hsiao, Director of Product Management, Mobile Display Ads

    1Internal Google Data, March 2015

  • Product ratings on Google Shopping now help shoppers in the UK, France and Germany make decisions
    Last year, we introduced product ratings on Product Listing Ads in the US to help consumers make better purchase decisions when shopping online. Since the initial launch, we’ve been working to bring product ratings to more countries, and this week we launched in the UK, France and Germany.

    Product ratings appear in the form of stars and review counts on Product Listing Ads across, and their equivalents in the UK, France and Germany. This 5-star rating system represents aggregated review data for the product, compiled from multiple sources including merchants, third-party aggregators, editorial sites and users.
    Product ratings for juicers, as indicated by stars and total review counts
    Product ratings help consumers make better purchase decisions before they click, driving more qualified traffic to participating merchants. Since the US launch in July 2014, we’ve seen an average click-through rate increase of five percent on Product Listing Ads with product ratings.

    Product ratings also help merchants differentiate their Product Listing Ads. Dave Abbott, Vice President of Online Marketing for The Home Depot, says, “customers look for product validation through reviews and ratings. Providing this info is valuable to our customers and provides The Home Depot with a competitive advantage on Google.”

    How to enable product ratings on your Product Listing Ads

    Product ratings are available to merchants targeting their Product Listing Ads to the US, UK, France or Germany. Merchants must share all of their product review content with Google, either directly or through an approved third-party aggregator, in order to show product ratings.

    If you would like to enable product ratings on your Product Listing Ads, please start the process of submitting your review content to us by completing our product ratings form. Our team will then reach out to you with details on next steps.

    Product ratings are one of several extensions we may show with Product Listing Ads, so please note that just because a product has reviews does not mean that we’ll always show ratings. We’re also working to expand product ratings to more countries this year, so please stay tuned.

    Posted by Archana Kannan, Product Manager, Google Shopping

  • How will your store reach omni-channel shoppers this year?
    The customer is always right, at least that’s what they say.

    If you believe in that, then stores must acknowledge the reality that shoppers really, really like their smartphones. They carry and shop with them wherever they go—to the bathroom, to competitor stores, everywhere. What’s a retailer to do?

    You have three options: Do nothing, resist change, or embrace it. Macy’s Inc, the world’s largest fashion retailer, chose the latter. Since Mar. 2010, their stock is up 240%. How did they do it?

    Their success is due in part to fusing their “multi-channel” approach into a singularly focused omni-channel one. “We used to have two separate, siloed budgets,” explains Serena Potter, group vice president of digital media strategy at Macy’s. “Now we really only have one marketing budget. We look at what’s the best way to spend that; whether it’s digital or offline, and focus on how they work together to deliver the most sales and the best customer experience.”

    In other words, Macy’s Inc and others like them no longer compete with their online or offline selves. They don’t fear showrooming, get anxious when a smartphone shopper consults her phone in the aisle, or fret when a consumer jumps from one channel to another mid-sale. They view these realities as new opportunities; new moments to interact with consumers and increase loyalty.

    There’s upside in doing so. Smartphone or omni-channel shoppers have 30% higher lifetime value than single-channel shoppers, according to a recent study from market researcher IDC.1 How can retailers understand and convert these higher value shoppers?

    The answer: Omni-measurement. In order to realize success, retailers must increase their understanding of omni-shopper behavior. Omni-measurement not only does this, but it enables mouth-watering marketing programs, including predictive campaigns, site-to-store funnelling (and vice versa), enhanced purchase frequency, and automated messaging and product recommendations.

    Leading retailers such as Macy’s, Office Depot, PetSmart, Sprint and others are increasingly turning to Google measurement tools such as Adometry, DoubleClick, and AdWords Store Visits, and Store Transactions for a complete view of consumer behavior across all paths, channels, and beyond just clicks.

    For example, Sprint discovered that paid search ads drove five in-store sales for each online sale.2 Knowing that, the company increased their focus and deepened their understanding of the role smartphones play in the purchasing journey. With AdWords Store Visits enabled, Sprint achieved a 31% higher visit rate3 from mobile search ad clicks versus desktop search ad clicks. This knowledge was instrumental in helping the carrier create a more seamless online to in-store experience recently.

    “Over the last several years, we’ve really thought about how that experience when a consumer gets into the store can continue to build on that bridge we’ve made in digital,” says Evan Conway, Sprint’s vice president of digital. “We’ve looked at the transactions and conversations that our sales associates were already having with the consumer and then we tried to build the tools, technology, and content to make the in-store experience better.”

    PetSmart, too, was better able to omni-measure foot traffic using Store Visits reporting in AdWords. For them, the data revealed that 10–18% of all search ad clicks resulted in an in-store visit within 30 days.4

    "As a national retailer building a sophisticated local marketing strategy, PetSmart has seen tremendous value in Store Visits data. This data has helped solve an incomplete puzzle,” says Phil Bowman, PetSmart's executive vice president. “Historically, we’ve relied on numerous approximations to tell us how our search ads were driving store visits, but this data has validated our estimates. It helps us understand the full picture of where our customers are going after clicking a search ad."

    When they’re not helping retailers understand how online ads impact in-store behavior, Google tools help merchandisers promote nearby inventory online, another crucial demand of omni-shoppers. In other words, retailers can now “think local” in ways that have never been done before.

    For instance, Office Depot achieved a 3X return on digital marketing spend after switching to Local Inventory Ads.5 "Now, we are able to reach customers when they search for a product," says Christine Buscarino, vice president of ecommerce marketing for Office Depot, Inc. “Local inventory ads provide us with a unique opportunity to offer products that customers are searching for and assure them there is inventory in a nearby store."
    Of course, these are just a few examples of leading retailers embracing the omni-channel movement to meet the expectations of today’s consumer. And they’re doing it with the help of Google ad formats and measurement tools.

    Learn more about how leading retailers are connecting with today’s connected consumer here.

    Posted by Emily Eberhard Pereira, Head of Shopping Solutions Marketing.

    1IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Retail 2015 Predictions. November 2014
    2Sprint Internal Data
    3AdWords Store Visits Data
    4AdWords Store Visits Data
    5AdWords Store Visits Data
    6IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Retail 2015 Predictions. November 2014

  • The new shopping assistant: 5 ways retailers can drive foot traffic with smartphones
    When it comes to brick and mortar stores, misinformation runs rampant.

    For instance, search results only send consumers to e-commerce sites, retailers lose the shopper who checks a phone in store, and buyers only visit stores to transact or showroom. Those are three common myths debunked in Digital’s Impact on In-Store Shopping1, new research conducted by Ipsos MediaCT and Sterling Brands for Google, based upon purchasing behaviors of more than 6,000 smartphone shoppers.

    Although 95% of all retail transactions still occur in-store2, smartphones have quickly become consumer’s favorite and most trusted “shopping assistant.” These handy devices reduce buyers’ remorse, raise consumer expectations for getting more accurate and faster information from store associates, and present new challenges for hungry retailers.

    For instance:
    • 68% of shoppers surveyed said they were happier with store purchases when they did research online before buying, according to those surveyed
    • 71% expect clerks to know or find product information more quickly now, due to smartphones
    • 46% of smartphone shoppers browse the retailer’s own site or app in-store

    But when paired with a consistent shopping experience — specifically mobile optimized, locally relevant, and personalized search results — these same “shopping assistants” can become as powerful to sellers as they are to buyers, the research found.

    In fact, they’ve helped double the value of in store visit,3 increase customer satisfaction (69% of consumers are more satisfied with purchases when they get to touch or feel a product in-store), and they’ve given retailers more opportunities to build brand loyalty (51% said they used digital devices to look for additional information after buying).

    For instance, Sears Hometown & Outlet Stores saw a 16% higher clickthrough rate and 122% increase in visits to its stores after adopting Local Inventory Ads, which lets retailers display nearby store inventory to online shoppers.4 “Local inventory ads fit perfectly into our strategy of using digital tools to drive store traffic,” says David Buckley, chief marketing officer at Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores. “If people are searching for a product on their phones, there is nothing more targeted than serving that item with a picture, description, and price while letting the customers know exactly how far they are located from the product.”

    The technology also helps Sears extend the reach of its advertising budget, driving $8 of in store sales for each dollar invested online.5 “When we compared our most recent performance of local inventory ads to offline media typically used to drive store sales, such as a recent broadcast television campaign,” Buckley explains, “local inventory ads returned in-store sales at more than 5X the rate of tv advertising for each dollar spent.6
    Similarly, Staples saw their store visit and ad click thru rates increase by 33% and 29% respectively, after indicating nearby stock in their search listings.

    “Local Inventory Ads are another way Staples helps customers shop whenever and however they want through our omnichannel,” said Ellen Comley, vice president, integrated media, Staples, Inc. “We know that more and more customers are doing research online before buying, and local inventory ads make it easier for us to reach small businesses and ensure we’re providing the most relevant offers.”

    Of course, those are just a few examples. In addition to identifying other ways smartphones are changing modern shopping, Digital’s Impact on In-Store Shopping outlines several steps retailers can take to optimize their online presence for smartphones:

    5 things brick and mortar stores should do now
    1. Use Local Inventory Ads to promote nearby stock to interested buyers, including availability of complementary and recommended products
    2. Be sure to list store locations, hours, and phone numbers in online search ads
    3. Optimize online presence for mobile viewing and buying, including search results, website, app, and mobile ads to engage consumers while in store
    4. Localize and integrate custom offers and product recommendations to smartphone shoppers that disclose their location
    5. Take an omni-channel approach to marketing and measurement by combining your online and physical efforts into one (see also: Macy’s Inc)
    There’s no denying that smartphone shoppers are looking at competing offers while in store, the research concludes. But a greater percentage of shoppers look to search engine results and a retailer’s own sites and apps first. To take advantage, retailers must acknowledge, react to, and consolidate their multi-channel approach into a “mobile first” omni-channel one.

    Learn more about how top retailers are using digital to connect people with their stores here.

    Posted by Emily Eberhard Pereira, Head of Shopping Solutions Marketing

    1Google/Ipsos MediaCT/Sterling Brands, Digital Impact on In-Store Shopping, October 2014
    2eMarketer: Total US Retail Sales Top $4.5 Trillion in 2013, Outpace GDP Growth, April 2014
    3Shoppertrak 2014 foot traffic and Mastercard SpendPulse transaction Data  2010 thru 2014
    4AdWords Store Visits Data. 2015
    5Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Data. 2015
    6Sear’s Hometown and Outlet Stores Data. 2015

  • Building a better hotel search experience for travelers and hoteliers on Google
    More useful 

    There are millions of searches for hotels everyday on Google — that’s millions of potential hotel bookings. We want to help hotels reach and engage travelers, make it easier for travelers to search for hotels online, and visually and textually communicate why a particular hotel is the right fit for them. We’ve been evolving the way hotels appear in search results on Google to include more structured, relevant and dynamic information — like rates, availability, locations, user reviews, editorial descriptions, Google Street View, and high resolution photos.
    More effective 

    As part of this evolution, we’ve created Hotel Ads — an advertising format designed specifically for hotel-related searches. Hotel Ads show current prices for hotels from a variety of partners and help travelers narrow down their options. When a traveler is ready, they can select “Book” and complete their reservation with the partner.
    Because Hotel Ads appear when travelers are already engaged and ready to book, hotel partners have seen great results. Hilton Worldwide started using Hotel Ads in 2011 and has now implemented Hotel Ads with all of its 4,200 hotels.

    “Compared to other search formats, Google Hotel Ads has delivered a 45% higher conversion rate. It reaches a massive audience and the distribution cost has been good,” said Dustin Bomar, vice president, Digital Acquisition, Hilton Worldwide.

    Check out the video below or read the case study on Think with Google to learn more about Hilton’s success with Hotel Ads.

    Premier Inn, the UK’s largest hotel chain, also used Hotel Ads to attract new customers who haven’t stayed with them in the past. "About 30% of the UK population has stayed in a Premier Inn. Hotel Ads is a way that we can reach the remaining 70%, as well as the huge number of inbound international travelers who know less about our brand," said Aurelia Noel, Head of New Channel Development, Premier Inn.

    Find out how Premier Inn captured 40% more bookings from new customers at a 60% lower cost per acquisition with Hotel Ads here.

    To get started on Hotel Ads, contact one of Google’s authorized partners listed here:

    More engaging

    We’re also building products for hoteliers to help showcase properties and engage with travelers visually. Google My Business helps ensure that hotels’ information and photos reach travelers when they’re searching on Google and Google Maps. Our improved photo tools let hotels easily change the image that appears when travelers are searching. It’s also now possible to add photos specifically for food and beverage, individual guest rooms and common areas.

    In addition to uploading photos, Google now offers the ability to add premium-quality, 360° interactive tours of a hotel’s interior with Google Maps Business View, powered by Street View technology. These virtual tours show up on Search and Maps and let travelers experience the hotel — all before they book their stay.
    We’re excited to improve the hotel search experience for both travelers and hotels through content and photo-rich results, Hotel Ads, Google My Business and Business View. Throughout 2015, we’ll have more features that will help connect hoteliers with travelers when they’re dreaming about a trip and once they’re on their way.

    Posted by Andrew Silverman, Group Product Manager, Google Hotel Ads

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