Merchant Innovation

Shopping Data Favors Google, Not Amazon (So Far)

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When it comes to shopping searches, more consumers are reportedly opting for Amazon over Google, but as Re/code reported Tuesday (Dec. 1), sales data from the Thanksgiving holiday weekend may put the odds back in Google’s favor.

According to data from eCommerce firm ChannelAdvisor, Google’s Product Listings Ads (PLAs) resulted in a 24.3 percent increase in sales during the five shopping days beginning with Thanksgiving and ending with Cyber Monday, compared to the same five-day period last year. The number just barely edges out the sales driven by Amazon’s shopping ads, which came in at 24.1 percent during the same period this year.

“It’s easy to paint the doomsday scenario for Google,” Scot Wingo, ChannelAdvisor’s executive chairman, told Re/code. “But the interesting part of this is it shows Google still has a dog in the fight. It’s not game over.”

Google’s PLAs aren’t hard to miss – they are those large ads consumers see at the top of the page after searching for an item and include a photograph of the product itself. The data from ChannelAdvisor shows that merchants tend to spend more on PLAs, accounting for nearly 60 percent of their entire Google advertising budget. Wingo added that among his clients, PLAs have “absolutely” outweighed the money allocated for text ads.

The mobile shopping data for the recent Thanksgiving holiday weekend may also provide a glimmer of hope in Google’s ongoing battle with Amazon to win back its search dominance, Re/code noted.

Nearly a third (27 percent) of purchases happened via mobile and almost half of all the traffic ChannelAdvisor recorded during the five-day period took place on smartphones. While only 2.19 percent of consumers who landed on a mobile site went on to complete a purchase, the gap between mobile and desktop purchases could present an interesting opportunity for Google’s mobile Buy Button.

The company announced plans to turn its search engine into a shopping marketplace for mobile devices back in May, with an aim to remove the friction associated with getting consumers from a product search to the merchant site, where it can be purchased in the swiftest fashion possible.

“Buying is the last part of shopping,” a Google executive said at a briefing in July on the topic.

Google’s buy button is a part of a larger effort being launched called Purchase on Google – an effort designed to help retailers “make the world your storefront.”

The service will allow consumers to buy items directly from the ads presented in a Google search result through a payment method linked to their Google account. Shopping ads with “Buy On Google” messaging will appear for eligible products, taking the consumer to a Google-hosted, retailer-branded product page.

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