By Eileen Buleza –
There were three leading trends for Lever Interactive’s SEM clients in 2016:
These three trends shaped our client discussions and strategy more than anything else in 2016, especially for our retail and ecommerce clients, and will likely continue to do so into 2017.
Today I’m going to dive into some of the growth we experienced within shopping ads (primarily Google Shopping ads) in 2016.
For some of our retail clients, shopping has been an element of their SEM strategy for years. For others, it is an area they are just getting comfortable with. But for both, Google really pushed shopping to the forefront in 2016 and made it a necessity for almost all of our ecommerce clients.
Last year marked 5 years of Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs – or shopping ads), and 2016 kicked off with big Q1 shopping growth. Google continued to play with the format of shopping results in mobile from late 2015 into 2016, which resulted in shopping ads taking over above the fold search results. In desktop, Google removed the right hand results and placed shopping exclusively at the top of the page, and many searches now have reduced or no text ads running at top of the page. As a result, if a retail advertiser wasn’t using shopping ads until now, 2016 was a make-or-break year for them.
No quarter is more important to shopping campaigns and retailers than Q4. In 2016, we saw more clients leveraging shopping than ever before, and those clients that have been using shopping saw exceptional growth in the space.
One personal care and beauty retail client increased their shopping revenue 75% during the holiday season compared to 2015, with clicks growing 172% (largely from mobile shopping ad growth). While for a gifts and food retailer, Q4 shopping purchases increased 54% from 2016.
With this growth being seen across retailers, shopping ads strategy should be a top priority in 2017. Check back in over the coming weeks as we provide a few more shopping blog posts to help with optimizing Google Shopping campaigns and Merchant Center feed management strategies.