Google Manufacturer Center for product data expands scope, launches API

With the growing importance of Google Shopping campaigns in paid search results for brands and manufacturers, getting product data correct and consistent has become an increasingly urgent task. It’s been a somewhat sleepy product, but this week, Google announced new features and an expansion of Manufacturer Center.
Launched in 2015, Google Manufacturer Center was designed to be a central repository for the product data that powers Google Shopping campaigns. Now, Google is using that data in knowledge panels in the US, including product features, images and descriptions. Earlier this month, Google began showing much more content in knowledge panels on mobile, including product features as shown in the example below.

Google Manufacturer Center is now available in more countries: Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.
With the launch of a new Manufacturer Center API, brands and third-party data partners can add, update and delete products without having to rely on manual feed uploads.
In addition to streamlining product

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Google’s new #SmallThanks Hub automatically creates digital & printed marketing assets for SMBs

In a move to help SMBs — as well as drive up its verified business listings — Google has launched #SmallThanks Hub, an online resource that creates customized digital marketing content and printed materials based on Google reviews.
“Simply search for your business name on the site, and we’ll automatically create posters, social media posts, window clings, stickers and more — based on the reviews and local love from your customers on Google,” writes Google’s vice president of marketing for Ads & Americas, Lisa Gevelber, on The Keyword blog.
Google says its #SmallThanks Hub, which is rolling out in the US today, is available to any verified Google listing with an address.
“Reviews from your fans are like digital thank you notes, and they’re one of the first things people notice about your business in search results,” writes Gevelber in the announcement. Google shared the following image to highlight how it is repurposing Google reviews into social media posts and

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Google beefs up mobile shopping results for the holidays, adds more product info & buying guides

Google is beefing up its mobile shopping experience to prepare for the holidays, now showing buying guides for broad categories like “sewing machine” and “coffee grinder” searches and adding more product-related information for specific product searches.
“When you search for a specific product, now shows you other helpful information, like related items, and allows you to compare reviews, prices and other specs, side by side,” writes Google product management director for Google Shopping, Jennifer Liu on Google’s The Keyword blog.

Google says it has added a “newer model available” label to tech-gadget product listings so searchers know if they’re browsing the most recent version of tech products.
According to the announcement, Google’s recently redesigned mobile shopping experience has helped bring more product information to the forefront with features like a “Quick View” button in Google Shopping ads that lets users preview detailed product information.
Google also noted its recent knowledge panel updates that quickly surface product photos, videos, reviews and

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Google AdWords to roll out ‘parallel tracking’ to speed up mobile landing page delivery

Google’s been working to speed up mobile web experiences on several fronts, AMP being the most visible of these efforts. On Wednesday, the company announced a change to the way it will handle tracking parameters appended to AdWords landing page URLs.
Processing tracking codes can bog down page load time by “hundreds of milliseconds” and hurt campaign performance, says Google. Instead of processing the tracking with the landing page, Google is introducing “parallel tracking” to process the tracking URL, the AdWords click tracker and possible redirects in the background while the user goes straight to the landing page.
Currently, the tracking URL, AdWords click tracker and any redirects load before the user sees the landing page. Google says it’s seen the change help improve page load times by several seconds for users on slower networks.
Parallel tracking will start rolling out later this year and become the default tracking method in early 2018. It will initially be optional and only

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3 behavioral stats for retailers to supercharge your holiday strategy

What’s different about the holidays this year? If you’re a marketer, you need to know how your target consumers have changed their needs, wants and shopping habits before you can truly craft your best seasonal strategy. You also had better keep an eye on what your competitors are doing differently.
At the company I work for, Salsify, we analyze aggregate retail search activity, and we’ve discovered it grows more widely distributed during the shopping period leading up to the holidays. We’ve recently conducted research (registration required) on the keywords that shoppers use around the holidays and we’ve identified important opportunities for brands to expand their keyword lists. Leading brands are also dramatically boosting the pace of their product content updates to capitalize on the opportunity throughout the season to win market share.
Let’s run through the top three takeaways from our study:
1. The 2016 holiday season drove a 30 percent increase in the number of top retail search terms —

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Google rolling out support for AMP landing page in AdWords search campaigns globally

In May, Google announced it was running a beta test with advertisers to test driving traffic from mobile search ads to AMP landing pages. On Thursday, the company said all advertisers will be able to point mobile search ads to AMP landing pages beginning in two weeks.
The functionality is limited to landing pages from search text ads for now. The lighter-weight AMP landing pages typically load instantly, as opposed to the lag of even speedy responsive landing pages on mobile, as illustrated in the demo below. AMP landing pages are supported for all mobile clicks, though caching is only available for Chrome on Android. Google says it’s working on support for other mobile browsers in the coming weeks.
For testing and validation purposes, advertisers with access to the new AdWords interface will be able to see the percentage of clicks that go to invalid AMP pages. They can then identify issues and ensure the landing pages comply with AMP

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Google debuts giant new look for Local Inventory Ad product search in Knowledge Panels

Last May, Google introduced the ability to find out if a local retailer had specific products in stock right from the knowledge panel listing for the retailer. Now, it’s dedicating a whole lot more real estate to the feature.
Glenn Gabe, digital marketing consultant at G-Squared Interactive, tweeted a look at the update. Below are a couple of examples. It’s available on both mobile and desktop and goes well beyond the simple “Search items at this store link” that Google originally showed. A large section includes a search box, product category links and large product listings. On mobile, users can swipe through a carousel of product listings.

The feature is part of the Local Inventory Ads product, which enables retailers to promote products available in their locations via inventory feeds submitted to Google. The links and search results lead to Google Shopping pages.
Google is also running a test to show relevant text ads in knowledge panel listings for local businesses.

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Google rolls out previously announced ‘Landing Pages’ mobile assessment tool

Bad landing pages, especially on mobile devices, can kill conversions. There are high bounce rates if users can’t find desired information or the user experience is too cumbersome or slow.
To help advertisers improve mobile performance, Google announced a new Landing Pages tool at Google Marketing Next earlier this year. It’s designed to help marketers assess the mobile-friendliness of various URLs on their sites (as opposed to their entire sites). It is being rolled out in the next few weeks as a tab in the new AdWords experience.
As the graphic below illustrates, Landing Pages will identify site URLs that drive the most clicks/engagement. The tool also reports the Mobile-Friendly Click Rate (MFCR), which is the percentage of mobile clicks coming from smartphones that land on a mobile-friendly page.

These reports will enable marketers to identify and prioritize which URLs need to be fixed. For example, if a page is driving a lot of clicks on the desktop but is

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Google announces AMP speed and viewability enhancements for ads

Yesterday, Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) group announced enhancements to ads served in AMP. Specifically, the project has entered phase two of its three-phase plan for supporting comprehensive advertising functionality in AMP.
While phase one focused on basic support for ads within AMP, phase two focuses on speeding up AMP ad rendering, utilizing what they call “Fast Fetch” — separating the ad request from the ad rendering. Fast Fetch — vs. their previous method, “Delayed Fetch” — allows the ad request to happen while the page content is being rendered, and then only renders the ad before the ad slot is in view for the user.

From their announcement:

With Fast Fetch, ads are requested much earlier in the lifecycle of the page, allowing page rendering and creative selection in the ad server to happen in parallel. Fast Fetch is 850ms faster at the 50th percentile and 2.7s faster at the 90th percentile as compared to Delayed Fetch.


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Data: Consumers grow more demanding, impatient as brands fall behind

There’s considerable evidence that consumers are growing more impatient and less tolerant of poor or frustrating online experiences. There’s also increasing evidence that most brands aren’t keeping up with customers, creating significant risk and lost opportunities.
This gap is reflected in all the CX (consumer experience) research and reports coming out. There’s also a strong undercurrent of this theme in the Google “micro-moments” research and discussions. All the data about mobile page speeds and consumer abandonment support this idea:
The average U.S. retail mobile site loaded in 6.9 seconds in July 2016, but, according to the most recent data, 40% of consumers will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. And 79% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with site performance say they’re less likely to purchase from the same site again.
Most recently, Google said that geo-modifiers (e.g., ZIP codes) have declined by 30 percent, even as local search volumes have increased:
[D]emanding mobile users now assume

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