Giants collide: Google’s impending showdown with Amazon

Talk in the digital advertising space has traditionally focused on Google and Facebook’s digital duopoly, each fighting for more of your advertising dollars. But for Google, the real competition is coming from elsewhere.
Over the last few years, Google has pushed further and further into the retail space. Simultaneously, Amazon expanded its advertising platform. In the end, they both want the same thing: your purchase intent.
As these two tech behemoths continue to get more and more similar, who will lead? And more importantly, what should you do about it?
Google’s bid to become a retailer
We’re used to thinking of Google as a search engine. For advertisers, Google’s search engine results page (SERP) is composed of text and product (Google Shopping) ads. The popularity of these product ads with digital marketers has grown in popularity. According to Adobe’s Digital Index, spend on Google Shopping has surpassed that of text ads in every market.

This is especially true when it comes to

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Twiggle offers plug-and-play semantic search to online retailers

Twiggle is a company founded by two former Google employees. It promises to bring “semantic search” to e-commerce sites with minimal technical integration. Udi Manber, formerly head of search at Google and Amazon’s A9, is a board member.
Last week, the company released a “Semantic API,” which “gives retailers the ability to add a semantic layer to their existing search engines and interact with their online customers in a more personal and natural way.” The idea is that Twiggle will bring state-of-the-art search sophistication to companies that can’t develop the technology on their own.
I spoke with Amir Konigsberg, CEO of Twiggle. He told me that his company spent three years building out an ontology that allows Twiggle to process and deeply understand billions of products and associated attributes. Twiggle also does data structuring and normalization and enhances products with additional metadata.

Konigsberg critiques current e-commerce search capabilities as being very basic and not delivering an optimal user experience. Clicks

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Shopping campaigns: Play like every day is a holiday

Shopping campaigns are becoming a major source of website clicks and revenue during the holiday season, and the “Shopping Campaigns: Play Like Every Day Is A Holiday” panel at SMX Advanced featured tips and advice from three PPC veterans: Ann Stanley, Todd Bowman, and Mona Elesseily.
Ann Stanley: Shopping ads, buy buttons, social commerce & remarketing
Shopping ads and buy buttons are everywhere. Stanley explored those areas where ads are driven by product feeds, and clicks either lead to retailer websites or convert on host platforms. Her talk was full of data insights and provided a neat map divided into three conversion areas:
Area #1: The search giants: David Bing vs. Goliath Google
Thanks to Windows 10, Bing Shopping ads share is growing (21% US, 9% UK). With Google Shopping winning by volume, Bing nearly always shows lower CPCs. In terms of conversion and ROAS efficiency, results vary heavily by vertical. Bottom line: if you target the US or UK, give Bing

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Google Product Listing Ads officially launch in Image search, among announcements for retailers

Purchases on Google testing continues, Product Listing Ads are getting access to more inventory and brick-and-mortar retailers running local inventory ads see some new features. These are among the announcements from Google at Shoptalk in Las Vegas on Monday.
Product Listing Ads in image search
Ads in Google image search first started appearing in the fourth quarter of last year. First noticed by Merkle, the ads are officially launching Monday. On mobile, they display in a carousel format above the organic images. Image search is considered part of the Google Search Network. If your Shopping campaign is opted in to Search partners, Product Listing Ads (PLAs) will automatically be eligible to show in image search results.

Store pickup promotion in Local Inventory Ads
Retailers using Local Inventory Ads (LIAs) can now include a “store pickup” link for shoppers who want to buy online and pick up their orders in store. The option appears on the local product landing page hosted by Google after a user

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Etsy Boosts Search For Better Content Discovery, User Engagement

Etsy has more than 30 million items for sale from more than one million sellers globally. There are no SKUs and most of the data is unstructured, creating a messy and massive discovery challenge for both Etsy and its users.
Accordingly the company is today rolling out more sophisticated search functionality, after a month-long beta test in which it saw increased engagement from both desktop and mobile users.
Etsy has always had search but at a basic level — it was described to me as a “one size fits all approach” — that didn’t do a good job of showcasing the site’s products. The company is now doing a better job of recognizing user intent and delivering more tailored results.
The top image below is a “before” screen and the second image below is the “after” screen. These screens may look similar but there’s now a great deal more going on “under the hood” to make results both more relevant and to expose more

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