When should advertisers consider pausing Google Local Inventory Ads?

In response to the growing popularity of searches with local intent, Google released Local Inventory Ads (LIA) a few years ago as a variation of Product Listing Ads (PLA) that include information on when a product is available at a nearby store location. Taking into account the local intent of each search query in determining when LIAs should be featured, Google can serve these units in a similar format to traditional PLAs, as well as in other LIA-specific formats, such as beneath a Google Maps display.

These units are steadily becoming an important part of paid search campaigns for brands with brick-and-mortar locations, and LIA traffic increased 60 percent Y/Y in Q3 2016 for the median Merkle retailer. However, there are several situations in which advertisers may want to consider pausing LIAs, though such scenarios are all complicated and do not necessitate that LIAs be paused.
1. When store locations are closed
This might seem like an obvious practice, but

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Pull live inventory data from your product database and place it in your search ad copy

Incorporating live inventory and pricing data into your ads is an interesting concept and something many companies would like to implement within their search ad text (not talking about Shopping ads or PLAs).
We’ve seen the number of companies requesting and implementing these types of dynamic creative solutions skyrocket over the past six months. Incorporating data points like geography and promotional timing into your ads is a huge trend.
We see this in retail, B2B e-commerce, B2C e-commerce, and many other verticals. Incorporation of inventory data (whether from your own database or a third party) is a very realistic option that many big brands are beginning to take advantage of.
But this is so much data… and it changes all the time
Performance marketing managers are realizing how valuable this copy differentiation can be in improving clicks and conversions within competitive markets. But the data requirement is huge.
Think about it: if you’re a searcher who needs a specific quantity of a specific

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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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Can you manage your inventory with Google Shopping?

We are often asked by our clients if we can use Google Shopping or paid search to push particular products or product groups.
There are a number of reasons why they might want to do this. They might have high stock levels of a particular product; some ranges might be out of date, and they wish to sell off remaining stock; or perhaps a product is not selling as well as they had hoped, and they wish to boost the sales.
On the face of it, Google Shopping seems like a good platform for this task. Advertisers can pay more to increase the exposure of a particular product, rather than bid on keywords alone (as is the case with standard text ads). Hence, advertisers often believe Google Shopping is the ideal means to proactively manage inventory and stock levels.
However, behind this approach is the assumption that there is a direct relationship between what consumers search for and what they end up

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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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Google adds Merchant Center Feed Rules to make formatting shopping feeds easier

Let’s face it, shopping feeds are a pain. Such a pain that an entire cottage industry has sprung up to help retailers with the nuisance of product feed formatting and management. On Tuesday, Google released Feed Rules to make it a little easier for those advertisers and retailers managing Google Shopping feeds on their own to get feed data formatted correctly.
“You can export and submit your product data in your own format, and use different rules to transform it into product attributes and values that follow the Google Shopping feed specification, directly in Merchant Center,” Sven Herschel, product manager for Google Shopping, explained in a blog post.
From the new Feed rules tab in Merchant Center, you can now set rules to change column headers and values used in your product data to match those used by Google — e.g., “for women” to “female” as shown in the screenshot from Google below.
Additionally, you can add missing attributes by setting rules that can

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The complicated local path to purchase: 7 marketing tasks to do yourself and 7 to outsource

Today’s consumers have lots of options to find local businesses, and they use them all. There’s no fixed path to purchase — customers each travel a different route through their favorite apps, media and websites to find and select where they will spend their hard-earned money.
The Local Search Association (LSA) conducted its annual Local Media Tracking Study of more than 8,000 consumers in 2015 and found that consumers started their search for local information most commonly with search engines, but only by a plurality — 40 percent.
The rest of consumers turned to a variety of other media as their first source, including company websites, directories, review sites, newspapers and mobile apps, as illustrated below.
Source: 2015 LSA Local Media Tracking Study
LSA data also reveals that consumers’ choices flatten out away from search engines as they venture deeper into the path to purchase.
Typically, when consumers are ready to make a purchase, or they make one last visit to a media source,

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Five reasons why GTIN should be your new favorite Google Shopping acronym

There’s a deadline coming up in the wonderful world of Google Shopping. Third Door Media’s paid media reporter Ginny Marvin talked about it back in February, and you might be seeing some warnings on the Diagnostics tab in Merchant Center.
Here’s the deal: If you sell a product that has a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), you need to include that in your feed by May 16, 2016, or else those items will be disapproved.
You’re probably already including some of these, as we’ve required this from 50 brands for more than six months, and many of you have been providing GTINs for most products in your feed for years. But now you need to include it for everything that’s a new brand-name product sold by multiple merchants.
Like all of you, I have complicated emotions when it comes to deadlines. They help get things done, but they can also be a pain in the butt. There’s plenty of other stuff

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For Some Broad Queries, Google Shopping Showing Top Categories On Mobile, Not PLAs

Image Credit: Denys Prykhodov / Shutterstock.com
Google has made a flurry of updates for shopping results and campaign features ahead of the holidays. Among them are a new display for broad product searches on mobile and a new column metric for managing product groups.
Mobile Shopping Results By Categories
Google says that 40 percent of product searches are on broad terms. To help users narrow down their searches, Google has started showing Shopping results on some broad queries segmented by category, rather than showing itemized product listing ads.
This categorization only happens in mobile search results, for now, anyway. For example, a search for “droids” shows popular categories of Collectibles and Dolls, Playsets & Toy Figures, Interlocking Blocks, Home Decor and others.

I also saw this configuration on a search for “bike” in which categories were broken out by bikes and parts and accessories.

Click Share For Product Groups
Google also added a click share column for product groups in Shopping campaigns. The new click share

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Retailers Can Now Sell Paid Search In Their Apps With Point Inside StoreBoost

In-store marketing solution Point Inside has launched a search marketing program for retailer apps. The company calls it “StoreBoost.”
As the name suggests, it enables retailers to promote specific products or brands in auto-complete or to the top of search results within their apps:
The StoreBoost service is available via Point Inside’s StoreMode platform, and allows retailers to boost a particular product or brand to the top result position in response to a mobile search query. The StoreBoost service is also available during autocomplete search, allowing a retailer to pair a boosted suggestion with a related term in the search type-ahead field.
Retailers can use StoreBoost to promote whatever they want, whether it’s house ads or content or third party information. But the capability is most intriguing as a paid-search platform to enable retailers to monetize in-app search. My understanding is that no one is currently doing this but retailers using StoreBoost now have the capacity to charge brands for

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