Live Blogging from 2014 Catalyst: Google Fireside Chat (Part I)

March 11, 2014

Digital Marketing ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

Welcome to the live blog of ChannelAdvisor’s Catalyst 2014. We’ll be live blogging the general sessions to make sure Catalyst attendees don’t miss anything. Also, make sure you’re following hashtag #Catalyst2014 and @ChannelAdvisor on Twitter for all the latest.

Moderator: Link Walls, VP of Product Management, ChannelAdvisor

Guest: Vineet Buch, Director of Product Management for Shopping Search, Google

Buch: “We are in the business of making our users happy.”

Google wants to be part of the entire experience.  organise information, help users figure out if there is a store nearby, and even deliver it to their house with Google Shopping Express.

Important distinction for Google is that they consider their business a partnership with retailers.

Product Listing Ads

Buch led the effort to centralize ad options–they were fragmented.  Hodge-podge of experiences.  Made a thoughtful decision to combine shopping into one initiative, so that they and retailers would both have skin in the game to make it most successful.

Because Google Product Search was free, there wasn’t as much value to the choices.  Google wasn’t proud of the look and feel of the search.

It’s been since October of 2011 that Google Shopping was launched, moved over more countries in 2012.

Total volume of clicks we send retailers from a paid experience is higher than the volume of free plus paid clicks they had before.

A number of independent 3rd-party reports that indicate the ROI of PLAs is better than any other programs out there. Why?

  • Improved mobile experience
  • Built trust signals
  • Quality of Data vastly improved-retailers pay more attention now that they are paying for it.

Buch thinks Google does a pretty good job today when the user knows what they want to buy. But when the user is higher in the funnel, exploring the category, this is where Google wants to improve.

Google wants to collate data from multiple sources to have a way for users to find products.  Help users figure out what is important to them–help them make a purchase.  Use rich content.

Link: One of the common complaints we hear from advertisers is the ability to target specific queries.

Buch: “If I had a penny for every time someone asked me about query-based ads I’d own the Wynn.”

Text ads are not trying to provide a full page experience-they are about satisfying aspects of users’ needs as soon as possible.  Want the user to feel we are providing them shopping results–and relevant results. Want to create a consistent experience for the users.  Trying to do their best estimate of how well the user converts.

“In the end, if the user liked what we showed them, it’s in the users interest, the retailers interest and our interest.”

Link: Where is Google Shopping in terms of completeness?

Buch: Sense is that they are pretty complete for most categories.  For some categories there may be some issues with the comprehensiveness of the results.

Google Shopping Campaigns

Text ads are keyword-based, Product ads were product-based.  Google felt they weren’t doing the best showing retailers the kind of reporting needed to run a campaign.  Year-long effort to revamp the bidding system. Exposes impressions, so retailers know their share of voice.  Much easier to use, specifically for PLAs.  Find retailers using it for a few months are giving rave reviews.

Link: Who is this best for?

Buch: Even for those who have built own system, the reporting is brand new.  Impression-based reporting shows you your share based on impressions. If you think you should have more share, it helps you determine that to meet your marketing goals.

That report is valuable to just about anyone. Even for the most sophisticated advertisers, we don’t want people to lose out by shifting.  We think that soon it will be a win for everyone.

Link: Is feed as important?

Buch: Trying to blend the best of what’s on the web with shopping. The better the quality of your feed, the better system we can build and the better traffic we can send you.  We think that over time, issues with feed quality may make us prioritize certain results over others–show listings with better pictures, for example.

Shopping Campaigns will make your life a lot easier.  Set up is much easier. Provides more control, more reporting on your performance on the market.  “If I can do it, so can you.”

Google Local

Link: Tell us what’s going on with Google Local

Buch: Constant connectivity is driving consumer behaviour. Online and offline experiences are blurring in your stores.

  • 79% of shoppers checked online reviews before making a purchase.
  • 1 in 3 shoppers uses their smartphones to find information instead of asking store employees.

Mobile was big increase in traffic for us last year.  Make it easy and fast, is Google’s advice.  Too often a focus on capturing things like the users’ email, rather than just getting the purchase.

He bought a nexus phone with his phone. Because he was signed in to Google Wallet, it was easier to buy it on his phone.  “Basically no typing to do at all. It should always be that easy.”

Link: Is moving to Google Wallet a viable option for retailers here? Where do you see Google’s role in that payment piece?

Buch: Instant buy is available already with Google Wallet. Still lets you own the customer.

Link: How do you balance the creepiness factor from a user perspective?

Buch: Want to be sure the user knows what Google knows about them.  Big privacy team.  Big issue.  Early days for online attribution.  It’s not clear if the solution for offline is one big thing or a test of more custom solutions.

Work with them to figure it out.  Not a magic dashboard.  Hopeful that over time it can become more like a general purpose attribution solution.  Closing the loop isn’t easy.  Can’t track everyone all the time, but can extrapolate interesting information and trends.

See Part II Here:

 Reminder for the Catalyst America’s social presence:
• Follow @ChannelAdvisor on Twitter as we’ll be tweeting out updates, reminders about sessions, networking events and more.
• Tag your social posts, Instagram pics with our show hashtag: #Catalyst2014 to keep tabs on discussions, networking opportunities and more on the Catalyst app.
• Keep an eye on the ChannelAdvisor blogs where we’ll be live blogging the keynotes and main sessions at Catalyst.