Google Product Update: New Shopping Actions, New Ad Types, Better Consumer Journey

Today’s consumer journey is complex.

But as Google announced at the Google Marketing Live event this week, delivering a seamless consumer experience doesn’t have to be.

The search giant unveiled a number of new tools to help brands and retailers improve how they market and sell their products — by serving the right product, at the right time, to the right consumer. And then, when that consumer is ready to buy, delivering a frictionless buying experience.

Along with new features for advertisers, as well as improved search and shopping functionality, one of the biggest takeaways from the event was the announcement of a new evolution of Google’s marketplace functionality within Shopping Actions.

The New (and Improved) Shopping Actions

The Google Express marketplace, powered by Google Shopping Actions, will fully merge with Google Shopping, allowing shoppers to purchase products directly within the Google Shopping interface.

This redesigned Google Shopping experience will serve as a more centralized destination for browsing, shopping and buying. It will still show paid ads, but users will sometimes have the option of a direct checkout experience. Google will decide which type of ad is served to shoppers using its conversion-likelihood algorithm.

Both types of listings look similar, except listings with a direct checkout option will include a blue shopping cart icon.  

These purchasable product listings are still powered by the Shopping Actions program, meaning they will continue to show up across multiple Google surfaces, including Google.com, Google Shopping and the Google Assistant.

According to Google, brands and retailers that currently use Shopping Actions are automatically included in the new, streamlined version, which will expand later this year to include other Google surfaces such as YouTube and Google Images.

The Impact for Brands and Retailers

As we mentioned above, these changes are all part of improving the modern consumer experience. Millions of consumers come to Google every day — via Search, Shopping, Images, YouTube, etc. — for product inspiration and research. Google is now helping to make that experience more shoppable.

So what does this mean for brands and retailers advertising on Google?

As we’ve written about before, brands and retailers can no longer afford to take a “wait and see” approach when it comes to Shopping Actions.

Channel convergence is nothing new, and the sellers who are early adopters of a successful platform evolution stand to win BIG. Shopping Actions represents a tremendous opportunity to tap into a huge audience on a pay-for-performance (revenue) basis.

On the other hand, those sellers who don’t capitalize on an ever-evolving search results page could find a major source of website traffic and sales marginalized — either through fewer paid ads appearing or more competitor listings showing up.

Think of it as the reverse situation that Amazon sellers were in a few years ago as Amazon Marketing Services (now called Amazon Advertising) gained momentum. Many brands and retailers initially resisted what became inevitable and essential to their success: advertising products on Amazon. Now, some experienced advertisers on Google may be reluctant to engage with the marketplace side of the platform via Shopping Actions. We encourage sellers to learn from Amazon Advertising and get on board early.

Shopping Actions could very well represent the future of Google-based shopping. It’s not something that any brand or retailer wants to watch from the sidelines.

If you’re not currently selling on Shopping Actions, and you’d like to learn more, reach out to your account manager or request a demo today.

Other Notable Google Enhancements

Showcase Shopping ads — Google is bringing the popular, highly visual ad format to even more surfaces. Users will be able to discover brands and click through to their websites via Google Images, the Discover page and soon YouTube.  

Discovery ads Rolling out to advertisers later this year, these ads provide an open canvas for advertisers on the Discover page to engage consumers in a swipeable image carousel.

Gallery ads — The new search ads format allows you to increase brand awareness on the search results page in a more interactive, visual format.

Ready to talk to an e-commerce consultant about how you can make the most of your presence on Google? Fill out this form today to schedule a meeting.