Big three in search right now

Insights | 18 Mar, 2015

How is online search changing right now and what does it mean for practitioners? 

Richard Hartley, Jellyfish PPC Director, looks at the latest around product list re-marketing with Google Shopping, DoubleClick Bid Manager, URL upgrades and better tracking for online advertising campaigns.

PPC Director, Richard Hartley, looks at how online search is changing right now and what it means for practitioners, in particular, product listing re-marketing with Google Shopping, DoubleClick Bid Manager and better tracking for online advertising campaigns.

There's always been a lot of competition in the bid management tool market. There have been quite a few tools that are available: DC Storm, Kenshoo, Marin, and Google's offering Double Click for Search. What we've seen in recent years is that DoubleClick for search, especially Google's offering, has come on leaps and bounds and is really starting to pull ahead of the pack. It never used to be the best tool and now we just think, because of all the development that Google's put into it, it just seems to be the best one to use nowadays. It integrates easily with things like Google Tag Manager and Google DoubleClick Bid Management and all those sort of tools, and so it makes it easy to set up, and it's now much easier to use than it has been previously.

‘So, there are advantages to using any of the other tools available out there, but DoubleClick is definitely the one that we feel is really pulling away from the pack.’

Google seem to be putting a lot more emphasis into the product listing ads that are appearing now more and more on top of all the search results. It's because they think they know no one's really got the comparison shopping engine really cracked. There are other third party sites out there like PriceRunner and PriceGrabber, but they've always kind of been the domain of bigger advertisers. There are a lot of smaller advertisers that would be able to get into that space if it was made just easier. And Google are doing that, and it is now really easy to set up a Google Merchant Center account and link into your AdWords account, which you're probably using already to advertise with on the search.

‘And now you can do clever things with Google Shopping, like integrate your product listings into your re-marketing activity and your display via AdWords. And the product listing ads are appearing on mobile devices as well, and that's good for advertisers because they tend to get good returns on product listing ads.’

You can see the price of the product. You can see what the product looks like. You can see who's advertising it. If you decide you click through from that point, then you're likely to buy.

Plus it's good for Google. Instead of having, on the normal search results page, you've got list of sponsored links and some that Google don't make revenue from. Instead of people start using the shopping tab, they're going to have just a list of what's effectively all ads, because they are all paid nowadays. Two or three years ago they weren't, and now they are. So, it's a way that Google can really expand their offering to their users, to the people who are actually searching, but also make sure that a lot of advertisers are getting good returns from it as well.

Upgraded URLs I think are a big deal, because it shows that Google is putting more emphasis, more development into tracking advertising campaigns, so you can more easily attribute conversions to your advertising spend.

‘This is good for Google for a couple of reasons, because it knows that people who are tracking their advertising campaigns better, it means they're going to get more conversions attributed to their advertising spend, which means that you're going to eventually end up paying more in advertising.’

So, it's just a symptom that Google are going to continue to put in a lot of effort and a lot of development time into making tracking easier for advertisers. There are still a lot of things that haven't quite been done yet. They still haven't quite fixed cross device tracking, even though that is possible to do now with Google Analytics Premium. And still attribution modelling is always going to be a big talking point amongst advertisers. But it just goes to show that Google are trying to make this as easy as possible, and we can only likely to see some future improvements in that area from them.

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