Do you ever feel like you don’t know how to most effectively leverage your mobile marketing campaigns? While mobile is an incredible new way to distribute content and reach customers, it also presents a unique challenge when it comes to measuring the impact of our mobile efforts (like applications, advertisements or mobile friendly websites).

We’d like to invite you to join us for a webinar discussing mobile marketing metrics, led by Avinash Kaushik, Digital Marketing Evangelist. In this exciting webinar Avinash will share his tips and best practices for new metrics unique to mobile, as well as how best to measure mobile ads and websites.

We hope you can join us!

What: Mobile Advertising Webinar: Right Person, Right Time, Right Message - Finally!
When: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 9-10:30am PST/ 12-1:30pm EST
How: Register here

Posted by Jaime Mayer, The Google Marketing Team

The manner of giving matters more than what is given. --Pierre Corneille

Americans are about to enter the winter holiday season. Gift-giving defines some of the central themes of this annual period of festivals and celebrations. Through the power of search engines, social media discussions, and mobile devices, Americans have become accustomed to being able to search for--and successfully find--the most specific, personalized gifts for friends and loved ones. Anything from poetry-inscribed sculpture to steampunk lighting to monthly organic coffee subscriptions to crazy socks are only a few mouse clicks and shipping days away.

However, finding the perfect gift is only one part of the art of the present. Presents are exactly that--something we present. As Corneille and others have argued, the greater part of the art of the present is not the content itself, but its presentation. Good presentation cannot make up for a thoughtless present. Yet, the thoughtfulness of a good present can be easily lost through poor presentation.

Some cultural narratives of presentation are shared in a public way--consider the tradition of boxes wrapped in decorative paper under an indoor, ornamented fir tree practiced by lots of Americans. Other narratives develop personally between friends, family, and loved ones. For example, one of my aunts always includes seasonal confetti in her cards. I know to expect a cascade of glittering small balloons or hearts or four-leaf clover bits and pieces whenever I get a card from Aunt Jackie.

Presentation--and our public and private rituals of presentation--magnify the meaning of a gift. While presentation may seem like an afterthought, the seemingly extraneous papers, bows, notes, and envelopes serve an important function. Thoughtful presentation honors the actual content by highlighting the voluntary generosity that is the essence of a present--an object freely and joyfully given to another.

As more and more Americans shop online, the demand for personalized and creative presentation reiterates itself in new forms. Retailers in the online space need to recognize the importance not just of connecting consumers with the right present, but also providing robust options for presenting the gift. Likewise, in a rapidly changing marketing landscape, retailers need to connect with consumers not just while searching. With the rise of mobile devices and the convergence of online and offline spaces, retailers need to meet them while they browse the entire web--through display strategy--and while shopping in brick-and-mortar--via mobile advertising.

Creative solutions are springing up all over the web. Consider GroupCard -- a service that allows groups of people to sign a card and send it to someone digitally or to print the card. Gift certificates can also be attached, giving signers the option to contribute. These sorts of products point to the ever-accelerating convergence of online and offline spheres as well as bringing the power of new media technology to profoundly human situations--in this case, how to rally and communicate a message of support, condolence, or congratulations from a community to one of its members.

However, in an age when many of us live far from loved ones and in an economy that may make travel more expensive, the rituals around sent gifts--rather than those given face-to-face--also have great importance.

The option for free shipping catches the eye like few other calls to action. Americans have been demanding free with ever-increasing intensity over the past 7 years, something reflected in the sheer volume of search queries around this term we have seen on The trend has accelerated after the start of the recession in 2008--and will remain important for the foreseeable future.

Beyond free shipping, there is much an online retailer can consider for the holiday season. For example, when we send a gift via FedEx or USPS, it tends to arrive in a box indistinguishable from a non-gift box. We want to communicate as rapidly as possible to the receiver that this is, indeed, a present. Just as in face-to-face presentation, we want the present to say not just “I bought this for you,” but “I thoughtfully found this for you and am thinking of you.” If possible, as a retailer, be sure to distinguish yourself with options for gift wrapping interior boxes, inclusion of notes or cards with customizable message, and other possibilities.

As we move toward the start of the 2011 holiday season, retailers should take stock not just of their inventory, but also the way they do (or do not) provide options for giving the consumer greater say in how a gift will be presented.

Google Image Search and Related Searches Results for “Presents,” September 2011

Posted by Paul Nauert, The Google Retail Team

(cross-posted from

At's Annual Summit, digital marketing experts shared hundreds of tips and tactics to help online retailers inch further along in their quest for conversion nirvana. But according to Google’s Industry Director for Retail Todd Pollak, getting digital marketing right is a little more simple: “Apply everything you know about direct mail marketing to online marketing.” Voila! Pollak said this simple tactic can easily improve efficiency. And this little insight nugget isn’t the only helpful tactic Pollak shared in a recent Q&A. Read on for his thoughts on top trends for digital this year, common mistakes companies make when it comes to search optimization, and what to expect for the holiday season.

What are a few of the top trends you’re seeing in digital retail this year?

In no particular order…mobile, social, deals and convenience.
The cost of walking out of a store is cheaper than it has ever been. For the first time in history, consumers have the ability to save the absolute amount of time and money at zero incremental cost regardless of whether they’re standing in a store with their coveted merchandise in hand. When you have two-parent working families with kids who have more activities, an economy generating flat income growth relative to inflation and rising commodity prices, the pressure to adapt and find efficiencies to maximize your lifestyle accelerates.

Just as retailers are increasing productivity through adoption of technology like CRM, connected stores, recommendation engines, free shipping, site-to-store, etc., the vast majority of consumers are also using technology to steepen their value and efficiency curve and improve their lifestyles. Deals, recommendations, inventory availability and price comparison have become so accessible to Main Street that the traditional ways consumers look to save money more clearly than ever express their true costs of use.

Are digital technologies reinventing the relationship between consumers and advertisers? What does this mean for retailers?

Shopping tools that are always available, predicated on simplicity and elegant design combined with real mobile processing power have fundamentally changed retailing forever.
There are 330 million search results for “my 2-year-old can use an iPhone.” In short, technology is more accessible than it has ever been at a time when inventory, pricing, reviews and recommendations information have reached near 100% transparency for non-perishable goods. Today, we have easy-to-use tools that personalize, organize and filter information like Groupon, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Google. Consumers’ understanding of these tools is peaking and usage has become more sophisticated overtime.

Retailers should be focused not just on where consumers spend their time researching and buying, but on how best to tailor their tactics based on the transitions people make by device and by location. From desktop at work, to tablets after work on the couch, to mobile in the aisles, focus on transitions in mindset and context. Size of screen and location impact the kinds of information people seek.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask about one of the biggest social media announcements of the year – the launch of Google+. Will you share three tips for retailers looking to leverage the platform?

Social seems to have its most significant impact at the front – through awareness – and backend – through conversion – of the buying cycle. What deals are available? What brands or products do people who are like me buy and when it comes down to the final choice, which brand do people like me buy? It’s still very early days and retailers are investing in the promise of tomorrow.
Today, social signals are relatively one dimensional in that they express interest, but not necessarily intent. In the future, companies that make sense of these connections and influences by understanding their relationships will revolutionize the way retailers merchandise and personalize their stores for each customer.

At Google, our goal is to use social signals to improve consumer experiences across Google properties and partners. In the near term, we’ll enhance the relevance of intent-based queries which are already delivering the most qualified customers on the web to retailers. If someone is looking for barefoot running shoes and their friend endorses a specific result for barefoot running shoes, we believes this will improve engagement for brands, improve the relevance of generic queries and deliver higher conversion rates for our partners.

According to this year’s State of Retailing Online report, search is still the number one marketing acquisition tool for online retailers. I know you can’t tell us what’s in the Google secret search optimization sauce, but what common mistakes do you see among retail clients when it comes to optimizing their site for search?

For multichannel retailers, too many still optimize for an online conversion and view all other paid search visits to the website as waste. Many focus their investments on 2% of their traffic as though the only people who come to a website are online buyers. This happens because the organization views the website as one store, although a very profitable one, and not the gateway to the brand. The stores benefit far more from the website than the online division, they just don’t fully measure online to store activity. The first stop for any consumer – regardless of where they intend to buy – is a website. As long as online divisions are hyper-focused on converting every visit, the consumer experience, which is tied to the whole brand, will be sub-optimal. To create an optimal customer experience, online divisions need to focus less on converting every visitor online and more about the overall customer intention and experience.

The other piece of advice I’d give is to think differently about website visitation by category. People don’t buy sheets the same way they buy blenders so if you’re using the same layouts, information, attribution window for transaction across all your categories…there’s an opportunity to increase topline revenue by optimizing for each category.

As online and offline continue to blur, retailers are hoping to increase customer insight and build relationships between online and the physical world. What tips do you have for retailers looking to leverage this customer data?

The consumer has changed and as a result, retailers must structure themselves for the 21st century.
First, align your organization to optimize for delighting the consumer regardless of the channel. From the CEO down, the whole organization must commit to the idea of a single profit center where everyone is fairly compensated and media is optimized for any conversion regardless of channel. In short, start by eliminating internal friction. This is a must do, because consumers don’t see any difference between your stores and your website. Creating separate PnLs that compete for resources, media dollars, etc. creates confusion for the consumer and damages a brand. Most of our testing demonstrates that the stores benefit far more from a visit to the website than the .com.
Second, invest in continuous testing. I’m always surprised when retailers expect a single test with a positive or negative outcome to change a media mix that’s been built over 10 years. Make a long-term commitment to solving this because you have to believe that eventually 20%+ of commerce in the U.S. will happen online.

Third, invest in a single view of the customer. That means breaking down the data silos between stores, website analytics and online transactions. This will enable top line revenue growth for your company by truly understanding the lifetime value of your customers.

How are you seeing locality play out in the current customer shopping experience? 

Location is still one of the most important factors for a traditional retail business. Today’s consumer wants instant gratification as a result of technology. Price transparency and inventory availability make local shopping more important than ever before. Your customers expect that they only have to drive to your store if you have what they need, when they need it.

I don’t think that retailing has changed all that much. The foundational things still apply, but technology that can identify a customer’s current location presents all kinds of interesting opportunities to encourage a visit that never existed before.

If you’ve ever done direct mail marketing, you know that certain zip codes generate higher conversion rates and higher average order values. Apply everything you know about direct mail marketing to online marketing and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how your efficiency improves. Buying nationally is a legacy behavior, but online it ensures you’ll be spending more than you should in lower performing markets, and not enough in the ones that perform the best. When you can, maximize precision.

Mobile is accelerating the importance of a local strategy. There are over 100 million Google mobile maps users in the U.S. Some of our best performing ad units on a mobile device are brand searches and click-to-call. Consumers use their phones as shopping tools to save time looking for your store locations and calling for information. In fact, we have data that shows that mobile queries peak at the same time that offline sales peak. Those consumers who are a bit further ahead of the curve know they can find inventory availability and pricing information by store location on the web as well.
The easier the tools are to use, the smarter we become about who the shopper is and what she likes, the more opportunity there will be for advertisers to design an exceptional and personalized shopping experience for their customers.

What do you think the 2011 holiday season holds for retail?
Long lines and aggressive shoppers have been hyped by the media for the past three years. True or not, this stuff sticks with people. As a result, a greater share of transactions will shift to the web again in 2011. Shoppers will buy earlier and deal sites will see gains as consumers hunt for values. Increased use of technology in the aisles as a shopping assistant, as well as mobile and tablet usage will see exponential growth.

What is the number one recommendation you’d make for retail companies as they begin their holiday planning?

Don’t build another microsite. Increase your presence in social communities where consumers already spend time. You’ll activate a lot more users and benefit from network effects.

Posted by Todd Pollak, The Google Retail Team

(Cross-posted from the AdWords Agency Blog and the Inside AdWords Blog)

Few would argue that online display advertising is playing an increasingly important role in the marketing mix. While we frequently talk about how the vast majority of our top advertisers have run a Google display campaign in the last year while continuing to increase their investment, today we’re shining a light on some specific examples.

For each brand we’re highlighting today, display was an integral part of their broader marketing strategy. To make it work, they tapped into a robust display advertising toolbox and applied targeting, creative, measurement and optimization solutions that made the most sense for their campaign objective. Let’s take a look at the results.

Airbnb increased the number of nights booked from 800,000 to 2 million with help from remarketing on the Google Display Network and TrueView video ads on YouTube. (Read case study)

Groupon acquired millions of subscribers with the help of contextual targeting and auto-optimization on the Google Display Network. (Read case study)

ShoeDazzle got 45% of their conversions from the Google Display Network by applying a variety of targeting and optimization tools. (Read case study)

At the heart of each success lies a common theme: Great display advertising happens when smart strategies are applied in three key areas: Finding the right customer, showing them the perfect ad, and measuring and optimizing effectively.

Find the right customer. Reaching just the right audience is at the crux of any successful campaign. In fact, marketers are saying the biggest driver of increased display budgets is the availability of better targeting technologies. (1) From remarketing strategies that reach 84% of users on a typical list, to interest categories that show interested users your message while respecting user privacy, we’re constantly innovating to precisely connect your message with your audience. And just last month, we shared strategies for applying the right targeting mix to extract the most out of direct response campaigns on the GDN.

Show them the perfect ad. You can find the right audience, but what do you tell them? With display, marketers have a wide-open canvas to connect with consumers to drive the results they care about. And an effective ad can come in any format. In fact, many of the brands we’re highlighting today used Standard IAB display ad units but with compelling messaging and beautiful creative that really resonated with their audience.

Measure and optimize based on real-time insights. Advertisers have always benefited from transparency into exactly where ads run, their costs, and the right metrics to measure campaign performance, providing actionable insights to optimize their campaigns. Our recent investments in measurement and optimization take this further. Marketers can now see a complete picture of the chain of impressions and clicks that drives campaign performance with Multi-Channel Funnels. And applying Google’s 10 years of experience in developing optimization algorithms, we’ve launched tools like Display Campaign Optimizer, which can be used to do fully automated bidding and targeting to boost conversions and ROI.

So today, while we’re celebrating these successes, more than that, there is a valuable insight here. The display toolbox is a rich one. It’s the agencies and marketers who tap into that toolbox and apply it in ways that make sense for their campaigns, who will greatly benefit from display as a medium. So.. will your campaign be the next one we shine a light on?

Watch this space.

(1) Effective Audience Targeting Leads To Bigger Display Budgets, eMarketer, May 2011

Posted by Emel Mutlu, Product Marketing Manager, Google Display, Client Communications

[cross-posted on the Google Commerce Blog]

Shortly after joining Google from, my team and I developed and launched Boutiques -- a fashion website offering women new ways to browse and shop for apparel. Today, we’re taking the features that shoppers absolutely love from Boutiques and incorporating them into Google Product Search -- so millions of people can use them every day. This is the first in a series of improvements we’re making to Google Product Search leveraging the computer vision and machine learning technology developed by the team we affectionately call our fashion and computer nerds. We hope you’ll enjoy what’s new today, and what’s around the corner for the upcoming holiday season.

Redesigned Homepage The first thing you’ll probably notice is our new homepage. This new look and feel is designed to inspire and facilitate easy, enjoyable browsing and shopping.

Better Ways to Shop, Starting with Dresses
By increasing the size of each image, simplifying much of the text around the images, and lightening the text color, we’ve emphasized the more visual aspects of apparel shopping. We’ve also integrated the most popular search refinements from Boutiques. Using the same innovative machine learning and computer vision technologies we developed for Boutiques, you can now browse dress collections that match the color, silhouette and genre you desire.

Explore visually similar styles
And because we think browsing and discovering new items is what makes shopping fun, we’ve added a feature to Product Search that makes it easy to do just that. Let’s say a particular dress catches your eye. Now, you can explore similar styles and discover new designers by clicking on that dress and viewing dozens of visually similar ones. We think you’ll find this fun --and addictive!-- and we hope it brings that element of surprise and discovery we all love with brick-and-mortar shopping to the online shopping experience.

An update on and related properties
As we continue to integrate technology and lessons learned from into Google Product Search, we will be redirecting shoppers from to Google Product Search. The former team, alongside the Google Product Search team, will drive new ideas for apparel shopping through one unified product. The team is excited to be a part of the shopping experience on Google and have our work displayed to millions of users every day.  

If you’re a user of and other websites, you’ll soon receive an email with instructions for saving your data before those websites are transitioned on October 14. If you have any questions please email us at 

Like other teams that have joined Google, we’re thrilled with the opportunity to showcase our experience and technology to all of Google’s shoppers.

Posted by Burak Gokturk, Co-Founder and member of the Google Commerce team

(cross-posted on Official Google Blog, Google Mobile Blog and Google Commerce Blog)

In May we announced Google Wallet—an app that makes your phone your wallet—with Citi, MasterCard, Sprint and First Data. With Google Wallet, you can tap, pay and save using your phone and near field communication (NFC).

We’ve been testing it extensively, and today we’re releasing the first version of the app to Sprint. That means we’re beginning to roll out Google Wallet to all Sprint Nexus S 4G phones through an over-the-air update—just look for the “Wallet” app. Here’s a demo of Google Wallet in action:

Google Wallet enables you to pay with your Citi MasterCard credit card and the Google Prepaid Card, which can be funded with any of your existing plastic credit cards. As a thanks to early adopters, we’re adding a $10 free bonus to the Google Prepaid Card if you set it up in Google Wallet before the end of the year.

When we announced Google Wallet, we pledged a commitment to an open commerce ecosystem. We appreciate Citi and MasterCard for being our launch partners. And today, Visa, Discover and American Express have made available their NFC specifications that could enable their cards to be added to future versions of Google Wallet.

Our goal is to make it possible for you to add all of your payment cards to Google Wallet, so you can say goodbye to even the biggest traditional wallets. In fact, we’ve got a video of our first customer, someone who is ready to replace his famously over-stuffed wallet. We hope Google Wallet gives him “serenity now.”

This is still just the beginning and while we’re excited about this first step, we look forward to bringing Google Wallet to more phones in the future. You can learn more about Google Wallet at

Posted by Osama Bedier, Vice President of Payments

[cross-posted on the Official Google Blog]

Time to sharpen those pencils: now that the back-to-school season is winding down and students are back at their desks, we thought we’d take a look at some popular searches from the last few weeks. Students across the U.S. are hitting the books—although, as we found, not all their back-to-school searches are academically inclined.

Overall, search interest in [back to school] is up about 10 percent from last year.

After a three-month hiatus, everyone wants to make a great impression on the first day of school. Searches related to starting fresh—like [kids shoes], [kids haircuts] and [healthy school lunches]—jump during the back-to-school season. People are also eager to sport just the right look—searches for [first day of school outfit] have increased 20 percent since the 2010 season.

A well-stocked locker is also top of mind for many at the start of the school year. Search interest for back-to-school staples like pencils, notebooks and backpacks routinely peaks during the season, as kids compare colors, styles and designs online. But tech-savvy students are seeking new essentials for the classroom. Searches for [tablet] exceeded searches for [backpack] for the first time in a July-September period. And with [etextbook] searches up 50 percent from September 2010, look for ereaders to slip into more backpacks in the future.

Crossing items off the back-to-school list is rewarding, but it’s a lot more satisfying when there’s a bargain involved. This year is no exception with shoppers scanning for deals before heading to stores. Searches for [back to school coupons] and [back to school sales] increased 10 and 25 percent, and searches for [printable coupons] jumped 45 percent from last year’s season.

College-bound freshmen seem to be looking for ways to take charge of their finances. Searches for [bank account] and [open bank account] peak in August, and were up about 20 percent from last year’s back-to-school season. Searches for [student credit card] are also highest during this time of year, along with searches for the means to pay a credit card bill: [campus jobs]. In recent years, securing a steady source of income has trumped on-the-spot spending. While searches for [student credit card] have decreased 30 percent since 2004, searches for [campus jobs] have steadily increased, up 50 percent in the same period.

Finally, we’ll leave you with a few back-to-school essentials that might not have made your list. To avoid using the modern version of the old “my dog ate my homework” excuse, protect your computer with a [laptop lock]—searches regularly spike in in August. If you’ve been thinking about picking up an instrument, now’s the time to jump on the bandwagon (pun intended), as searches for [flute], [cello], [violin] and [clarinet] jump every September. And for your mother’s sake (and your roommate’s), find a good [laundry service] on campus. Search interest peaks in September, though the clothes-washing learning curve lasts the entire year.

Last week we took a look at the first half of a four part interview from Google Think Voices with Avinash Kaushik on how to succeed in the digital world using key insights to evaluate and refine the customer experience. Today we are focusing on the last two videos of the series.

The first video explores the leap from faith-based to data-based marketing decisions. How embracing a crowdsourcing mentality that serves as an “idea democracy” to surface both good and bad ideas can impact your business. Once the ideas are vetted in a short test, marketing decisions can be made quicker and faster than within campaigns hosted on traditional mediums.

The final video highlights the hazards of overlooking the end-to-end customer experience. Match great ads with relevant and engaging landing pages to delight consumers and encourage conversions. Leverage your website as a portal to your brand.

To get more helpful information from Avinash visit his blog, Occam’s Razor.

Posted by Keri Overman, The Google Retail Team

Google Think Voices captures a four part interview with Avinash Kaushik on how to succeed in the digital world using key insights to evaluate and refine the customer experience. Avinash reveals tips on how to elevate your marketing efforts to capture maximum consumer favorability. Here is a look at the first two videos of the series.

The first video segment details three important tracking metrics to implement for a full view of your marketing effectiveness. The metrics he highlights are:

Task Completion Rate
Involves leveraging surveys and qualitative data to understand the customer experience with your brand. This data assists retailers in making adjustments efficiently at scale to increase consumer satisfaction and conversions.

Economic Value Added
An analysis of the macro and micro conversions leading to a positive contribution to a business' bottom line. Move beyond measuring clicks and impressions to derive additional insights of the true value of acquired customers.

Bounce Rate
A measure of consumer activities tied to the effectiveness of your campaigns and landing pages. By examining the number of people that visit a site and leave immediately, retailers are able to focus on areas within the shopping cycle that could be improved.

The second video focuses on finding insights to make smart marketing decisions that result in a higher conversion rate. Avinash discusses how DoubleClick Ad Planner can help precisely target consumers that are hard to reach by linking demographic data to search behavior.

To get more helpful information from Avinash visit his blog, Occam's Razor. Stay tuned for the additional two videos in the series.

Posted by Keri Overman, The Google Retail Team

Now that the final days of summer have come to an end, retailers are in the thick of planning for the busy holiday shopping season. As you start to plan your campaigns, it's important to take a step back and look at how consumers are using their mobile and tablet devices to drive in-store and on-device purchases. Here are a few insights that may surprise you:
  • We project that this year 15% of total “Black Friday” searches will be from mobile devices based on historical growth rates

  • Many advertisers do not realize that mobile users actively search for last minute holiday gifts and to locate stores to purchase these last minute gifts. In fact, we project that 44% of total searches for last minute gifts and store locator terms will be from mobile devices this holiday season based on historical growth rates

  • In fact, looking back on the past two holiday seasons, we see a “double peak” in search volumes for retail brands around first Black Friday and then the week before Christmas as mobile users locate stores for last minute shopping. These shoppers may have missed the deadline for free shipping and are motivated to locate and shop at brick and mortar locations. Here is the data from the holiday season in 2009 & 2010 showing this double peak: 

  • The important thing to keep in mind is that these mobile searches drive in-store purchases: 65% of high end device users report that they have used their device to find a business, and then made a purchase at that business in person according our holiday retail survey of users in the AdMob network

  • Retailers should be sure to plan for the tablet audience when it comes to driving on-device conversions. Ebay has stated that tablet users spend 50% more than PC users, have higher AOV, and have higher or equivalent conversion rates

  • According to our survey, greater than 33% of both smartphone users and tablet users plan to start their shopping before Thanksgiving, so smart marketers will start their campaigns early this year to reach these consumers 


Whether your goals are branding or direct response, Google Mobile Ads can help you with strategies to reach and engage your target audience and drive customers to convert on tablets, on mobile devices, and in your stores. Contact your Google Mobile Ads sales representative to learn more.

Posted by Google Mobile Ads Marketing