(cross-posted on the Inside AdWords Blog and Google Commerce Blog)

On February 13, Google Shopping results in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Japan, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Brazil, Australia, Switzerland and the Czech Republic began to transition to a new commercial experience built on Product Listing Ads. If you’re a merchant in one of these countries and you’re currently promoting your products on Google Shopping for free, you’ll need to create a Product Listing Ad campaign to maintain your traffic and presence. You can learn more about this transition in our recent announcement.

To ensure that your products remain eligible for promotion on Google Shopping, we’ve built an easy way for you to create Product Listing Ads.

You can complete the following three simple steps in Merchant Center:

  1. Set up a basic Product Listing Ad campaign: You’ll be able to create a new AdWords account in Merchant Center if you don’t already have one.
  2. Customize your campaign: Set a daily budget and one single maximum cost-per-click bid. You can modify these settings any time after you create your campaign.
  3. Provide your billing information: You’ll be taken to your AdWords account to provide or confirm your billing information.

For a detailed step-by-step guide to getting started with Product Listing Ads and to apply for a promotional credit (available for a limited time only), please visit this page.

With the recent launch of AdWords enhanced campaigns, it’s now easier than ever to promote your products across devices. This is crucial in a world where people are constantly connected and moving from one device to another. We encourage you to upgrade existing product listing ad campaigns to an enhanced campaign with appropriate bid adjustments.

If you need help getting started with Google Shopping, please visit the Google Shopping website or email us through this form.

Posted by: Sameer Samat, Vice President of Product Management, Google Shopping

For those of you that have not yet finished -- or started -- your Valentine’s Day shopping this year, fear not! You are not alone....In 2012, the top e-Commerce spending day last Valentine’s season was on the holiday itself - February 14th!

Similarly, if your business spikes around Valentine’s Day, be certain that you continue your advertising through Valentine’s Day as many shoppers will fall into the “last-minute” category.

Last year, both online and offline shoppers were prepared to spend more than they had in recent years past. According to the NRF, the average shopper spent $126 on Valentine’s Day. This is an excellent sign of consumer confidence, as we have not witnessed a number this high since 2008. Total sales for V-Day 2013 are estimated at $18.6M, up 5.97% vs. last year.

Many popular Valentine’s Day gift categories performed exceptionally well last season with the majority seeing double digit growth rates in traffic:

  • Flowers: +12%
  • Jewelry: +25%
  • GIfts: +27%
  • Watches: +30%
  • Gift Baskets: +15%
  • Intimate Apparel: +14%

Q4 2012 results are also good indicators of future performance. Specifically in the Jewelry category - we saw +50% increases in diamond and bridal/engagement jewelry last holiday season as well.

Yet, even greater query increases came via mobile devices last season:

  • Jewelry: +152%
  • Flowers: +129%
  • Gifts: +139%
  • Gourmet Foods: +137%
  • Gift Baskets: +185%

Last minute tip #1:
Be certain that you have complete keyword coverage across all product categories and devices, especially non-branded terms. For reference, last season, 76% of the top 200 search terms in flowers and gift baskets categories were non-branded queries. Be present when your customers are searching for you!

If you have a more specific category that you’re analyzing query demand for, check out the Google Trends tool which can provide a view of consumer search traffic on Below you’ll find an example for women’s dresses.

We see steady growth patterns from December into the Valentine’s Day season. The tool will provide you with daily updates for any terms you enter.

Last minute tip #2:
Leverage daily query data to understand how consumer demand aligns with your product assortment and adjust your bids, budgets and ad messaging accordingly.

With just days and hours remaining, consumers are short on time and often looking for quick ways to find and item and purchase it both in-store and on the go. This Valentine’s Day, consumer intention surveys revealed that 53.8% of shoppers estimate they’ll use their tablet devices to shop for gifts.

Last minute tip #3: 
Take advantage of simple solutions that can capture shoppers quickly as they are searching:

  • As consumers use their mobile devices to shop, customize your ad text with mobile call to actions, and similarly provide click-to-call links for easy phone orders. If your website is mobile-optimized or includes an app feature, promote these within your ads or via ad extensions as well
  • Add sitelinks to your mobile and desktop ads to allow the shopper to quickly find the item they were looking for - taking them deeper into the conversion funnel with just one click. You can also highlight promotional offers via sitelinks, as well as your most popular items for the Valentine’s Day season. In tests, ads that ran with sitelinks saw a 30% increase in CTR
  • Visually entice shoppers as they search with Product Listing Ads. Give them a view of the product, price, and brand in just one click

As consumer trends continue to change in our multi-screen world, the most important area to focus on is in creating one unified face for the customer - no matter what device or channel they may be using. Developing an omnichannel brand presence online and offline will be key to this Valentine’s Day and beyond.

Lastly, be sure that you take advantage of all our amazing technology this Valentine’s Day, and call, send an email, a text, or have a video Hangout to tell those that you care about how much they mean to you!

Happy Valentine’s Day to All!

Posted by Terra Hess, Google Retail Team

If holiday 2012 was any sign of the aggressively evolving retail landscape, we can expect 2013 to hold the same promise. Industry experts recently gathered at the National Retail Federation’s Annual Retail Big Show in New York to discuss just this. The four day conference featured +27,600 attendees from across the globe, each bringing a fresh perspective on their industry’s outlook.

Today we’ll take a look at the top emerging themes from the NRF Conference for 2013. Below each, you’ll also see some the ways Google is getting involved to assist you in driving these initiatives in the months to come.

1. Omnichannel: This is certainly the buzzword of 2013! Many research groups (Foresee, Deloitte, and others) featured recent studies focused specifically on the changing behavior of shoppers across channels. Others discussed the importance of a seamless customer experience between online, mobile and in-store channels.

  • Because of this trend, Google recently upgraded its AdWords advertising platform, by rolling out enhanced campaigns. Enhanced campaigns help you reach people with the right ads, based on their context like location, time of day and device type, across all devices without having to set up and manage several separate campaigns

2. The Multiscreen Experience: Not only are mobile devices becoming mainstream, but their usage among retail shoppers continues to grow as well. With this being said, mobile has become a vital piece of retailers’ ecommerce marketing strategies. However, not only was mobile highly touted as a marketing channel, the use of mobile technology in business operations (payments, inventory, shipping) was also emphasized- ultimately the use for employees to become more connected and more efficient.
Google offers a number of mobile tools to assist you with optimizing your own website across devices. This also includes providing you access to a wealth of mobile ad platforms across search, video and apps. Check out for more info!

3. Globalization of Retail: International attendees were a major focus this year, with translators in each breakout session and entire sessions focused on international and globalized retail strategies. The upcoming World Cup and Summer Olympics in Brazil are driving a boom in retail infrastructure in South America. Tesco CIO Mike McNamara spoke at length on how they leveraged consumer technologies to grow Tesco into a global brand without losing grasp on their supply chain.

  • Google’s custom settings provide you the opportunity to geo-target your ads to specific global regions, as well as alter the language of the ad text
  • The Google Trends tool is an excellent resource to leverage. It allows you to visually see how specific queries geographically trend
  • Google also has a platform of business tools to foster team collaboration and internal efficiencies. Read about the Google Enterprise Platform at

4. Engaging with the Always-Connected Consumer: Consumers are more connected than ever before. Many NRF sessions focused on the need and ability to engage with your audience beyond the sale. Coca-Cola's Keynote presentation discussed the importance for brands to create experiences for consumers instead of just transactions. The brands that can do this will thrive in the future. Also emphasized was the use of video and social media platforms in doing so. Personalization has also become a top action item for retailers given the ability to significantly influence shoppers across every touchpoint - online, email, in-store, and mobile.

  • Make it easy for consumers to identify your brand across devices and channels - whether that be online or offline. Your messaging and graphics should be unified within each, allowing the consumer to gain immediate brand recognition no matter where they find your brand
  • Customers want to feel valued and appreciated. Show them that you know and understand their interests and needs by leveraging Static and Dynamic Remarketing Ad formats

5. Product, product, product. Many NRF speakers discussed the importance of differentiating oneself among a growing competitive set, as well as the ever-changing consumer shopping habits. As opposed to the old adage of “location, location, location,” retailers must focus now on product. With mobile and the web, your customer may never make it to the store. ShopRunner's Chief Strategy Officer, Fiona Diaz highlighted this quoting,“The reason you stand out among a sea of competitors is product. In Amazon’s case, their vast product assortment dwarfs what other retailers offer. In the case of Nordstrom, it’s quality over quantity with beautiful, curated product. Whichever you choose, companies need to develop a differentiated product strategy, otherwise, you will struggle.”

  • Google’s Product Listing Ads provide a visual search ad format that allows you to include a product image, company name, title, price and promotional message
  • Shoppers are always looking for promotional deals and values. Google continues to innovate in this area - recently releasing Google Zavers. Zavers assists companies in offer the right coupons to the right shoppers, expand rewards programs, and track redemption in real-time

Although we’re certain the retail ecosystem will continue to evolve and change in 2013, we hope that the five themes listed above will help you get a successful start this year!

Posted by Terra Hess, The Google Retail Team