People today are constantly connected. They’re finding directions to stores, shopping, and even comparing prices instantly from their smartphones. In fact, 8 out of 10 smartphone shoppers use their devices to help make shopping decisions while inside physical retail stores. As a result, retailers now must account for new and complex paths to purchase.

While constant connectivity poses a new challenge in marketing, it also presents great opportunities. For instance, shoppers who use mobile spend 25% more in-store on average. Beyond mobile-assisted store visits, consumers are also increasingly comfortable with m-commerce, whether they’re purchasing directly from their smartphone or starting on a phone and later completing the online purchase on a PC.

Not surprisingly, at our recent Think Shopper summits over the past month, many retailers asked how they could win with mobile. Retail continues to be a major focus for Google, and we’ve invested in solutions to create great shopping experiences for consumers across all screens and improve ROI for retailers. We’re excited about our efforts and wanted to share some of the things we’re working on.

Insights to better understand constantly-connected consumers

Tools to create better mobile experiences
  • Creating a multi-screen website: To help retailers create great shopping experiences across devices, we published best practices on making your site work across multiple devices, especially on smartphones.
  • Search as you type: Retailers can integrate search as you type directly into their sites, tapping into the power of Google instant search results and making it easier for shoppers to find what they’re looking for from their smartphones.
  • Google Wallet Instant Buy: Retailers can improve their m-commerce experience by implementing Instant Buy into their sites, allowing mobile shoppers to check out in as few as two clicks.
  • Google+ Sign-In: Retailers that implement Google+ Sign-In enable their site visitors to easily sign in once with their Google account and switch seamlessly between PC and mobile without having to sign in again. This increases online conversions by removing friction from cross-device logins. Retailers can even present a ‘buy now’ button to consumers within G+ posts.

Media solutions that drive shopping conversions
  • Retail-focused ad formats: Retailers can improve conversions with shopping ad formats like product listing ads.
  • Remarketing: Retailers can also use remarketing to re-engage consumers who have previously expressed interest in a category or brand.
  • Enhanced campaigns: With enhanced campaigns, retailers can effectively engage today’s constantly connected consumers. Location extensions make it easier for mobile searchers to find a retailer’s store, and proximity-based bidding allows retailers to bid strategically for higher-value searches happening closer to their stores.

Mobile attribution models to better measure ROI and inform investment
  • Full Value of Mobile: Nearly 3 of 10 mobile searches directly result in a conversion, but they can often be hard to track. Retailers need to create new mobile-specific attribution models to more accurately track how mobile is driving customers to physical and digital stores, so they can invest appropriately. The Full Value of Mobile site and calculator helps estimate the value mobile brings through a retailer’s mobile site and apps, cross-device usage, calls and in-store visits.

We’re constantly adapting to changes in technology and consumer behavior, and are always looking for the best ways to help retailers connect with customers. Stay tuned for additional developments on this and other ways we’re helping the retail industry win with today’s multi-screen consumers.

Posted by: John McAteer, VP, US Sales

(Cross-posted from the DoubleClick Search Blog)

Ah, the 4th of July: a time for day-long picnics at the park, fishing trips by the lake, night skies filled with fireworks -- and of course, shopping. If you’re a search marketer focused on retail, you know that holidays like the upcoming 4th of July can be an enormous opportunity to capture additional traffic from shoppers looking for the best deals online. So while you’re planning your annual hot dog eating contest, we want to help you start a new tradition this year to win in retail, using integrated solutions from DoubleClick Search. Today, we’re offering up a few retail-ready features to make sure you kick off your holiday search campaigns with a bang:

Manage your product inventory, along with your barbecuing.
There’s no need to step away from the grill: with inventory-aware campaigns, create and update your search ads, keywords, and bids automatically, based on your product inventory. And seamless integration with Google Merchant Center means you can leverage your existing feeds, with no extra work, at no extra cost. Set up rules that let you:
  • Expand your reach by automatically creating new ad groups, ads, and keywords based on product availability. And with deep coverage across your product catalogues, we’ll generate those highly relevant long-tail keywords that can be a chore to manage manually. In fact, we’ve seen that inventory-managed keywords more than doubled return on ad spend for heavy users(1).
  • Cut out the repetition in managing existing campaigns, by tying the behavior of ads and keywords to your inventory levels. For example, you can pause keywords when a related product is out of stock, and reactivate them when it’s back in stock, or update ad copy to align with promotions and style changes. You can also change landing page URLs when the links in the feed change.
  • Express rich customization with ad templates that enable granular product-level messaging at scale. We’ve seen that this rich customization delivers higher conversion rates by attracting only the most qualified clicks.

Plan a PLA picnic: you bring the fruit salad, we’ll bring the richer search ads.
With our fully integrated solution, DoubleClick Search makes creating and managing Google Shopping Product Listing Ads (PLA) campaigns as easy as apple pie. Incorporate product-rich information and measure, optimize, and report on PLA performance using the same familiar workflow you use with the rest of your ads:
  • Integrate with Google Merchant Center to easily view Merchant Center feeds in the DoubleClick Search UI, and to preview exactly what products fall under a product target.
  • Save time and upload product targets in bulk, using our standard upload sheet workflow to quickly create product targets for your highest revenue-generating products.
  • Analyze PLA campaign success with existing reporting features from DoubleClick Search. For example, track budget and key KPIs for PLA campaigns using our budget pacing reports. And with full PLA integration, your reports reflect the same Floodlight or Google Analytics conversion data you use for the rest of your campaigns, to give you a more accurate view of attribution.

Light up your most fiery landing pages through A/B testing.
Which landing page is worthy of a fireworks show? With DoubleClick Search landing page testing, identify and drive traffic to the highest ROI landing pages; then, calculate the exact impact of your landing page optimizations and update your ads immediately to boost results:
  • Easily split your search ads traffic across multiple landing pages to get just the insights you’re looking for. In addition to evenly splitting traffic across your search ads, you can define custom traffic splits (for example, a 90-10 split).
  • Analyze and compare through historical reporting from previously completed tests to help you determine the exact impact of your landing page changes.

Host a cross-channel block party, get search and display talking.
It’s the perfect opportunity to mingle with the neighbors. With display remarketing from search ads -- a cross-channel feature from the DoubleClick Digital Marketing platform -- use paid search clicks from DoubleClick Search to show consumers display ads across major ad exchanges via DoubleClick Bid Manager, or across the Google Display Network, all with an easy and tagless workflow. With this feature, you can:
  • Quickly take advantage of new opportunities before they're gone, with a turn-key setup on one integrated platform. Set up your remarketing lists in 4 easy steps, and begin remarketing to users to quickly deliver the right message to the right consumer, soon after they’ve left your site. And with instant conversions, immediately report on the impact of your remarketing efforts, and fine-tune your approach to improve performance.
  • Convert browsers to buyers. Re-engage consumers who visited your website, but left without making a purchase. For example, you can reach consumers who placed a pair of sparklers in their shopping cart, but did not complete the checkout process.
  • Increase loyalty or reinforce brand messages. Re-engage consumers by introducing new product categories from the same brand. For example, show a display ad for Brand X lawn chair to someone who previously purchased Brand X outdoor umbrella after clicking on the brand’s search ads.
  • Up-sell to converted audiences. For example, after a consumer purchases tickets to an amusement park in Anaheim, CA, show him/her display ads for hotel deals in Anaheim.

Don’t miss a beat this year. With solutions from DoubleClick Search, connect to in-market audiences with the right messages, and report on it all in real-time to capture even more seasonal opportunities. Now that’s certainly something to celebrate!

1. Google internal data, 2013

(Cross-posted on the Inside AdWords Blog)

Along with a user's query, context signals like location, time of day, and device have become increasingly important in showing people the right ads with their search results. With enhanced campaigns, it's now easier to reach people in the moments that matter across all screens, with ads that are more relevant to a user's intent and context. Now we're incorporating another powerful capability to tailor your search campaigns for different audiences – remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA). With this feature, you can modify your search ads, bids, and keywords based on your visitors' past activity on your website. As we transition out of the beta test of RLSA, announced in July 2012, we'll be making the feature available to all advertisers using enhanced campaigns over the next few days.

Combining intent, context, and audience for better search ads 
Search ads work great because they're relevant to the user's intent and context. And users who have recently visited your website often find your ads to be even more relevant. RLSA brings intent, context, and audience together to let you tailor your search campaign when past site visitors are searching on Google for your brand, products, and services. Here are some ways to improve your campaign performance using RLSA.
  1. Increase ad visibility for high value customers by adjusting your bids. For example, you could increase your bids by 20% for visitors who have previously researched high-end cameras while on your site when they subsequently search for ‘cameras’ on Google. And you could increase your bids by 40% for past site visitors who have previously purchased high-end equipment from your site. It's easy to set up RLSA bid adjustments and they combine with other enhanced campaigns bid adjustments for location, device, and time.

  2. Expand your reach and results with broader keywords. For example, bidding on broad keywords such as ‘gifts’ or ‘presents’ during a holiday season might not convert well enough to meet your ROI goals. But if you use RLSA to run those keywords just for repeat customers, they may convert better and allow you to grow your total sales with a profitable ROI. 
Advertiser success with RLSA
Advertisers in the beta have seen strong results with RLSA. Here are some examples:
  • Tirendo, a European online tire retailer, saw a 161% conversion rate increase with RLSA, leading to a 22% overall sales increase. And the incremental conversions were efficient, with a 43% lower average cost per order than previous campaigns. Read more.
  • WorldStores, a leading UK home furnishings and garden store, increased total orders 8% by using RLSA to increase bids for past site visitors. Conversion rates for this segment were 130% higher and average cost per conversion was 43% lower, even with the higher bids.
Tags and list management
RLSA shares the same site-wide Google Remarketing Tag and list management tools as remarketing on the Google Display Network (GDN). So you can start using RLSA immediately if your website is already tagged for remarketing on the GDN.

Transparency and control for users
We believe users should have transparency and be in control their ad experience. That's why we provide adjustable Ads Settings and inform users when an ad has been influenced by a past visit to a particular advertiser's website.

Learn more
For help getting started with RLSA, check out this article in the Help Center. You can also join us at tomorrow's Learn with Google Webinar: Reaching the Right Audience with Remarketing on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 1pm ET.

Posted by Rahul Lahiri, AdWords Product Manager

As we continue to expand our advertising solutions, our goal is to provide a great user experience for both advertisers and consumers. We know that advertisers are always looking for new ways to reach their customers with compelling ads that drive engagement and conversions. Today, we are excited to announce the launch of dynamic remarketing to all clients with a Google Merchant Center account. We are also currently piloting this new feature in the travel and education sectors and plan to expand availability to more sectors later this year.

Beautiful, tailored ads to reconnect with customers
Dynamic remarketing lets you automatically create beautiful, customized ads that connect with shoppers across the web, by reminding them of items they've seen on your site. You can build ads quickly with dozens of templates to choose from that you can customize to reflect the design elements of your brand. We have also made it easy to get started by automatically creating dynamic text and display ads for you.

Sample dynamic ads (see more here):

Advertisers have seen great results compared to their traditional remarketing campaigns:
  • Sierra Trading Post, a U.S. retailer of outdoor gear and clothing, saw a 2x higher clickthrough rate and a 5x higher conversion rate
  • As Europe’s premiere “heavy metal online shop,” EMP Merchandising grew conversion rates by 230% and decreased their cost of sale by 30%.
You can read more about other client successes on Think Insights.

Optimizing dynamic ads to drive performance
Dynamic remarketing delivers tailored ads across the web that combine the layouts, products, messages and offers that your customers are most likely interested in, based on what they viewed on your website. You can benefit from our:
  • Auto-optimized layouts which predicts the best performing layout for each impression
  • Product recommendation engine which optimizes the combination of related and popular products that show in your ads [Learn more]
  • Real-time bidding algorithm which helps boost performance by calculating the optimal bid for each impression
For help on getting started reference this Help Center article.

Making it easy for advertisers
Managing campaigns more efficiently is just one of the many benefits of remarketing with Google. Last year, we introduced a site-wide remarketing tag and remarketing with Google Analytics that both made it easy to get started with your campaigns. You can also use the tag to discover new customers similar to your site visitors with Similar Audiences, which has been recently made available to all clients in AdWords.

Remarketing drives great ROI for advertisers, it can also bring publishers significant revenue lift, as studies have shown, and compelling ads for consumers. We’ve also given consumers options to exercise control over their ad experience with features like the Ads Settings and Mute this Ad.

To learn more about what remarketing with Google can do for your business, register for our upcoming Learn with Google Webinar: Reaching the Right Audience with Remarketing on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 1pm ET.

Posted by Aitan Weinberg, Group Product Manager

Join us Wednesday at 10PT/ 1ET for a Learn with Google webinar "Growing your Business and Engaging your Audience with Google+". In this webinar, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide for getting started on Google+. Topics will include new features, business success stories and best practices. Click here to register.

We’ve recently received numerous requests for a one-stop shop (pun intended!) for all Retail Ads and Google Shopping related content. In response, we’ve created this blog. It will replace the Retail Blog and will include some content formerly found on the Google Commerce Blog and Inside AdWords.

Our hope is that the Google Shopping Blog will make it easier for you to find hot industry insights, and to read the latest retail and shopping related news from Google.

Please remember to subscribe by clicking here for easy access to the latest Google Retail and Shopping news, and industry trends.

Happy shopping! Posted by Keri Overman, Google Retail Team