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Last year, we introduced product ratings on Product Listing Ads in the US to help consumers make better purchase decisions when shopping online. Since the initial launch, we’ve been working to bring product ratings to more countries, and this week we launched in the UK, France and Germany.

Product ratings appear in the form of stars and review counts on Product Listing Ads across google.com, google.com/shopping and their equivalents in the UK, France and Germany. This 5-star rating system represents aggregated review data for the product, compiled from multiple sources including merchants, third-party aggregators, editorial sites and users.
Product ratings for juicers, as indicated by stars and total review counts
Product ratings help consumers make better purchase decisions before they click, driving more qualified traffic to participating merchants. Since the US launch in July 2014, we’ve seen an average click-through rate increase of five percent on Product Listing Ads with product ratings.

Product ratings also help merchants differentiate their Product Listing Ads. Dave Abbott, Vice President of Online Marketing for The Home Depot, says, “customers look for product validation through reviews and ratings. Providing this info is valuable to our customers and provides The Home Depot with a competitive advantage on Google.”

How to enable product ratings on your Product Listing Ads

Product ratings are available to merchants targeting their Product Listing Ads to the US, UK, France or Germany. Merchants must share all of their product review content with Google, either directly or through an approved third-party aggregator, in order to show product ratings.

If you would like to enable product ratings on your Product Listing Ads, please start the process of submitting your review content to us by completing our product ratings form. Our team will then reach out to you with details on next steps.

Product ratings are one of several extensions we may show with Product Listing Ads, so please note that just because a product has reviews does not mean that we’ll always show ratings. We’re also working to expand product ratings to more countries this year, so please stay tuned.

Posted by Archana Kannan, Product Manager, Google Shopping

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The customer is always right, at least that’s what they say.

If you believe in that, then stores must acknowledge the reality that shoppers really, really like their smartphones. They carry and shop with them wherever they go—to the bathroom, to competitor stores, everywhere. What’s a retailer to do?

You have three options: Do nothing, resist change, or embrace it. Macy’s Inc, the world’s largest fashion retailer, chose the latter. Since Mar. 2010, their stock is up 240%. How did they do it?

Their success is due in part to fusing their “multi-channel” approach into a singularly focused omni-channel one. “We used to have two separate, siloed budgets,” explains Serena Potter, group vice president of digital media strategy at Macy’s. “Now we really only have one marketing budget. We look at what’s the best way to spend that; whether it’s digital or offline, and focus on how they work together to deliver the most sales and the best customer experience.”

In other words, Macy’s Inc and others like them no longer compete with their online or offline selves. They don’t fear showrooming, get anxious when a smartphone shopper consults her phone in the aisle, or fret when a consumer jumps from one channel to another mid-sale. They view these realities as new opportunities; new moments to interact with consumers and increase loyalty.

There’s upside in doing so. Smartphone or omni-channel shoppers have 30% higher lifetime value than single-channel shoppers, according to a recent study from market researcher IDC.1 How can retailers understand and convert these higher value shoppers?

The answer: Omni-measurement. In order to realize success, retailers must increase their understanding of omni-shopper behavior. Omni-measurement not only does this, but it enables mouth-watering marketing programs, including predictive campaigns, site-to-store funnelling (and vice versa), enhanced purchase frequency, and automated messaging and product recommendations.

Leading retailers such as Macy’s, Office Depot, PetSmart, Sprint and others are increasingly turning to Google measurement tools such as Adometry, DoubleClick, and AdWords Store Visits, and Store Transactions for a complete view of consumer behavior across all paths, channels, and beyond just clicks.

For example, Sprint discovered that paid search ads drove five in-store sales for each online sale.2 Knowing that, the company increased their focus and deepened their understanding of the role smartphones play in the purchasing journey. With AdWords Store Visits enabled, Sprint achieved a 31% higher visit rate3 from mobile search ad clicks versus desktop search ad clicks. This knowledge was instrumental in helping the carrier create a more seamless online to in-store experience recently.

“Over the last several years, we’ve really thought about how that experience when a consumer gets into the store can continue to build on that bridge we’ve made in digital,” says Evan Conway, Sprint’s vice president of digital. “We’ve looked at the transactions and conversations that our sales associates were already having with the consumer and then we tried to build the tools, technology, and content to make the in-store experience better.”

PetSmart, too, was better able to omni-measure foot traffic using Store Visits reporting in AdWords. For them, the data revealed that 10–18% of all search ad clicks resulted in an in-store visit within 30 days.4

"As a national retailer building a sophisticated local marketing strategy, PetSmart has seen tremendous value in Store Visits data. This data has helped solve an incomplete puzzle,” says Phil Bowman, PetSmart's executive vice president. “Historically, we’ve relied on numerous approximations to tell us how our search ads were driving store visits, but this data has validated our estimates. It helps us understand the full picture of where our customers are going after clicking a search ad."

When they’re not helping retailers understand how online ads impact in-store behavior, Google tools help merchandisers promote nearby inventory online, another crucial demand of omni-shoppers. In other words, retailers can now “think local” in ways that have never been done before.

For instance, Office Depot achieved a 3X return on digital marketing spend after switching to Local Inventory Ads.5 "Now, we are able to reach customers when they search for a product," says Christine Buscarino, vice president of ecommerce marketing for Office Depot, Inc. “Local inventory ads provide us with a unique opportunity to offer products that customers are searching for and assure them there is inventory in a nearby store."
Of course, these are just a few examples of leading retailers embracing the omni-channel movement to meet the expectations of today’s consumer. And they’re doing it with the help of Google ad formats and measurement tools.

Learn more about how leading retailers are connecting with today’s connected consumer here.

Posted by Emily Eberhard Pereira, Head of Shopping Solutions Marketing.

1IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Retail 2015 Predictions. November 2014
2Sprint Internal Data
3AdWords Store Visits Data
4AdWords Store Visits Data
5AdWords Store Visits Data
6IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Retail 2015 Predictions. November 2014

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When it comes to brick and mortar stores, misinformation runs rampant.

For instance, search results only send consumers to e-commerce sites, retailers lose the shopper who checks a phone in store, and buyers only visit stores to transact or showroom. Those are three common myths debunked in Digital’s Impact on In-Store Shopping1, new research conducted by Ipsos MediaCT and Sterling Brands for Google, based upon purchasing behaviors of more than 6,000 smartphone shoppers.

Although 95% of all retail transactions still occur in-store2, smartphones have quickly become consumer’s favorite and most trusted “shopping assistant.” These handy devices reduce buyers’ remorse, raise consumer expectations for getting more accurate and faster information from store associates, and present new challenges for hungry retailers.

For instance:
  • 68% of shoppers surveyed said they were happier with store purchases when they did research online before buying, according to those surveyed
  • 71% expect clerks to know or find product information more quickly now, due to smartphones
  • 46% of smartphone shoppers browse the retailer’s own site or app in-store

But when paired with a consistent shopping experience — specifically mobile optimized, locally relevant, and personalized search results — these same “shopping assistants” can become as powerful to sellers as they are to buyers, the research found.

In fact, they’ve helped double the value of in store visit,3 increase customer satisfaction (69% of consumers are more satisfied with purchases when they get to touch or feel a product in-store), and they’ve given retailers more opportunities to build brand loyalty (51% said they used digital devices to look for additional information after buying).

For instance, Sears Hometown & Outlet Stores saw a 16% higher clickthrough rate and 122% increase in visits to its stores after adopting Local Inventory Ads, which lets retailers display nearby store inventory to online shoppers.4 “Local inventory ads fit perfectly into our strategy of using digital tools to drive store traffic,” says David Buckley, chief marketing officer at Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores. “If people are searching for a product on their phones, there is nothing more targeted than serving that item with a picture, description, and price while letting the customers know exactly how far they are located from the product.”

The technology also helps Sears extend the reach of its advertising budget, driving $8 of in store sales for each dollar invested online.5 “When we compared our most recent performance of local inventory ads to offline media typically used to drive store sales, such as a recent broadcast television campaign,” Buckley explains, “local inventory ads returned in-store sales at more than 5X the rate of tv advertising for each dollar spent.6
Similarly, Staples saw their store visit and ad click thru rates increase by 33% and 29% respectively, after indicating nearby stock in their search listings.

“Local Inventory Ads are another way Staples helps customers shop whenever and however they want through our omnichannel,” said Ellen Comley, vice president, integrated media, Staples, Inc. “We know that more and more customers are doing research online before buying, and local inventory ads make it easier for us to reach small businesses and ensure we’re providing the most relevant offers.”

Of course, those are just a few examples. In addition to identifying other ways smartphones are changing modern shopping, Digital’s Impact on In-Store Shopping outlines several steps retailers can take to optimize their online presence for smartphones:

5 things brick and mortar stores should do now
  1. Use Local Inventory Ads to promote nearby stock to interested buyers, including availability of complementary and recommended products
  2. Be sure to list store locations, hours, and phone numbers in online search ads
  3. Optimize online presence for mobile viewing and buying, including search results, website, app, and mobile ads to engage consumers while in store
  4. Localize and integrate custom offers and product recommendations to smartphone shoppers that disclose their location
  5. Take an omni-channel approach to marketing and measurement by combining your online and physical efforts into one (see also: Macy’s Inc)
There’s no denying that smartphone shoppers are looking at competing offers while in store, the research concludes. But a greater percentage of shoppers look to search engine results and a retailer’s own sites and apps first. To take advantage, retailers must acknowledge, react to, and consolidate their multi-channel approach into a “mobile first” omni-channel one.

Learn more about how top retailers are using digital to connect people with their stores here.

Posted by Emily Eberhard Pereira, Head of Shopping Solutions Marketing

1Google/Ipsos MediaCT/Sterling Brands, Digital Impact on In-Store Shopping, October 2014
2eMarketer: Total US Retail Sales Top $4.5 Trillion in 2013, Outpace GDP Growth, April 2014
3Shoppertrak 2014 foot traffic and Mastercard SpendPulse transaction Data  2010 thru 2014
4AdWords Store Visits Data. 2015
5Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Data. 2015
6Sear’s Hometown and Outlet Stores Data. 2015

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More useful 

There are millions of searches for hotels everyday on Google — that’s millions of potential hotel bookings. We want to help hotels reach and engage travelers, make it easier for travelers to search for hotels online, and visually and textually communicate why a particular hotel is the right fit for them. We’ve been evolving the way hotels appear in search results on Google to include more structured, relevant and dynamic information — like rates, availability, locations, user reviews, editorial descriptions, Google Street View, and high resolution photos.
More effective 

As part of this evolution, we’ve created Hotel Ads — an advertising format designed specifically for hotel-related searches. Hotel Ads show current prices for hotels from a variety of partners and help travelers narrow down their options. When a traveler is ready, they can select “Book” and complete their reservation with the partner.
Because Hotel Ads appear when travelers are already engaged and ready to book, hotel partners have seen great results. Hilton Worldwide started using Hotel Ads in 2011 and has now implemented Hotel Ads with all of its 4,200 hotels.

“Compared to other search formats, Google Hotel Ads has delivered a 45% higher conversion rate. It reaches a massive audience and the distribution cost has been good,” said Dustin Bomar, vice president, Digital Acquisition, Hilton Worldwide.

Check out the video below or read the case study on Think with Google to learn more about Hilton’s success with Hotel Ads.

Premier Inn, the UK’s largest hotel chain, also used Hotel Ads to attract new customers who haven’t stayed with them in the past. "About 30% of the UK population has stayed in a Premier Inn. Hotel Ads is a way that we can reach the remaining 70%, as well as the huge number of inbound international travelers who know less about our brand," said Aurelia Noel, Head of New Channel Development, Premier Inn.

Find out how Premier Inn captured 40% more bookings from new customers at a 60% lower cost per acquisition with Hotel Ads here.

To get started on Hotel Ads, contact one of Google’s authorized partners listed here: google.com/ads/hotels.

More engaging

We’re also building products for hoteliers to help showcase properties and engage with travelers visually. Google My Business helps ensure that hotels’ information and photos reach travelers when they’re searching on Google and Google Maps. Our improved photo tools let hotels easily change the image that appears when travelers are searching. It’s also now possible to add photos specifically for food and beverage, individual guest rooms and common areas.

In addition to uploading photos, Google now offers the ability to add premium-quality, 360° interactive tours of a hotel’s interior with Google Maps Business View, powered by Street View technology. These virtual tours show up on Search and Maps and let travelers experience the hotel — all before they book their stay.
We’re excited to improve the hotel search experience for both travelers and hotels through content and photo-rich results, Hotel Ads, Google My Business and Business View. Throughout 2015, we’ll have more features that will help connect hoteliers with travelers when they’re dreaming about a trip and once they’re on their way.

Posted by Andrew Silverman, Group Product Manager, Google Hotel Ads

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Whether it’s buying the right car insurance or finding the best credit card, people want an easy way to understand and compare financial products online. In fact, when it comes to buying car insurance, 80% of drivers think they’d find a better policy if they could compare more than two providers.* That’s why today we’re introducing Google Compare for car insurance in California, with more states to follow. This represents the newest addition to a suite of Google Compare products designed to help people make confident, more informed financial decisions.
Google Compare for car insurance provides a seamless, intuitive experience for connecting with your customers online. Whether you’re a national insurance provider or one local to California, people searching for car insurance on their phone or computer can find you along with an apples-to-apples comparison of other providers -- all in as little as 5 minutes. You can highlight what makes your business unique, whether that’s an “A” rating in customer service or better discounts for safe drivers. And when users adjust their deductible or add additional cars to their quote, you can show updated pricing that matches their needs. They can then buy their policy online or over the phone through one of your agents.

Here’s what some of our partners are saying:

“We’re always looking for opportunities to use new technology to enhance the customer experience. Partnering with Google Compare allows us to bring our unique group pricing and benefits to a wider range of customers, while creating an easier shopping experience.” - Kishore Ponnavolu, Executive Vice President at MetLife Auto & Home ®


“The lifeblood of Mercury’s business has and always will be our partnership with independent agents. We also know many shoppers want to buy anytime, anywhere, and Google Compare gives them a fast, easy way to do so. Partnering with Google Compare provides us with a tremendous opportunity to connect with a segment of the market that would have been out of reach.” - Erik Thompson, Advertising Director at Mercury


As Google Compare for car insurance rolls out to more states, we’ll also be introducing ratings and reviews, as well as local agent support for providers with agent networks. Participation in Google Compare is based on a flexible cost-per-acquisition (CPA) model, but payment isn’t a factor in ranking or eligibility.

You can learn more about joining Google Compare here.

Posted by Jerry Dischler, Vice President of Product Management, AdWords

*Google internal study

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Staying on top of your campaigns just got easier

Today, we’re introducing the AdWords app, an easy way to view and manage your ads’ performance when you’re on the go.  This new Android app is available globally for existing AdWords customers.

Businesses, large and small, are increasingly using smartphones to manage everything from customer support to product orders to marketing. Now, you can use your smartphone to keep your AdWords campaigns running smoothly—no matter where your business takes you.

As a companion to your desktop account, this app lets you:
  • View campaign stats
  • Update bids and budgets
  • Get real-time alerts and notifications
  • Act on suggestions to improve your campaigns
  • Call a Google expert


Download the AdWords app for Android

Tommy Sands, Senior Paid Search Manager from Philly Marketing Labs, tells us, “Having the ability to quickly review and take action in my AdWords accounts when I only have my mobile device enables me to be better and more efficient at managing my campaigns. It's nice to know that I'm only a few taps away from the information I need, no matter where I am.”

Review (and make changes) on the go

Whenever you open the app, you’ll see an overview of your clicks, costs, and conversions. For deeper insights, you can view metrics by ad group, day of week and device.

Changes in campaign performance can happen at any time—now you can address them quickly, even when you’re away from your desk. For example, if you see your best performing campaign is maxing out on budget, you can make adjustments so you don’t lose out on potential sales. You can even pause or enable a campaign for a time-sensitive promotion.

You’ll also receive customized suggestions that you can act on immediately. For example, if there’s an opportunity to get more impressions by adjusting your bids, we’ll let you know so you can make the change right from the app.
Get the app

The AdWords app is now available for devices that use Android 4.0 or later. To get started, download it today from the Google Play Store. And for more information, visit our Help Center. We look forward to hearing your feedback as you bring AdWords with you on your business adventures.

Posted by Geoff Menegay, Product Manager, AdWords

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Turn window shoppers into buyers. From the moment a person’s left your website or abandoned your shopping cart, programmatic remarketing works to re-engage those potential customers with tailored messages at the right moments and in the right context. Simply put, past visitors can be your most qualified prospects, making remarketing an essential tactic in your marketing efforts.

We’ve put together a new best practices guide, “Remarketing Right on Cue,” to help you win those crucial moments when shoppers are most likely to purchase. Dive into the world of programmatic remarketing on Google Display and learn how to get the most out of your remarketing efforts, including:

  • How to properly set up site-wide tags
  • Which types of remarketing lists and ad formats are most effective
  • How automated bidding tools can yield productivity gains in remarketing
  • How to acquire new customers that exhibit similar behaviors to your current ones

Download the full version and the one-page checklist to view our complete coverage of programmatic remarketing on Google Display.

Check out these and other Google Best Practices over at g.co/GoogleBP.

Posted by Matt Lawson, Director, Performance Ads Marketing

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Online advertising can be about more than just your website, especially with on-the-go consumers. For many advertisers, calls are the most important channel to use when connecting with customers.

If you’re looking to take full advantage of our recently introduced call-only campaigns or to drive calls alongside clicks, there are certain things that you should be thinking about.

Our new Best Practices guide, Good Call: A Guide to Driving Calls with AdWords, covers key areas that any call-hungry business should consider.

  • How to decide if you want to drive clicks & calls or calls only
  • What are the best ways to measure all of the calls you drive
  • How you can update your bidding and messaging to increase the number of calls you receive
  • What changes you can make to increase your website’s value to callers

Stop staring longingly at your phone, wishing it would ring.  Download our full guide or the one-page checklist now.  Your phone will thank you.

Posted by Matt Lawson, Director, Performance Ads Marketing

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People are living their lives online and engaging with your business in new ways.  With smartphones in hand, consumers are increasingly looking for products or services while on the go and then placing a call right away. In fact, 70% of mobile searchers call a business directly from search results.*

Today we’re introducing call-only campaigns, a new and easy way for businesses to reach potential customers by prominently showing your phone number, business description and call button -- right when people are searching.


Uniquely built for businesses that value phone calls more than website clicks

Call-only campaigns are specially designed to only show on mobile devices that can make phone calls. This means every click you pay for can be a phone call to your business.

Bid just for phone calls

Since every click goes towards a phone call, you can design a bidding strategy based specifically on your CPA or ROAS goal for calls. This helps you maximize the value of every call to your business.

“Our customers are increasingly calling us on their mobile devices to get an insurance quote. The great part about call-only ads is that they give us the ability to bid based on the value of a call so we can meet the specific ROI goals that we have set up for sales that come through the phone."

Jason Johnson
Marketing Director, Clearlink Insurance

Customize ads focused on a single call to action - phone calls

Tailor your ads for phone calls with creatives like “speak to a specialist today" or “call to make an appointment" to let people know they can easily reach your business without needing to visit your site.

For BizLab, a national telecommunications retailer, most conversions happen offline over the phone.  "The new call-only ads have improved lead volume and conversion rates by targeting mobile devices with ads, like “call now” that are simply focused on driving calls.”


Catherine Wilson
Senior PPC Analyst, BizLab

Another major internet provider uses call-only campaigns to connect customers quickly and easily with their sales team. “With a phone call as the only call to action, call-only ads improve the mobile shopping experience by eliminating the intermediary step of visiting our website. They provide an easy way for consumers to get the product they want by calling into our sales center directly. Better customer experience coupled with an increase in calls & sales provides a win-win for both consumers and advertisers.”

Josh Leibner
Director of Paid Search at Red Ventures, marketing partner for large businesses

Learn more

If you’re currently using the call extensions setting to create call-only ads, you can find details on how to upgrade to call-only campaigns in the AdWords Help Center.

Posted by Amit Agarwal, Product Manager, AdWords

*Google/Ipsos, The Role of Click to Call in the Path to Purchase, September, 2013.

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Did you know that over 200 products and feature updates launched in AdWords last year? With so many updates, many advertisers have shared that it can be hard to keep track of all the changes. On top of that, advertisers are looking for guidance about how to use AdWords so that they can better manage their accounts. We're listening.

Starting today, you will find two new resources in the Learn tab of the Help Center that we hope will keep you on top of all the new AdWords innovations and help you understand how they work. The first is a chronological list of product updates. This “New AdWords Features” page shows you what’s happening in AdWords all in a single place: from reporting improvements to new ad format launches. For example, if you visit the page today you’ll see that eligible Flash ads can now be automatically converted to HTML5 on the Google Display Network. You'll also see that we recently rolled out a service release for AdWords Editor, which included some improvements to reporting.
Each listing offers a short description of the change with links to pages with more details. In many cases, these links will take you to a page with product how-to videos or customer stories.

The second resource that we’ve added to the Learn tab in the Help Center is all about making our advertisers better at AdWords: the Google Best Practices series.

This series offers actionable advice and straightforward tips to help you get the most out of AdWords. The guidance we offer spans many topics, from writing effective search ads to successfully implementing bid automation. This series, Google's official advice on AdWords, can help form the foundation of your paid search strategies.
We hope these new resources make it easier to stay up to date with AdWords as a “one-stop shop” for discovering new innovations and helpful best practices. Bookmark them now!

Posted by Matt Lawson, Director, Performance Ads Marketing