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Google Announces New Features to Tee Up the Holiday Season

While it’s hard to believe, the height of the holiday shopping season is just around the corner. It’s no secret that most consumers are turning to the internet to find local businesses and research products and services. The shopping weapon of choice is the smartphone, with nearly 60 percent of searches happening on mobile devices. Google recently reported that mobile ads are responsible for driving 160 percent more incremental store visits than ads viewed on desktops and tablets.
In preparation for the upcoming holiday season, Google has recently accounted some new online-to-offline features that will greatly benefit brick-and-mortar retailers. Many of these new features will allow businesses to more effectively capture and convert consumers using their mobile devices to research products and services. To stay in the loop with search engine optimization trends, here are the latest enhancements from Google that you need to be aware of:

Local Inventory Now Available Via Google Assistant
Voice technology is one of the fastest growing trends that marketers are trying to wrap their heads around. According to Google, approximately 20 percent of searches are performed using voice commands, and this is expected to grow to 30 percent by 2020.

In an effort to deliver more relevant search results and provide better value to the user, Google is now providing a listing of local inventory when consumers perform a voice search using Google Assistant on their phones or Google Home devices. Retailers can be included in local inventory listings by uploading their local inventory feeds to the Google Merchant Center.

Display Ads to Include Local Inventory
You may recall that Google added location extensions to display ads earlier this year. Google is now taking this enhancement up a notch up also including a local inventory display ad format. From a consumer’s point of view, seeing that a local retailer has a particular product in stock provides increased incentive to visit the store and make a purchase.

Store Visit Measurement
Google is driven more than 7 billion store visits globally. Historically, Google’s measurement of store visits involved an ad click. However, the latest enhancement to how Google measures store visits is impression-based.

Along with this enhancement, Google is providing marketers with access to a time lag report (time between ad click and store visit), demographic report, and new versus returning customer report. These reports will provide local businesses with powerful data to gauge how ads are driving incremental visits.

Tweaks to Apparel Shopping
Consumers that use their mobile devices to shop for apparel on Google will now be able to filter options based on sizing, pricing, and other criteria. In addition, the listings within Google Shopping are larger and more visible with brand logos.

Showcase Ads are also displayed in Google shopping and have helped to drive an increase in brand searches and have lead to more click-assisted conversions.

Influx of “Shop With Me” Videos on YouTube
Today’s consumers are turning to YouTube to watch how other people shop. The influx of “Shop With Me” videos on YouTube are taking consumers into stores and sharing the shopping experience. This type of video content has grown over 10 times on mobile over the past two years.

In summary, you need to stay in the loop with Google enhancements as the search engine giant has a significant impact on the success of your search engine optimization strategy. More consumers than ever will be turning to the internet for the 2017 holiday season to research products and services before making purchase decisions. Take the time now to ramp up your search engine optimization strategy to capture this traffic and finish the year strong.

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