The Digital Marketing Transformation Led By Google and Amazon
The year 2019 saw new innovative strategies enter the digital marketplace. The two Big Tech giants – Google and Amazon – blew the competition away at the annual Google Marketing Live with highly anticipated ads innovations. The companies might be soon raking in cash from their core marketing channel, Google Shopping.
Which factors trigger the companies’ need for change, and how should businesses respond to it? In this article, you will find out how the leading companies allocate their digital ad spend dollars and what marketing strategies they use to stay ahead of the competition.
During the years of its existence, the company has proven to be an ultimate search engine, with various products and services designed to help the user grow the business, stay organized, work, play etc. But in 2019, Google made rapid strides in its shopping ads. Discovery Ads and Gallery Ads were the focal points of the nine biggest marketing announcements. Google has brought in a new approach to advertising on Google Discover. Discovery Ads now provide highly noticeable ad formats which allow brands to deliver products or services that do not necessarily meet the choice of the product, but rather intend to match consumer behavior.
Discovery ads integrate with other Google properties and can appear automatically on Youtube feeds, Gmail’s Promotions and Social tabs, Gmail inbox, and Google Images. They also optimize machine learning to develop ads and then use the insights to adapt to their next advertising.
What is more, Discovery ads take into consideration consumer’s actions to allocate relevant ads in the moments when a consumer is most likely to discover something new. And they’ve enjoyed near-instantaneous success. For example, an online fashion retailer TechStyle has experienced a 25% lower cost-per-lead as compared to other social and search channels.
Even though Discovery ads innovations show an effective audience targeting, that’s no excuse to dump Showcase. Showcase Shopping remains an important advertising tool that allows you to arrange a particular selection of products in accordance with the search query. To put it simply, retailers create a lay-out of product-corresponding images. When customers search for your business category and click on the ad, it directs them to the Google-hosted page with the service\product. This creates brand awareness, as consumers get to know the retailer. Accordingly, Showcase ads drive consumer visits and increase the number of purchases; nearly 30% of retailers’ shopping programs have embraced the tool and succeeded.
There is still room for improvement before Google Shopping сan be seen as the ultimate eCommerce platform. Nevertheless, Google will continue to expand its services, and elevate the shopping experience to new heights.
Gallery Ads are image-based ads that usually show up at the top of Google search results. They are intended to create better awareness of businesses, by combining search intent with product-relevant images. Therefore, retailers get the opportunity to manifest their brand visually. The scrolling images have a tagline and can be expanded; when users click the CTA bottom (at the end of the gallery), it redirects them to the advertiser’s page where they can find more information on the product.
At present, Google Gallery ads can be seen in the first position in Google search results, as well as mobile devices. In comparison to search ads, where users can see multiple commercials at a time, Gallery Ads displays only one particular ad. As for commercial gain, the image creative acts as a triggering method for clicks, since users tend to engage with visual advertising more and recall details about the animated ads than the static ads.
Gallery ads contain:
- Static headline
- Up to 8 images
- Display URL
Generally, advertisers with the new ads design have seen a 25% increase in user interactions. Gallery Ads have fully rolled out at the end of the 2019 year, but already proved their flexibility to advertisers.
Google vs. Amazon
Even with expanded features, Google’s eCommerce capability is inferior to the Amazon platform. Amazon is a cloud-based platform that has established itself as an ultimate eCommerce juggernaut. Today, the terms “online shopping” and “Amazon” represent the same thing. Although Google is regarded as the most powerful Internet gatekeeper, with control of 63% of the world’s Internet searches, and YouTube ownership, it is only relatively recently that the company has introduced eCommerce as part of their services.
In order to compete, Google has to either concentrate on enabling multimedia-keys for both Discovery ad “formats” and Marketing Funnel.
We have learned that creating a centralized universal store is not enough for Google to elevate the service to a qualitatively new level. The company has taken into consideration a number of factors in order to compete with Amazon. While Delivery Ads acts as a data-driven tool for introducing users to relevant products, shoppable content placements on Images and YouTube are used to convert sales prospects to customers. Furthermore, with the advancement of Showcase Shopping and Discovery Ads, advertisers can now create powerful sales funnels and generate leads.
Before setting up Google Shopping service, developers have conducted a customers’ behavior analysis to best satisfy their needs. The results have shown that users do scroll through Google Discover to find supporting content; they do watch YouTube videos to learn reviews on the product or service they are interested in or to make a considerable purchase decision. Since brand loyalty, as well as its credibility, is defined by overall appraisal (genuine reviews from real customers), implementing shopping feeds (Image Creative, In-depth reviews, etc.) and automate channel integrations has helped Google Shopping to enter the eCommerce market and outlast the competition.
In contrast, Amazon’s main advantages include a massive customer base and highly effective intent marketing. Today, the company remains the true giant of Internet Shopping. For the past years, Amazon’s main source of income has been a great number of loyal shoppers. However, shoppers lack information about any particular retailer. The reason for that lies in the business strategy the advertisers were originally implementing when first entering the platform. Their main focus fell on stable revenue performance and not much more. Nonetheless, after the recent Google Live Event, Amazon has been changing its retail strategy through the introduction of online’s retailer history. This means that customers will be able to learn about brands they support, their main business concepts, read reviews etc.
One of Amazon’s advancements is Sponsored Brands. Namely, they started by renaming the product from Headline Search and implementing format features. These features are noticeable for two reasons. First, they display retailers’ logos, product, and tagline; this means that Sponsored Brands focus on brand understanding brand, its values and applying these values to everything you do. Second, the newly introduced ad elements redirect users to the retailer’s page, which is one of the current methods the brands can introduce themselves on Amazon.
In addition, Amazon revealed new-to-brand insights for advertisers, allowing them to optimize advertising campaigns and identify strategies that are most effective at customers-retention practices. Although new-to-brand metrics have limitations, this important advent has boosted Amazon’s ability to track add-attributed purchases made for the first time of the last 12 months. Therefore, advertisers can constantly monitor overall marketing performance and better understand the buyer’s behavior.
Amazon also released Posts, a new Amazon image carousel that provides feed similar to that of Facebook’s or Instagram. The Amazon Related Post feature allows shoppers to discover what’s new on the market, learn about their preferable brands, read related posts, and more.
Data from Episerver reveals that users tend to purchase on Amazon or Google when they have made the decision about product’s purchase; however, they are much more likely to visit Google, when they’re not definite about the purchase or simply want to investigate a specific product’s category without any idea in mind. Naturally, Google has used up its chances for broadening Product Listing Ads, so marketing funnel strategies that concentrate on leads generation and targeting consumers Google uses are by far the best-known approach.
As has been mentioned before, Amazon falls behind Google in ad profits but has opportunities to grow beyond its current value and expand its business. There are still many well-settled retailers that continue to be sufficient holding from selling on Amazon, though. In order to reach those retailers, especially those that see their brand story and identity as part of their value proposition, Amazon needed to offer an elevated brand and shopping experience, and these changes are doing just that.
Conclusion: How should advertisers treat these platforms in 2020?
To sum up, in order to succeed in 2020, advertisers should consider the above-mentioned advancements to maximize their marketing approach, taking into consideration old notions about the platform’s concepts, as well as new advertising techniques that are keyword parameters, content placement, intent marketing, etc.
For some of Google’s upper-funnel formats, advertisers should consider shifting away from revenue-focused objectives of Google search schemes, and switch their attention toward customer engagement. Those who do not contribute to Amazon much should investigate Stores, Enhanced Brand Content, and Posts features to apprehend the services of a company through a closer look at the brand value, their pricing strategy. Consumers first should feel and experience the company before clicking on the “buy” button. As for Amazon’s retailers, the best way is to re-examine their advertising campaigns and adapt them to new-to-brand metrics. In that way, businesses will be able to analyze their weak areas, improve the product design representation and therefore, attract the attention of new customers, expand the distribution area and finally increase the volume of sales. With the arrival of 2020, ad extensions like data-driven marketing e.g., Display campaigns and Gallery Ads can become the big trends for advertisers to follow. But still, in order to succeed in the shopping journey as advertisers, it’s worth the time investment to generate commercial strategies that answer both latest innovations and at the same time, supplement low-funnel magic with price-led strategies and high channel potential.