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The “Window Display Effect” of Shopping Campaigns

WRITTEN by: Tim Nester |
categories: SEO

Sep 2014


Disclaimer: I don’t like shopping. It usually involves finding a parking spot, spending a lot of time on my feet, and watching money leave my bank account. Suffice to say, it’s not on my Top 10 list of “things I enjoy.” Even so, it’s a necessary evil. That’s right – I said evil.

In an effort to avoid real shopping, I decided to shop online for a protective case for my smart phone. After a quick Google search, I saw ads and search results for smart phone cases. I have no doubt that several of the websites with text ads could provide what I was looking for, but I’ll never know for sure. Do you know which option I clicked? It was the one that showed me a picture of a smart phone case, the price, and the average customer rating. I’m calling that the “window display effect.”

Shopping Campaign Ads Have a Distinct Advantage

When I was a kid, my mom would take me to the mall. I remember these trips because she was frequently sidetracked by the window displays. We’d take a hard 90-degree turn while cruising down the mall concourse. (I looked it up to make sure that’s the right term. It is. Although, I wish the correct term was “mallway.” I digress.) A store would be running a promotion with their products front and center, ensuring they were impossible to miss. There may have been a different store in the mall where she was originally planning to make a purchase, but the window display won the customer without a fight.

Many years later, that little display trick still works. Of course, in today’s technology-driven culture, mall traffic decreases as online traffic continues to grow. When Internet users are shopping, the items that garner the most attention quickly display their look, price and customer rating. The shopper knows what they’re getting, and they know what they’ll be paying. This builds a level of trust that is lacking when a business makes the details of their products difficult to find.

Text Ad Campaigns are Good. Shopping Campaigns are Better.

If you’re running a standard PPC text ad campaign for your e-commerce website, you are on the right track. You may even be experiencing some success. The good news is there is potential for even more success with your advertising campaign. With a little set up work to connect your AdWords account with a Merchant Center account, you could have a Shopping Campaign up and running, and drawing in high-conversion visitors almost immediately. There are several benefits of using a shopping campaign.

4 Benefits of Using a Shopping Campaign

  • Increase your Click-Through-Rate (CTR). The “window display effect” will draw in more people when they see what you have to offer. A 2013 study showed that Google’s Shopping Ads had a 21% higher CTR than standard text ads.
  • Promote your best products. Do you have a seasonal sale? Maybe one of your products is riding a wave of popularity? You can organize your Shopping Ads to capitalize on what is “in” with the average consumer.
  • Spend less on your campaign. The cost-per-click (CPC) of a Shopping ad increased by 141% last year (according to Marin Software), but it is still less expensive than a standard ad click. Your average Shopping Ad click likely will cost less and convert more than a text ad.
  • Shopping campaigns on smart phones outperform the same campaigns on tablets and desktops. The lesson there? People do everything on their phones: including shopping. Make sure your “window display” can be seen by people on any device. Several studies have shown that by the end of 2014, smart phone shopping campaigns will account for 40% of all Google Shopping traffic. Make sure your ads are optimized for mobile users.

Keep in mind, that Shopping Campaigns aren’t always the answer. You’ll need the right combination of a robust inventory and a strong budgeting strategy to get the most out of your campaign.

If you’re tired of potential customers quickly “walking past your store,” maybe it’s time for your business to set up that window display.

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