Deck the halls with tools for shopping

I love shopping for gifts for my family and friends, but it’s not always easy. Fortunately, the Google Shopping team has built several new tools to help you (and me!) get an early and stress-free start on holiday shopping.

Explore products in 360-degree detail on Google Shopping
Having trouble imagining what a toy actually looks like from the online picture? Now, when searching for a subset of toys on Google Shopping, you can see 360-degree photos of the products. These interactive images bring the in-store feeling of holding and touching a product to your online browsing.

Look for the “3D” swivel icon on the product image to see a toy in 360-degree view, on HTML5 enabled browsers. We’ve also put together a Holiday Toy Collection featuring this enhanced imagery—explore the collection on this site. 360-degree imagery is coming for other types of products soon.

If you’re a retailer or manufacturer interested in displaying these rich images of your products on Google Shopping, please fill out this form.

Use Shortlists to stay organized and collaborate with friends 
New in Google Shopping, Shortlists make it easier to research products and plan purchases with friends and family. Instead of using bookmarked websites and docs containing long lists of URLs, or back-and-forth emails with friends, you can now consolidate all your shopping research in one place. With Shortlists, you can easily:
  • Keep track of products you like from Google Shopping and across the web
  • View product photos, prices and specs side by side
  • Share your Shortlist with friends, who can add their own ideas

Create a Shortlist by visiting or clicking the “Add to Shortlist” button as you browse products on Google Shopping.

Discover great deals and store promotions on Google Shopping
To help you make the most of your holiday budget, Google Shopping now shows discounts or promotions on the products you're viewing. If discounts or promotions are available, you can click on the link and visit the retailer’s site to redeem the offer.

That’s not all...a few more new Google Shopping features

Here are a few of the other tools we’ve created to make your holiday shopping a little easier:
  • Not sure you’ve found the perfect gift? Read reviews from people you know and write your own product reviews on Google Shopping.
  • Found an item that’s almost perfect but not quite? Now you can view “visually similar” results  for even more types of products and categories, including jewelry, coats, handbags and more.
  • Buying an important gift? Look for the Google Trusted Store logo as you shop. It indicates a store ships quickly and delivers excellent customer service. 
  • Shopping on the go? Browse for gift ideas, find local sales and research products with the new and improved Google Shopper 3.0, currently available for Android.
  • Still need some inspiration? Browse holiday catalogs from the top retailers directly on Google Shopping.
Happy holiday shopping!

Posted by Vineet Buch, Group Product Manager, Google Shopping

Optimize your campaigns for mobile in time for the holidays

Shoppers increasingly use their smartphones to search the internet, and we typically see an increase in shopping-related queries on Android, iPhone and Palm WebOS devices during the holiday season.

Ensure that your online campaigns perform well on mobile devices with full internet browsers by viewing device statistics on your Campaign Summary, Ad Groups, or Keyword reports within AdWords. Just select the "Device" segment option under the “Filter and Views” drop down.

You can now compare clicks, impressions, CTR and other performance metrics for desktop vs. high-end mobile devices. Note that this data only dates back to June 3, 2009.

Now is the perfect time to optimize how you target consumers on-the-go. Here are a few best practices we think you'll find helpful:
  • Create separate campaigns and ad groups for your ads that appear on mobile devices. This makes it easier to customize ads, keywords and bids to optimize performance.
  • Put your call to action in a spot on your landing page that's easy to find. Keep in mind that it's a bit more difficult to navigate websites on a mobile device, so consider shortening your checkout process.
  • Most mobile phones don't support flash, so make sure your landing page is written in HTML and contains little or no Flash.
We hope these tips help you create great campaigns both for desktops and mobile devices this holiday season.

St. Patrick's day display ad templates now available

If you're looking to add a bit of luck to an upcoming campaign, you might want to try out one of our two new St. Patrick's Day display ad templates, which are available in the "Seasonal" category of the display ad builder. We're excited to offer template ads for another holiday, after debuting the feature with Valentine's Day and President's Day in the U.S.

To show you these templates and how you can use them, we have a short tutorial video:

To access the display ad builder, log in to your AdWords account, and choose the "Display ad builder" ad format option within any ad group. This video can also show you how to access the feature.

Cyber Monday is next Monday

You may not know it, but the busiest shopping day of the year, Black Friday, is shortly followed by the biggest online shopping day of the year, Cyber Monday. This year Cyber Monday falls on December 1st, and a little preparation can help you make the most of the day.

Here's a few tips to help you prepare:
  • Check your budgets, and consider increasing them. You're likely to see increased traffic and you won't want to exhaust your budget early on a day when there are so many potential buyers.

  • Give customers peace of mind about shipping times. One of the most stressful parts of online holiday shipping is not knowing if a present will make it in time. Be up front about delivery dates and let customers know ordering deadlines for gifts to make it in time for the holidays.

  • Promote any special offerings in your ad text. If you have a holiday special that differentiates you from the competition, be sure to showcase it in your ad.
The holiday shopping season continues beyond Cyber Monday, and we hope all these tips can help you attract more customers this winter.

Happy Halloween (and a tip, too)

We know that many advertisers set up seasonal campaigns for specific holidays and occasions. Well, if you didn't set an end date for your Halloween campaign yet, here's a quick reminder to log in to your account and pause it. (You can always use it again next year.)

And of course, Happy Halloween from the Inside AdWords crew!

Clicks, conversions, and Christmas 2008

One of our favorite and most useful posts from last year was an in-depth look at cost-per-click behavior during the 2006 holiday season by none other than Google's Chief Economist, Hal Varian. In the post Hal explained how CPC's and CPA's (cost-per-actions) vary over time to affect advertisers' ROI.

This year we have two new posts about CPC's and holiday trends over at the newly launched Google Retail Advertising Blog, a great source of information tailored to the needs of retail advertisers. The first post is Hal's updated look at the new data from the 2007 holiday season. The second has some tips regarding scheduling and consumer behavior specifically for your campaigns this winter. Remember, it's never too early to start your holiday planning.

Retailer tips and tools for maximizing holiday sales

Many of our retail advertisers are busy preparing their stores for the busiest shopping season of the year, so we've compiled some tips and tools that can help you optimize your ad campaigns, marketing channels, and website.

Here's an example tip you'll find: specifically mentioning any special holiday promotions you are running in your ad text drives additional interest from consumers. Clear and compelling ads with season-specific text is a good way to generate more clicks.

As for tools, Google has several offerings that retailers can use to help drive additional traffic and sales this holiday season such as Google Product Search, which allows shoppers to search for and find things they want to buy online. You can use Product Search to promote your goods and drive holiday traffic to your store for free.

With the holidays just around the corner, now is a good time to make sure that your site is in the best shape for maximizing your traffic and revenue. Please visit the Holiday tips page for more information, and remember - it's never too early to start preparing for the season.

Update: Corrected tips page link. As a reminder, Google Checkout is currently available only to merchants in the US and UK, and Google Product Search is currently available only to merchants in the US, UK, and Germany.

Upcoming traditional media webinars

In preparation for the upcoming back-to-school season, our Traditional Media team will host two free webinars specifically for retailers gearing up for the Fall shopping rush. During the sessions, we will provide some insight into who is shopping, and how you can target back-to-school consumers with any of our three traditional media products: Print Ads, Audio Ads, and TV Ads. For more detailed information on the webinars, you can visit the Traditional Media blog.

The first session will be this Thursday, July 10th, at 10:00AM PDT, and the second will take place Wednesday, July 23rd -- also at 10:00AM PDT. To sign up for either session, visit the webinar registration page.

Brides, Dads, and Grads

Now that Memorial Day has come and gone, we've officially entered the season of Brides, Dads, and Grads. And you know what that means -- a summer full of planning parties and giving gifts! Whether you are in the travel industry, or you sell household items through your online store, or you offer catering services, there's a great opportunity for everyone to gain new customers this summer.

Right around this time last year, we shared some ways to make the most out of summer gift-giving. Take a look at these extensive suggestions for ideas on how you can reach gift-givers and party planners this summer.

You may also want to check out demographic bidding when you set up your summer gift-giving and party planning campaigns. Demographic bidding is a way to help your ad reach audiences of a certain age or gender. For example, if you want your ads to be seen by young brides-to-be who might be planning a honeymoon, you could target women aged 25-35. Learn more about how demographic bidding can help you reach new customers.

We hope you'll enjoy these tips -- happy start-of-summer!

Tips on converting last-minute Mother's Day shoppers to customers

Mother's Day is only 5 days away! And this holiday is surely no exception to the rule that many shoppers procrastinate. Below are some tips to capture a bigger share of the 'late-shopper pie' -- both on Mother's Day this year, and next!
  • Create ad groups containing keywords and ad text geared specifically toward Mother's Day, with keywords like 'mother's day gifts' and 'mother's day gift ideas'. You can then pause this ad group and re-use it with minor tweaks next year. You can find detailed suggestions on creating effective keyword lists in our Keyword Basics and Beyond Keyword Basics blog posts.
  • Write compelling ad text that features the products you offer on your web site. This invites shoppers interested in those products to click through, and prevents clicks from shoppers who aren't interested. You might also find our previous post on ad text optimization helpful.
  • Highlight gift cards as an alternative. This year, almost 40% of shoppers will buy a gift certificate for mom.* If you offer gift cards, highlight them as another option to last-minute shoppers, as gift cards are delivered more quickly than standard packages.
  • Extend shipping deadlines. You can convert more last-minute shoppers into customers by offering delivery options, such as overnight delivery, and free or discounted shipping. Also, it's important to clearly inform buyers of delivery deadlines on your home page as well as on specific product pages.
  • If you offer gift wrapping, highlight this option along with shipping directly to the recipient.
  • Many last-minute shoppers turn to the Internet, but are hesitant to use their credit card on websites. Cater to these shoppers by offering other payment options, like Google Checkout.
As you read this, late shoppers are busy searching for the perfect last-minute gift to buy mom. This is your opportunity to persuade them to buy from you.

* National Retail Federation 2008 Mother’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey (PDF)