Google found 40% of product searches are based on broad parameters – such as “women’s athletic apparel.” For these less defined searches, Google typically would surface generic product items like yoga pants. But retailers wanted to give consumers a way to drill down to more specific products.
So Showcase Shopping ads, still in beta, let consumers navigate to a landing page and scroll through a limited catalog of curated products. Advertisers pay for click-throughs and conversions on their retail site.
Google is also testing the way Shopping ads (formerly Product Listing ads) appear after the initial search.
Google uses a carousel for merchants with three or more product images and allows those merchants to add information around store locations and local discounts and offers.
For the travel vertical, Google is rolling out price alerts.
Consumers can track pricing info on Google Flights when they opt in and will either receive email alerts with listings or Google Now notifications when they’re using Google’s native mobile search on Android devices.
This feature basically retargets consumers who search for flights but don’t book by bringing them back in when there are price reductions.
Google also released a similar feature for lodging. Hotel Deals automatically flags hotels that reduce their prices, and that match consumers' search criteria.
Lodging and accommodation providers pay when a consumer uses Google to book, according to Richard Holden, VP of product management for Google’s travel vertical. In other words, search listings (and price alerts) are organic.
“We don’t own the transaction,” Holden said. “We are the pass-through. This is making it easier for [a consumer] who may have their credentials stored already in their Google account” to transact.