Online Shopping and the rise of Quality Assurance

Contrary to recent trends in the news world, ecommerce continues to value accuracy.

The reason: consumers want information. True. Factual. Detailed. Information.

With more and more shopping options out there, consumers want quality assurance. They want to know what they’re getting – to be assured they’re spending the right amount, getting a quality product, receiving good customer support, and ultimately getting what they bargained for.

This is why Google has been making so many changes to ad formats and features in recent years. 2016 saw multiple changes in text ads and PLAs. Small right-hand-rail ads gave way to expanded text ads that allowed retailers to share more information with consumers and PLA features grew, providing marketers and retailers more opportunities to share about their products.

Although these changes mean greater opportunities for marketers and e-tailers, they come with greater responsibility to provide consumers with an authentic buying experience.

Marketers must continue to be strategic and consumer-centric when testing and utilizing new ad formats and features. Extra description space should be used to provide specific, factual information about a specific product or group of products. Keywords are just as important as ever in this effort, and even more important for PLAs as PLAs now show rankings for queries with words like “top” and “best.” Including keywords in product titles for data feeds is another way marketers can ensure consumers are being shown relevant products.

Information extends beyond titles and product descriptions. Consumers are also interested in knowing what deals, if any, are going on. What’s on sale? How much would they save? Luckily, marketers can include these details in text ads, sitelinks, and promotion details for PLAs. Marketers, however, must be wary of only running promotions while sales are going on. To avoid showing ads when sales have ended, they can make use of Google’s scheduling features. Having well-planned promotional calendars can also help in planning promotional ads.

When marketers provide retail and sale prices in their merchant center feed, PLAs show shoppers what sales are going on and how much of a price drop they would receive.

Additionally, photos and reviews are increasingly important to online shoppers. Bright Local’s 2016 consumer review revealed that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations! Reviews are here to stay and can provide one more level of quality assurance for consumers. Photos both in PLAs and on retail sites are important for grabbing attention and for portraying a products realistic qualities. After all, a picture is worth 1,000 words, right? Using high quality photos taken at the proper angle, with the right lighting, can go a long way in showcasing products online.

Reviews showing up on PLAs stand out and provide more quality assurance for shoppers.

As keywords, product titles, descriptions, photos, and reviews remain important, it is imperative for marketers in 2017 and beyond to strategically use ad formats and features - taking advantage of new options and testing new features. As we forge ahead in 2017, we commit to trying, testing, and working with our clients to provide the fullest quality assurance measures possible for all our digital consumers.