Google Extends Mobile Merchant Promos

As advertisers, we know that there’s no question about the critical influence of mobile in our overall integrated strategy. But what we also know, is that while the mobile channel is a key piece of our customers’ journeys to purchase, actual conversion rates via mobile devices don’t yet tell the exact story we want to hear when considering our budget allocation.

But, we’re getting there…and mobile is an extremely important place to occupy. Since the shift to mobile devices occurred a couple years back, Google has been incredibly active in its mission to advance the overall mobile experience for end users, while making it a more impactful medium for advertisers. Over the 2015 holiday season, shoppers turned to their smartphones to interact with real-time, personalized ad campaigns, in-store shopping guides and specialized mobile promos – in fact, comScore reported that mobile commerce growth outpaced that of desktop by more than 40% this Holiday. If you’re a search engine marketer or Shopping Feed manager, you may have noticed more of these (see below) on mobile devices, in particular:

Mobile Merchant Promos

That’s because Google is now extending Merchant Promos to mobile (on a larger scale), with availability to advertisers in all countries but Germany.

This is great news! Merchant Promotions has become a quintessential part of Google Shopping campaigns, giving retailers the opportunity to distinguish their product ads from those of competitors’, while offering an effective method to intrigue shoppers to click on their ad. Recently, Google streamlined the inclusion of Merchant Promos in PLAs (Google Shopping Ads) by replacing manually-entered promo text with automated extensions, which “dynamically highlight free shipping or price drops in PLAs by pulling data included in advertisers’ Merchant Center settings and product feeds.” So the fact that these promotions are now available on a wider scale on mobile is a pretty big deal for advertisers, particularly those who run comprehensive PLA programs.

How will it work on the advertiser’s end?

The Merchant Promotion links will include structured data from your Google Merchant Center (GMC) or shopping feed, like “free shipping” or “X% off” depending on the details you’ve established.

How will shoppers interact with mobile Merchant Promos?

Mobile Merchant Promos will appear similarly as they do on desktop, however, once the promotional link in the ad is clicked, an interstitial, or pop-up ‘window’, will appear that contains all details of the merchant’s promotion. This could include a unique redemption code, expiration date of the deal, or other instructions for shoppers to access the promotion.

What’s the significance of more mobile Merchant Promotions?

We’ve already learned that mobile is a key growth driver for Google. In its Q4 2015 earnings, Google noted that about 30% of all shopping purchases now happen on mobile, and throughout Black Friday 2015, mobile ad revenue from Google Shopping Ads (PLAs) exceeded that of desktop. So, in this light, further extending Merchant Promos onto mobile is a smart move for Google. But it’s also a significant opportunity for mobile advertisers, who have taken major steps to improve the mobile experience, but have historically faced challenges in increasing conversion rates. With much smaller real estate on the screen of a smartphone, Merchant Promos will give advertisers an edge in piquing the shopper’s interest and getting the click.


If you have any questions or thoughts about mobile Merchant Promotions, please feel free to contact one of our experts!

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