3 Paid Search Headlines You Can’t Afford to Ignore

As you probably know by now, the world of paid search is a very fluid one. Technology changes quickly, even weekly - often leaving retailers scrambling to stay on top of their paid search marketing game.

Sometimes these updates are small and don’t noticeably affect your paid search strategy. Other updates are substantial in nature. These changes will affect your performance unless you adjust your strategy accordingly.

Recently, three of these major changes hit the paid search world.

Here’s what you need to know:

Headline #1: Amazon Product Ads Say Goodbye

The biggest change in recent months is Amazon’s decision to discontinue their Product Ads service as of October 30th. For those not familiar, this cost per click platform allowed retailers to advertise to Amazon’s audience of 100+ million visitors per month via Google Shopping-like product listing ads.

We here at ROI Revolution talked at length about this great program on our blog and even hosted a webinar on the subject. Our clients were seeing some of their best returns from this program, and several surveys confirmed that great returns were an industry-wide trend for this platform.

Then Amazon decided to discontinue it in an unpopular but understandable strategic move. This is a big blow to smaller, independent retailers, who were seeing a lot of revenue from Amazon without the limitations of Amazon Marketplace.

What You Can Do About It: For retailers using Amazon Product Ads, there are a few different options you should explore in the coming months.

1) For starters, if you’re already using Amazon Product Ads, don’t let your campaigns go – two months of revenue is still two months of revenue! If this platform has been profitable for you, dedicate the time and budget you need to make the most of its last days.

2) Amazon Text Ads is a new service rolling out for advertisers who still want to advertise external products on Amazon. It still remains to be seen how these text ads will perform for retailers, but considering Amazon’s reach, it is certainly worth testing, especially if Product Ads performed well for you.

3) If you’re already an Amazon seller,  Amazon Sponsored Products may very well be worth your while. As with any advertising platform, we recommend testing it to see how it performs for your company before diving in completely.

4) Explore comparison shopping engines as an alternative. While comparison shopping engines may not provide the same results as Amazon Product Ads, we’ve seen popular CSEs like Shopzilla, Nextag, Shopping.com, and the eBay Commerce Network provide results for our clients that are similar to – if not better than – Amazon Product Ads. Look into these and other popular shopping sites as an alternative.

Headline #2: Google Announces a ‘Buy Now’ Option in Google Shopping

In response to the rapid growth of mobile search, Google has announced a new upgrade to their Shopping platform. After the enormous success of Amazon’s classic “One Click Checkout” feature, Google is taking it to the next level. Mobile Shopping campaigns will now have the option to add a “buy button.”

This is a 1-click shopping experience that instantly takes shoppers to a checkout page where a few simple taps on the screen are all that’s needed to submit a purchase. Google will process the payment, then transfer the purchase to the retailer (without taking any percentage of the sale).

For retailers who constantly struggle with mobile site optimization and a mobile-tailored checkout experience, the Google Shopping Buy Button is a godsend. This extension practically offers a one-click conversion, which will be a big game changer for paid search advertisers that have historically had difficulty converting shoppers on mobile devices due to difficult checkout procedures.

While this feature is still in a very limited beta, Google expects to roll it out widely very soon. Once it does roll out, retailers can expect Google Shopping to become even more competitive. Retailers who jump on board early, testing and optimizing buy button mobile campaigns, will be the ones to see the best returns, so be sure to stay on top of the news as this feature continues to develop.

What You Can Do About It: Now is a great time to delve into your Google Shopping account, before the buy button is released. A pristine product feed and smart Shopping campaign set up are still necessary to see success in Google Shopping, buy button or no. Get ahead of the game by optimizing your data now, so that your mobile campaigns are ready to roll when Google finally releases this update.

Headline #3: Microsoft Releases Windows 10 and Edge

With the advent of Windows 10 and Microsoft’s new Edge browser, paid search advertisers can expect to see a shift in traffic from Google to Bing. Why? Because of Cortana, Windows 10’s digital assistant. The search integration allows users to easily ask questions, search their hard drive, and search the internet – all from their taskbar. And of course, all these queries are powered exclusively by Bing.

Similarly, Microsoft’s new Edge browser will now be default on any new Windows computer, and runs Bing search. While it’s possible to change the default search engine, many users opt to keep the default engine, especially as Bing search continues to improve.

While we won’t know just how much this will affect traffic until Windows 10 is adopted more widely and the numbers start rolling in, it’s definitely something to watch. As of August 11th or so, Google Analytics has been picking up on Edge browser traffic (you can find it in your browser reports), as well as Windows 10 in your operating systems report. Periodically check on this traffic, to monitor this rising trends and to compare data to traffic trends in your AdWords account.

What You Can Do About It: If you’re not already advertising on Bing, this is a great time to get started. Bing will see a rise in traffic from Windows 10 and Edge, there’s no doubt of that. But beyond that, Bing still has the advantage of lower costs per clicks for the time being. It also has developed some great interface features that make it easy to transfer your best campaigns from AdWords for extra profitable traffic without much additional effort.

Stay Tuned

These are three of the biggest headlines in the digital advertising world right now – but it won’t be long before something else takes their place. Google, in particular, is always releasing new features (and removing some others), so it’s crucial to keep your fingers on the pulse of the paid search world if you want to keep your advertising campaigns on the cutting edge.

If you haven’t already, make sure to subscribe to the  Inside AdWords blog via email or RSS– this will make sure you get Google’s announcements delivered to your inbox.  Search Engine Land is also a phenomenal source of paid search news, and they usually publish announcements on important paid search features and trends as soon as the news becomes public. It’s easy to subscribe to their site for updates as well, so there’s no excuse.

As the industry continues to develop and grow, it’s more important than ever to keep on top of the industry news as it unfolds. Knowledge is power, and the retailers who apply cutting-edge industry knowledge with an early adopter attitude are the ones who will see the most success.

This blog post was written by Emily Irish, Resident Content Marketing Manager at ROI Revolution.

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