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Stephanie Tilenius’ Keynote at Internet Retailer – Google Commerce is about Mobile, Social, Personalization and Local

June 10, 2010 3 comments

Here are my notes on Stephanie Tilenius’ second public speaking event as VP of eCommerce at Google titled Betting on Disruption.  Over 30 minutes, Stephanie shared pretty commonly known information, but in a much more clear 10K foot view than we’ve previously heard from Google.  As with all live blogging, some of the information that follows is paraphrased.

There are 4 key areas that are important to Google’s eCommerce initiatives: Mobile, Social, Personalization, and Local.  These are trends that will change commerce in powerful ways.

Mobile phone adoption is growing at fast pace.  4.6 billion people have mobile phones.  Today 1 in 5 people in the US have a smart phone.  Last year it was 1 in 10 people.   Android is now growing faster than iPhone platform.  Half of all internet connections are from mobile devices.  Consumers are accessing websites through mobile devices.  We believe that the mobile web is going to be bigger than the PC web.  The mobile web is accelerating 8x faster than PC web.

What are people doing with their phones?  Searching (has grown 5x in last 2yrs) and Shopping.

Shopping.  Half of consumers this past holiday shopping season said they used their phones for shopping – to research products of find coupons.  Google has seen a 30x growth in mobile shopping queries.  Mobile internet usage is elevated during the weekends (and there’s a correlated drop in PC based internet usage).  Look at Japan, during commute time and lunch time, mobile usage increases (with correlated drop in PC based internet usage).  Google is betting on mobile first.  It will be bigger than the PC web.

Google Goggles.  Allows you to scan products.  Translates a picture of a book cover or barcode into a query on the web. We’re getting better at soft goods (shoes for example). You can take a picture of something you want, walk down the street, and be able to find it in a store.

Social. We see a rise of social sites.  1 out of every 6 minutes online is social.  1 out of every X (might have been 20, but I’m not sure) tweets is about products.

Personalization. Mentioned and showed the SuperBowl ad called Parisian Love.  We enabled consumers to create their own ads.  We had 100K videos within 2 weeks.  Highlighted Polyvore, which features user generated content (UGC), basically enabling consumers to create their own designs and have others buy them.  Empowering users to drive commerce is a big trend.

Local. You can get info on a local provider in search, mobile, or on the PC.  1 in 5 desktop searches are local.  1 in 3 mobile searches are local.  Near Me Now button just released.  Shows everything around you.  80% of people using Near Me Now are undecided about what they want to do.

What about these trends?  What does it mean for you?  Three pieces of advice: Be Found, Make Your Ads Useful, and Create a Seamless Shopping Experience Online and Offline.

Be found

Ad for Denny’s during SuperBowl highlighted the need to be in search as viewers searched for Denny’s because of the TV ad.  You need to be in search.  Stephanie showed the Google Shopping product page that has developed over the last year to include nearby stores, video reviews, tech specs, prices, etc.  We’re taking product feeds and putting the information out there.  Discussed the partnership with BazaarVoice.  Best Buy and Sony Style are some early adopters.  Talked about mobile shopping with local availability, the Blue Dots, which highlights inventory that’s available right now in the store.  Best Buy, Williams Sonoma, and Sears are 3 of over a dozen retailers participating.

Make your ads useful

We’ve improve the format for text ads.  What should we do for commercial information?  We’ve added 5 or 6 different formats:

-Site links (merchant decides what to promote, what links to display).  S

-Store locator

-Product listings (ads) – We’ve taken the product feed and put the information (price, picture, title) right in the ad.  Using the feed the merchant has already sent us.

-Product extension ads – We let the merchants decide which products to promote, how to run campaigns.

-Click to call ads

Across all these ad formats, we’ve see an increase of 10-30% CTR.

-Remarketing. Showed IHG (Intercontinental Hotels) example.  Retargeting enables retailers to target promos to consumers who have left their site.

Create a seamless shopping experience – offline and online.  93% of sales is still in the stores.  We launched a product called Google Shopper.  We have over 700K downloads.  We’re encouraging you to think about blending offline and online.

Data on how this is all coming together:

-Macys: every $1 online drives $6 in stores within 10 days

-Best Buy: 80% of customers who come in the door went online to bestbuy.com first

Notion is that today’s retail experience will get richer and richer.  Html5 and mobile web – you need to innovate.  It’s time for websites and mobile commerce to start innovating.  87% of consumers search before they buy.

Google Has Booth at Internet Retailer

Google has a booth at Internet Retailer.  It’s a small one, the 10×10.  And as opposed to the normal plethora of products, Google is only displaying three…and not the ones you’d expect.  Nowhere to be seen is Google Product Search, Google Merchant Center, Google AdWords, and Google Places.  Instead, it’s Google Affiliate Network, Google Commerce Search, and Google TV Ads.

Not sure how or why these three products were chosen, but it seems to have been a last minute decision as the booth is at the end of a row.

Google’s VP of Ecommerce, Stephanie Tilenuis, will be speaking tomorrow.

We’ll let you know what she has to say.

Google Product Listing Ads Explained

June 1, 2010 2 comments

Google Product Listings AdIn November of 2009, Google started testing a new ad format called Google Product Lising Ads.  I will refer to the ad format as Product Listing Ads or just Product Listings.  While Product Listings was announced on the Google AdWords blog and is called a new feature of Adwords in this Google Ad Innovations video, it’s easier to consider this a Google Affiliate Network product as the merchant pays on a Cost Per Acquisition/Action (CPA) basis.

Regardless of which unit within Google owns this product at this point, here are the important details:

•Google Product Listing Ads work on CPA basis
•Google decides when to show, what to show, etc.
•The ads are powered by a Google Merchant Center data feed
Here’s what is going on.  Google has been cleaning up affiliate AdWords ads for a long time, cutting down on the riff-raff in the affiliate space that arguably doesn’t add a lot of value and imposing restrictions on affiliates who have the same top level domain as other advertisers.  However, Google knows that affiliate listings can be extremely valuable.  And with Product Listings, Google is becoming the affiliate of the merchant (the publisher, in affiliate speak) and displaying advertiser listing when and where it wants.
Google has the infrastrucutre to charge on a CPA basis (because of the Google Affiliate Network) and it has the data from the merchant (because of the Google Merchant Center data feed – yes, another example of the power of the data feed!) to display whatever types of listings can drive the most value.

Googlezon to Google Merchant Center

May 31, 2010 2 comments

Whenever analysts ask me about Google’s commerce ambitions, I tell them to watch Epic 2014 or 2015.  Not all of Epic’s predictions have panned out and many aren’t applicable to ecommerce, but it’s a thought provoking starting point for this blog.

Go ahead, click on the pic below.  You might have seen the video before, but it’s an important 8min reminder of Google’s potential in many areas.

Googlezon from Epic 2014

Googlezon as imagined in Epic 2014

Epic 2015′s focus isn’t commerce, but 4:36 into the video, Robin Sloan and Matt Thompson imagine the creation of Googlezon:

Google and Amazon join forces forming Googlezon.  Google supplies the Google Grid and unparralleled search technology.  Amazon supplies the social recommendation engine and its huge commercial infrastructure.  Together they use their detailed knowledge of every user’s social network, demographics, buying habits, and reading interests to provide total customization of content and advertising.

What Robin and Matt didn’t imagine is that Google itself would create its own commercial infrastructure, Googe Checkout.  In June of 2006, Google Checkout launched in the US.  This provides Google with all it needs to provide an end to end commerce experience imagined in Epic 2015.  Google has the search technology, social recommendation engine (think Google Product Reviews program), commercial infrastructure (think Google App Engine and Google Checkout), and detailed knowledge of every user’s social network (think Facebook Connect), demographics (think Google Analytics), and buying habits (think Google Checkout).

The key is tying all of these pieces together to provide “total customization of content and advertising.”  You can see Google starting to do this with Google Merchant Center and the Google Merchant Center data feed.  While not the lynchpin of Google’s commerce efforts, the Google Merchant Center data feed is damn close.

The Google Merchant Center data feed powers Google Shopping (aka Google Product Search), Extension Ads (a Google AdWords product), Google Product Ads (a Google Affiliate Network product), Google Commerce Search, Google Mobile Shopping (Blue dots!), and it’s easy to make the leap to believe that the Google Merchant Center data feed will also power Google Places, Google’s updated version of Local Business Center (it is now powered by a separate Business Feed).  I  joked early on that SingleFeed’s tag line should be ‘One Feed to Rule them All’ and it seems it would be an equally appropriate tag line for Google Merchant Center.  With GMC’s (yes, it’s time for an acronym) hooks into other Google produts, you can start to picture of all the ways Google could power or enable commerce for merchants.

Don’t worry, I’ll explain all of these pieces in more detail and give plenty of examples.  That is in fact the point of this blog!

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