Introducing “Purchases on Google”


Google officially announced the launch of Purchases on Google, which is the eagerly-anticipated release of what has been called the “buy button” within Shopping ads.

Purchases on Google is simply Google hosting – with the intent of streamlining – the online checkout process within mobile devices on Google’s Shopping ads. So rather than clicking on a Shopping ad on your mobile phone and being directed to an advertiser’s Website to purchase, a “Buy on Google” image will appear next to Shopping ads of participating advertisers, and the user can then purchase the item directly within Google. See this GIF for an example.

Google Purchases

Why is Google Doing This?

It is no secret industry-wide that, while mobile search traffic and activity continues to explode, the buying experience on mobile devices is often cumbersome. Because of that, many advertisers see conversion rates higher on desktop devices than on mobile and thus may favor paying for desktop traffic over mobile. It’s clear to all major players in the industry that providing a quicker, more simplified purchase experience is crucial in a more mobile-centric environment, and Google realizes this. It no doubt has seen mobile advertising lag behind organic usage, and has also watched other properties like Amazon and social networks like Facebook or Pinterest make mobile e-commerce a strong priority.

Google’s mantra of late has been the “micro moment” — solving for a mobile phone user’s immediate needs based on where they are, what they’re looking for, and increasingly what Google thinks the user is looking for. For this, they’re trying to solve for the “micro shopping moments.” In the same vein, Google’s making a bet on Android Pay being more of a success than Google Wallet was, and that millions of mobile users will be able to click on mobile Shopping ads, hit the “Checkout” button within Google, and have their payment and shipping info at the ready. If they can accomplish this, it can end up having significant impacts on the convenience of buying products via mobile devices on Google and help to bring mobile performance closer to par with desktop.

What This Means for Advertisers

  • To start, at this time Purchases on Google is a limited, test-environment roll-out, and so the opportunities to get involved at this moment aren’t very expansive. Those opportunities; however, are certainly coming in the very near future.
  • Advertisers will have to sync their ordering systems with Google in order for the “Buy on Google” tag and checkout functionality to work. This certainly puts even more pressure on retailers to provide Google with the most accurate pricing and inventory data to ensure that the fulfillment process – which will still be handled by the retailer – works effectively.
  • Google is attempting to address retailers’ concerns about Google handling the checkout process and fears of lost engagement with their customers. As shown in the GIF above, the checkout page will be advertiser-branded, and retailers can still manage communications with their customers. From the press release: “While Google hosts the product page and provides purchase protection for customers, retailers own the customer communication and can offer customers the option to receive marketing and promotional messages.”
  • The price structure remains the same as it was before for Shopping ads, meaning that advertisers will be charged for the ad click, but Google takes no cut for the transaction and will not charge additionally for any clicks within the product page.
  • Advertisers will be able to segment out Purchases on Google clicks and conversions with AdWords by using the Click Type segmentation.

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Category: SEM