As I mentioned in previous posts, the use of PPC campaigns focused on local or traditional businesses is an upward trend. And yet the reality is that today, most of these businesses continue to rely on foot traffic as the main factor in store sales.
On the other hand, more than 70% of consumers are more likely to purchase if the business offers the store pickup option. Especially if it is available as close as possible.
How can we take advantage of this?
Local Inventory Ads may be what you are looking for!
1. Local Inventory Ads
1.1. What is?
Basically, Local Inventory Ads (LIA) or local inventory ads are a type of Google Shopping ad that shows the availability of a product in a physical store to nearby potential customers.
With this, an increase in pedestrian traffic is sought. Something fundamental for the survival of many of the businesses at the local level.
LIAs can appear in page, purchase, or image search results on both desktop and mobile devices. Moreover, the user can use the Google Assistant (mobile support only) to search for the target product near him.
Attention! Currently in Spain, Local Inventory Ads is in the beta phase, so it is a good opportunity to get up to speed on its advantages before your competition.
1.2. How does Local Inventory Ads work?
The advantage of LIAs is that they make it easy for the user to find the product they are looking for to buy it physically without having to move too much. In addition to making sure that, once there, there will be stock available.
For this, the tool uses a geographical radius previously established around the physical establishment of the business in question. In this way, when the user searches for the product from a point within that radius, that ad will be shown.
We thus find a segmentation based on geographic location, which will also report more qualified traffic, positively impacting CTR.
When the customer clicks on one of the LIA advertisements, they are automatically redirected to one of two types of "shop windows" or digital store:
- Google Local Showcase: This page hosted on Google allows you to offer basic information about the business and its closest location. This is: address of the establishment, opening and closing hours, map and contact information. It also reports basic information on the products offered, promotions and offers, or if there are related items in stock.
- Advertiser's website: Another option is for the advertiser to use their own website or online store as a destination showcase. It should be borne in mind that even if this way we keep the traffic directed to our own page, it can be detrimental to the user experience, as it is redirected outside of Google. And this can lead to the point where a prospective customer looking for a quick solution to their query drops out.
1.3. Differences with other Google Ads channels
As I said, while traditional Shopping ads direct users to purchase products exclusively online, local inventory ads focus on directing them to purchase in the physical store. However, there is a way to promote both ways.
What is known as Multichannel Ads.
This mode allows you to alternate the type of ad that will be shown to the user based on their location, with the advantage of promoting both online and offline channels. Therefore, if the user doing the search is within range of LIA, they will be shown that type of ad. Otherwise, they will be shown a normal Shopping ad.
2. How to configure Local Inventory Ads
Before starting to implement LIAs in your business strategy, you must have three types of accounts activated and configured:
- Google Ads: It is the basis for managing both Local Inventory Ads and any type of ad campaign on the Google platform.
- Google My Business: Allows you to extract the geographic location information to be able to segment the audience correctly. Keep in mind that to function correctly, it will be necessary to have a different tab for each of the physical stores.
- Google Merchant Center: Hosts Product Feeds that will contain information about inventory, description, stock availability, etc.
Once configured, these three accounts must be linked in order to share information between them.
** Note: If your store is in Europe, Google needs to confirm compliance with the EU Electronic Commerce Directive. To do this, you must submit the following information through the Merchant Center:
- Contact information (telephone and email address)
- Full physical address
- Registered location of the company
- Business authorization / license
2.2. Prepare your feeds
Another previous step before starting the publication of products through LIA, is to have a database of your products correctly configured. That is, a series of feeds from which Google can obtain the information necessary to correctly execute these ads.
These feeds will be registered only once in Google Merchant Center, and can be updated at any time.
Google My Business Locations Feed
It includes the locations and information of each physical store. Remember that it is necessary to have created a file for each of our stores. Each one of them will contain its own code to connect your My Business account with your Local Product Inventory Feed. In this way we will have updated information related to possible changes in the physical store. For example: schedule changes, a relocation, temporary closure or even the appearance of a new store.
This feed contains detailed information on all the products that the seller offers in their physical establishment. We will use Google Merchant Center to create a new product freed and select the destination LIAs.
In terms of update frequency, the ideal is that this feed is continuously updated with the minimum change at the product level.
Local Product Inventory Feed
Google uses this feed as a base of information about the availability of the product in store, quantity of stock, price and sales. It is important to continuously update this feed so that the reflected data is as accurate as possible. For this, we can automatically schedule these updates with the periodicity that we consider convenient.
We can connect this feed with the Products Feed through the “id” attribute, and with the Google My Business Locations Feed, through the “store” attribute.
2.3. Request Inventory verification
If your Local Inventory Ads use the Google Local Storefront as a landing page, the platform will need to verify the accuracy of the data corresponding to the products it will display.
This verification request can be made through Google Merchant Center, from where the platform will review the data stored in your feeds. After this, Google will schedule a verification to make sure that the information related to the products shown in the online catalogs, matches those of its stores.
This process varies depending on the type of business and the characteristics, so three types of verification can be programmed:
- Automatic verification
- Phone verification
- In-store verification by a Google employee
2.4. Activate LIAs in Shopping
Finally, we will enable local inventory ads in our Shopping campaigns. We will only have to enter Google Ads, and select the Shopping campaign that we have chosen.
Once inside the campaign settings, we will activate the option "Enable Ads for products sold in Local Stores".
3. Monitor the performance of Local Inventory Ads
Like any marketing and sales strategy, we need to measure the effectiveness of each new action according to the objectives we have set ourselves, in order to make both our budget and our time profitable.
The good news is that Google Ads offers us a series of metrics in its results reports that can be divided according to the channel of origin. This can give us a good general idea of whether LIA is working profitably compared to other Ads campaigns.
On the other hand, if we use the Google Local Storefront option, we can create a tracking ID with our Google Analytics account. Thus, we will obtain specific information on the behavior of users with our advertisements who, for example, decide to follow the purchase process online once they have clicked on the LIA.
This constant monitoring of results will provide us with the necessary data reference for the improvement of our LIA strategy in the future, such as improving the visibility of the ad for mobile devices or adjusting the most interesting hours for its operation.
Good. This is it for now! Or at least until Google decides to activate these types of ads in more countries. And when it does, I am sure that Local Inventory Ads will give a lot to talk about, although it thinks that you will already have an advantage.
Thank you very much for reading me and we will read in the next article!
JOS (without the E)