When Site Strategics CEO Erin Sparks and Digital Media Director Tom Brodbeck air a new episode of their award-winning EDGE of the Web podcast, you can always expect the show to open with the latest digital marketing news. In Episode 305, special guest special guest Erin Acheson, President and COO of DemandSphere, helped provide commentary and analysis on the week’s news:
Google to Allow All Online Retailers to Upload Product Data to Search Results
From Matt Southern on Search Engine Journal, Google is now going to allow ALL online retailers to upload product data directly to search results.
- Tom Brodbeck: This is big news for anyone with an eCommerce website. Now they can all enjoy Merchant Center capabilities free of charge, and they don’t even need a Google Ads account. And the data will update in real-time.
- Erin Acheson: Programmatic SEO. The rise of programmatic SEO is finally happening because there’s more opportunity for it. Alternative search engines like Amazon and other places have their own algorithm to do this kind of stuff, I think that the template is there, so hopefully smarter versions of product pages is upon us. Fingers crossed. This should be good. It’s a great opportunity. The problem is whether or not people actually staff to it the smart way and really dig in and get it done. It’s their opportunity to lose.
- Erin Sparks: Well we had Schema for a while as the way to be able to try to adjust those ranking opportunities but now they’re gonna be giving us more opportunities in the feed and the XML data itself. So they’re going to widen the different types of factors that we can send them. This is very, very good. It’s finally … this stuff should have been done 10 years ago.
Google Looks to Expand Shoppable Ads in Google Image
From Greg Sterling over at Search Engine Land, more Shoppable Ads will be coming to Google Images. Google started Shoppable AdWords formats on YouTube back in 2015, but is otherwise behind other platforms like Instagram and Pinterest regarding Shoppable Ads. Google’s aim is getting the attention of consumers earlier, at the top of the funnel, in the “inspiration phase.”
- Erin Sparks: This is a move that makes sense for Google, but I’m also worried it could really clutter things up if not done well, especially on mobile devices. But we should expect Google to find a way to monetize anything it can monetize.
- Erin Acheson: But was it really Google’s job to bring us free image search? The Goog can be uber-Googly. It’s like they’re practically daring people to steal images and violate copyright. And while I agree it would be good to not clutter things up, the other way to look at this is they’re just trying to facilitate what people are already trying to accomplish. Google does a lot of evil things you can rail about, but this isn’t high on the Google evil meter. It also depends on what you’re searching for, right?
- Tom Brodbeck: The example provided in the article looks pretty good, not too cluttered. The could do this well, and hopefully they will.
Smart Speaker Usage Continues to Rise, but not for Shopping
From Emily Bary at MarketWatch, while smart speaker usages continues to rise, it doesn’t look like people are using them for shopping purposes. People are using their smart speakers to play music, check the weather and set alarms and reminders, but not for more involved actions like shopping, placing food orders, researching flights or managing their finances. In fact, one study saw a decrease in the percentage of consumers using their smart speakers for shopping, from 30% back in August to 26% now.
- Erin Acheson: This should not come as a surprise to anyone. I don’t think Amazon built in any kind of lag phase for what this would look like. Kids have figured out how to order all kinds of stuff on mom and dad’s account, which is hilarious. It means they don’t have to be good for Santa anymore, they’ll just “Prime” whatever they want.
- Tom Brodbeck: Going through the Taco Bell drive-in with my wife, she needed a minute to look at the menu, and when she was ready for me to place the order, instead of saying something like “I’m ready to order now” I said “Okay, Google…” and we all had a good laugh over that.
- Erin Acheson: Most people want to go with their usual brand, right? So that has to be worked into it. I don’t want Amazon to just pick out any old brand – I want my brand. Samsung and LG refrigerators have grocery list functionality and can send the list to your phone. When I need to buy stuff, it’s usually a list of stuff, so that has to be figured out as well.
- Erin Sparks: The shopping experience just hasn’t been mapped out yet. You’re not going to use it in the discovery phase, right? You’re only going to use it for known stuff that you’ve purchased before and buy on a regular basis. It’s not like you can use it for comparison shopping. It can really only give you easy access to frequently purchased items.
Connect with Erin Acheson and DemandSphere
Twitter: @TexasGirlErin (https://twitter.com/texasgirlerin)
DemandSphere (formerly GinzaMetrics): https://www.demandsphere.com
DemandSphere Facebook: @DemandSphere (https://www.facebook.com/DemandSphere)
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