59: Google Shopping for Local & Mobile with Michael Stricker

Internationally-known speaker and marketer, Michael Stricker, joins us for a special episode of The Llama Commerce Show. As the former Head of U.S. Marketing for SEMrush.com, he brings a wealth of knowledge to the table when it comes to search engine marketing and Google Shopping.

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Brett Curry: Well, hello and welcome to another edition of The Llama Commerce Show, where we exist to demystify eCommerce into actionable bites. Today we’re talking about one of my absolutely favorite topics. We’re looking at it from a unique angle, though, which is going to be a ton of fun. We’re talking about Google Shopping for local and mobile, plus some other fun Google tidbits and some highlights. We’re going to talk keywords, and we’re going to get a little bit nerdy as well, which is going to be awesome. I’m so excited to have my guest with me here today. It’s a man that many of you know and man of you respect and you’re going to say, “Wow, how did this guy get on The Llama Commerce Show?”


I am pleased to welcome today Mister Michael Stricker. He is internationally known. He is a speaker. He built a content marketing machine for SEMrush. He has been featured and spoken at big events like BrightonSEO, Pubcon, ad:tech, [Clicksy Live 00:01:00], eTail, Hero Conference, SMX East. He’s been on LinkedIn podcasts. The guy makes the rounds. Everyone in eCommerce knows him, everyone in search marketing knows him. What’s so cool about Michael is he understands business and he understands data. He also, like myself, is a search marketing nerd. He loves this stuff. Michael, I’m thrilled to have you on. Welcome to the show. How’s it going?


Michael Stricker: Brett, thanks for that stunning and very nice introduction. I am just going to quake a little bit here and hope that I live up to your expectations.


Brett Curry: Okay, all right. Good. This will just be fun for a second. When did you first get into search marketing? I think it’s always fascinating to hear how people get into this business.


Michael Stricker: Okay. I’m going to date myself and say going back a number of years …


Brett Curry: A number of years.


Michael Stricker:


A number of years. Started moving over from doing a lot of print advertising and publishing kinds of things, direct marketing, measurable success, dealing with lists. All of that was a natural segue into taking a design business that was web design and moving that over into the digital marketing arena because I built lots of websites for people and it’s the old saw. If you build it, they will not come.


Brett Curry: Exactly.


Michael Stricker: That’s easy. As a business model if was of course a good move because iterative marketing efforts for clients is a much, much better business model than “I will build you a website and you will go away.”


Brett Curry: It totally makes sense, and you never get things right the first time. There’s going to be this iteration and this adjustment, so that totally makes sense. What’s interesting, Michael, is that I have a lot of friends in this space. I don’t know if it’s just because I come from this background or if it’s just a trend, but I know several people in the digital marketing and search marketing space specifically that are former direct response marketers. People that did direct mail, people that did direct response TV. It’s interesting. I’ve always been a marketing junkie. I was the guy that watched infomercials just to see the pitch and to hear the pitch. I think there’s a natural tie in from that into digital marketing today, which is interesting.


Michael Stricker: Yeah, I know writers and I know marketing people and I know merchandisers and lots of people who have made that segue, if you will. It’s sad to think that there’s a number of people who really didn’t make that bridge, but it’s all [crosstalk 00:03:38].


Brett Curry: It was before their time.


Michael Stricker: Yeah, they didn’t quite get across that or something, I don’t know.


Brett Curry:




Yeah. What’s interesting, and I love our topic today. We’re talking about Google Shopping, bricks and clicks, which I like how you described that. Looking at Google Shopping for local, looking at how Google Shopping can work on mobile and how important it is on mobile. Before we do that, there’s some big news, some major shakeup with Google and of course everybo- [inaudible 00:04:03]. You got some great data. I know you’re a data guy, so let’s look at that in just a minute. As we all know, Google has dropped the right rail ads. Now where it used to be one to three ads at the top and then you’d have the right rail ads, now those right rail ads are gone. You’ve got now up to four showing up at the top, of course product listing ads or Google Shopping is still right there either at the top or top right depending. What’s your take on this, Michael? Any theories on why? What are some of the data points we’re seeing now because of this?


Michael Stricker: Why? Because. Google can do [crosstalk 00:04:49].


Brett Curry: Because I said so and I’m Google.


Michael Stricker: Google has stated flatly that their view of online marketing and of search is that mobile first. It’s all about mobile first. This is, in most people’s estimation, the primary reason why Google has done this is to put everything basically into one continuous column. It very responsively moves over into a mobile presentation, makes similar expectations from one kind of device to another about what you’re going to see and how you’re going to see it. Some more cynical types might look at it and say, “Google is doing this …”


Brett Curry: Are there cynical types in search marketing? I didn’t know.


Michael Stricker:




No such thing. End result will be, if you own an auction and you reduce the inventory, you’re likely to increase the bids. In the end, Google looks to make more money. Ask Google about it. They’re not talking about that. Google may say, “We are going to actually improve click rates on existing inventory by doing this.” Who could argue with that? The issue is if I am a smaller etailer, if I’m somebody who runs maybe a few locations and is doing a limited number of things in Google Shopping or something or I’m trying to buy that bottom inventory and ads, I don’t have a lot of money to bid, then you might feel a little bit left out. I don’t really think there’s a big cause for alarm right now.


Brett Curry: Yeah. I think you’re spot on. I think the mobile assessment is right on. They’re trying to make it basically the same on all platforms. Google doesn’t do anything without testing it a lot. I remember seeing this in the news and in the search engine world months and months ago that, hey, we’re seeing Google begin to test this, the four ads at the top and no right rail. I think we can make a couple assumptions on what this was going to do. If you were in position before this switch when number four was on the right-hand rail, now you’re going to see an increase because now number four is directly above the organics results. I think four is going to see most likely a clickthrough rate increase.


You’ve got some awesome data on product listing ads. I think it makes sense that now product listing ads are on their own if they’re on the upper right, nothing below them. They’re going to likely see a bump as well. If you’re below position four, though, like you said, smaller merchants, if someone’s saying, “Hey, we want to live in position five and six and get what we get from that.” Now you’re at the bottom of the page, you’re potentially going to see a drastic reduction in clicks. We’ll see.


Michael Stricker:




“Oh, great. I get impressions, but I am never seen,” that’s not necessarily where you want to be. Statistically, it’s just recently saw great data from WordStream. They pulled from their own users and they’ve illustrated this graphically. If you have a sec, I’ll just run through some of this stuff.


Brett Curry: I think it’s fascinating. I love it.


Michael Stricker: Is part of opening of the right rail … This is completely speculative on my part, this isn’t even the WordStream data. Is opening up the right rail going to provide more real estate for Google to, say, add more PLA ads? Maybe, right? Sure. They would love to show more ads and make more revenue, so that’s possible. Is it also possible that it will open up additional ad types? In particular, we might take some of the … This is seen a lot in very competitive keyword spaces, hot brand and product keywords and things. When the temperature cools down a little bit, would we possibly see some of the answer box kinds of items [crosstalk 00:08:54] items, which are now paid real estate in some cases. I think finance and some of the insurance kinds of things. Is it possible that this will become a new ad vehicle? Sure. Why not? PLA started out free and Google made them a paid item, so all of this is possible.










Getting beyond the speculation to some data, will clickthrough rates improve for Google Shopping ads? It’s pretty clear that within just weeks since this change in the service went live that the Shopping clickthrough rates have increased in general across, I believe the number was looking at two thousand different keyword sets. WordStream provided the data that average across all eCommerce accounts, Shopping clickthrough rates were approaching 2%, which was a good advance for them. The clickthrough rates for regular AdWords text ads was resting about 1.6%. 120% higher returns, clickthroughs on Shopping ads, great. Largely probably because just eliminating clutter, making it easier to make a decision and decisions get made.


Brett Curry: Exactly. Take away options and then now you can guess what’s going to happen.


Michael Stricker: [crosstalk 00:10:50] about adding options and what it turns out is to get a decision. A lot of times it’s about reducing options. Then they also came up with this data from that same set, Shopping’s share of clicks. Of the clicks that occur on the page, how many of them are going to fall to Shopping? That’s already up as well from about 24.5% to about 28.5%. That’s a pretty good [crosstalk 00:10:51].


Brett Curry: That’s a big jump in that short period of time.


Michael Stricker: Mm-hmm (affirmative). That, of course, Shopping people are cheering right now.


Brett Curry: Absolutely.


Michael Stricker: The cost per clicks, next question or maybe even the first question in a lot of people’s minds. I don’t really have a whole lot to say about that and I don’t think a lot of people do except to say, “Well, we’re not really expecting drastic changes, but cost per clicks Google says unlikely to change, but reduced real estate, all the aforementioned reasons, yeah, it’s likely to go up. How much it goes up and how long it takes to get there is anybody’s guess. [crosstalk 00:11:32]


Brett Curry: Yeah, it’s anybody’s guess.


Michael Stricker: There’s places for people to go, things for people to do that are going to make this less of an issue.


Brett Curry:





I think it’s interesting. If you look at CPCs, the costs are on the rise for the most part anyway. Text ads, Shopping Ads, it’s on the rise for the most part, and so you’d think that this would impact that at least a little bit. I think it’s fascinating. To recap that, clickthrough rates for shopping even in just the weeks, week-ish, whatever the time has been since this change was made, went from 1.86% to almost 2% clickthrough rate, is that right, for Shopping? Then share of clicks went from 24.5% to 28.5%, somewhere in there. Fascinating. If you were ever wondering about, “Hey, our product listing ad is here to stay,” which I don’t think many people were wondering that. Everybody’s pretty convinced that they’re powerful for eCommerce merchants. Another strong case to get on that platform. Interesting.


I know you had brought up some points because as we were looking at notes leading up to the show, talking about remarketing lists for search ads and customer match and then Google Shopping and how you might utilize those together or how you might choose one or the other. Thoughts on that on remarketing lists for search ads, customer match, and Google Shopping?


Michael Stricker: Google suggests the remarketing options and audience matching as an alternative. It’s sort of like they’re throwing this out as a conciliatory gesture to people who may feel squeezed out of that right rail, but they could be doing these other methods. Yes. You could be. As a matter of fact, you’d be crazy not to getting your feet wet, at least, trying these things out. Remarketing, however you choose to do it, watching, and retargeting people who simply, at the very least, bounce off of your order page. Chase them down. Follow them out the door and down the street and do what you can to bring them back again. Then think about how you can limit that. You don’t want to badger to [crosstalk 00:13:52] and spend, spend, spend.


Brett Curry: You’ll become the stalker.



Michael Stricker:


Yeah. We’ve all seen that. Making sure that those ads appear … For instance, we talked about other channels where they can appear. Some of the additional Google real estate in their networks where you ads may appear in Gmail, perhaps, or even on YouTube maybe for some particular products. That’s all awesome stuff and you should be doing that probably anyway, at least testing it out. In addition to that, audiences, I don’t know about you. I’ve talked to a few people who started doing the audiences, and frankly, I’m not getting enough feedback from them about how well it’s working. Either it’s not working great and they’re not comfortable talking about it or it’s working so well that they don’t want to tell me or anybody else. [crosstalk 00:14:49]


Brett Curry: I think it’s probably the first option. I’ve talked to a lot of agencies and of course we run an agency. We’ve done a little bit of customer match, but not that much. Remarketing, obviously we do that for almost everybody, and remarketing lists for search ads. If anybody doesn’t know what RLSAs are, remarketing lists for search ads, that’s where you’re using your remarketing list so often we recommend that a customer use Google Analytics to generate that remarketing list. Now you’re telling Google, “If someone is on our remarketing list,” that could be someone who visited a product page, someone who, like Michael said, got to the cart but did not complete the transaction, and now they’re searching again for something we offer, some we are eligible to show an ad for in Google search, then we will pay more for that person because we know they’ve been to our site. We know they gone through the process.







We’re also seeing remarketing lists for search ads are available for Google Shopping, so combining this I think is a good idea. You’re running now you’ve got your Shopping feed. Now someone’s searching for the auto parts that I sell or they’re searching for the apparel that I sell and I know that they’ve been on my site before or I know they’ve purchased from me before, I’ll bid more on that individual. Using those remarketing lists to fuel your text ads and shopping ads. Cool stuff.


Michael Stricker: What do you usually recommend to people as far as an upbid for that? Is there some benchmark that you use for that?


Brett Curry: Yeah. I don’t think there’s a magic number. To give a range, I mean, it’s anywhere from 20% to 300%, just depending on how aggressive someone wants to be and what type of product they’re selling. I would say in the 20% to 100% range would be pretty common, where you would say, “Hey, if it’s someone that’s been a customer before and they’re searching, so that must mean they don’t know I offer this. I want to make sure they see my ad.” I’d say in that 20 to 100% is pretty common, but you’ve got to experiment with it, just like anything else in search, I think.


Michael Stricker: Right. Item price and all the rest of it. Sure.


Brett Curry: Yeah, absolutely. Let’s talk about a couple things. Let’s look at mobile, let’s look at local. Maybe we’ll start with local first. There’s definitely a growing number. What’s interesting, I also got my start with local businesses and then I moved into eCommerce and started working with a lot of pure play. eCommerce companies still do, of course. There’s also this trend for the local store to now start to offer online offerings. We were just talking to a manufacturer. Locally, they manufacture for the mid-west region in this particular vertical and they’ve got a lot of their resellers are saying, “Hey, how do we sell online now?” There’s that trend. What are you seeing? What are you hearing along the lines of Google Shopping for local stores? The local inventory ads. Maybe explain what that is first.


Michael Stricker:



Yeah, sure. We’ve all probably seen this and maybe haven investigated it real thoroughly, but if you look in Google Shopping ads and you’d say you get the carousel or you get your list of three in your mobile device, and you see a small banner. Now I think they’ve change it a little bit and there’s a little banner up in the upper right corner, like a little blue thing says, “Find it locally,” or, “Shop locally.” In your desktop, which depending on how well Google has located you, may or may not appear because it has to do with their perception of where you are and what kinds of keywords you’re using to search. Oh, wait, why aren’t we talking about keywords? We’re talking about Google Shopping, but as a matter of fact, if you’re using terms like, “Where can I find this,” or, “How can I buy this,” you’re going to get some results.


What this comes down to is you’ve got an ad with a special indicator. On the desktop it may be the little red map pin. In the Shopping on your phone it may be a little blue thing up in the corner, and it’s going to have local inventory. What happens when you click on these ads, as a searcher, you get shown a result that tells you, “Here’s the item that you were looking for. It’s available, it’s in stock at this location or this location,” if you have multiple locations, “nearby,” according to how Google is locating the searcher. It’s going to give them three alternatives for a conversion. You can have a call, they can get directions to find you, or if they prefer, they could actually simply buy the item online. The one hand you say, “Damn, I could drive traffic to my story. Would that be fantastic?”





Yes, you can. Also, you could get an online conversion, which is typically why people think of using Google Shopping I think in the first place. I think one of the things that I heard recently, Macy’s was using these kinds of Google local inventory ads and they were working well enough for them to sight a statistic along the lines of for every dollar that they were spending into that, they were getting back six, which is pretty good.


Brett Curry: That’s awesome.


Michael Stricker: 600%, pretty good return. They also, the person, the manager who was talking about it, made this flat statement, which I think runs against the grain for a lot of people who were in this space. That is they’re looking to integrate their store sales and their online commerce sales, their eCommerce sales. They want to have a single budget and they want to run it for all different forms of advertising, just find out what works without regard for the method of conversion. You know better than I, OmniChannel, marketing, attribution, figuring out all the many touches that it takes for your customer to finally make their mind up and actually buy the item. It’s all coming together.


If you are large eCommerce in your enterprise level or you’re one of these big stores, then this is a major undertaking. Google is encouraging you to try it and helping you get set up. Might be most difficult for the mid-range [inaudible 00:21:22] have many SKUs, not accustomed to integrating and looking at the attribution and the right analytics across all of that and managing it. It might be easier again at the lower end of the scale where you have a limited number of products and you can concentrate on them individually and you can manage this process. It’s not that difficult. When you think about the visibility that’s available from it, it’s just mind bending. It’s [crosstalk 00:21:52].


Brett Curry:


It’s pretty amazing. What’s so cool about this, and we’ve talk about this before on the show, where if you look at all consumers, but I think as you shift younger to millennials and you look at how do they like to buy? Are millennials primarily online shoppers or are they primarily brick and mortar shoppers? Do they like to feel things? Do they just buy stuff for convenience? What is it? The answer is yes. They like it all. They just want to buy. They think about commerce more than they think about eCommerce. I think that this blend of, “Hey, I’m looking for a pair of boots,” or, “I’m looking for a handbag and this particular kind. Oh, look. It’s available at the local store. I’m going to be out later, why don’t I go get it now or I can call?” Most, I guess, millennials don’t want to call. Some people, I still like to make phone calls on occasion, so that you make a phone call or buy it right there online. I love the options.


Michael Stricker: Yeah. Click to call is a hugely adopted option it turns out on mobile devices because it’s just intrinsic to the device. You are out there with your smartphone and you’re searching on the go. A lot of people who ordinarily … I couldn’t call my daughters and expect them to pick up their smartphone [crosstalk 00:23:07].


Brett Curry: So true.


Michael Stricker: They’ll text me a million times before they will ever pick up the phone. If it’s something that they want to buy, they’ll make that call to check on the availability or whatever.


Brett Curry: Yeah. I saw a meme on Facebook that it said, “I’m sorry I didn’t answer your call. That’s not why I have a phone.” I think it’s funny.


Michael Stricker: It makes phone calls.


Brett Curry:






Yeah. If you’re saying something that’s complex, larger ticket items, something like that where people like to make that phone call, it’s very powerful. From what I have seen, and you mentioned Macy’s, originally local inventory ads, this local version of Google Shopping was only available to a handful. It looks like they’re making it available to more. I don’t know at what level yet. One thing we’re recommending, so there are some things to think about in getting your local inventory updated to where you can at least let Google know if something is in stock or out of stock so there’s some considerations there.


One thing you can do, though, and we’ve helped a lot of merchants do this, is if you are running traditional Google Shopping ads, so the ad is just click, go to the product page, and hopefully make a purchase, but you have a local store, we recommend you take that Google Shopping feed, make a local campaign. We’ve got a client that sells Western wear. We’re the largest in the Midwest. They have said, “Hey, for this particular product line, if anybody is within a fifty mile radius we want to make sure we show up for that.” We set up a separate campaign. Our tradition Google Shopping campaigns, we’re measuring a return on AdSpin, we’re looking at cost per conversion, we’re looking at all the tradition metrics and making sure this thing is working. For this local ad, the whole idea is, “Hey, if anybody’s within fifty miles and they’re searching for one of our products, we want to make certain that they see us first.”


With this particular merchant, we chose some of their most popular items and just big like crazy. Again, only in a fifty mile radius, but we want to make sure if someone’s looking for boots and they’re near the store, they’ve got to see our ads. That’s worked actually very well. You can’t see the metrics on that like you would on a normal Google Shopping with actual sales, but you can see a lift in foot traffic. That’s a quick an easy way. I’m very excited about the local inventory ads, but for someone who either can’t get in or complexities are going to keep them out, you can just write a traditional Google Shopping campaign focused to your area and try to work with it that way, which is interesting.


Michael Stricker:



Whether you break out an entire different campaign or you decide to set up separate groups for this purpose and it makes it very, very easy to work on them and bid them separately from everything else. That’s fantastic. Talked briefly about if you’re a merchandising manager and you’re used to what happens in store and you’re thinking in terms of, it’s old fashioned concepts really, door busters and boss leaders and getting in-store traffic. It’s come back full circle and now you use the digital method to enact that, but you do bring a good point about driving the foot traffic now. Without tracking all of this OmniChannel, how am I going to know that my ads have driven that traffic in store and it resulted in that sale?


Just because of the visibility, the brand awareness, keeping yourself up foremost in people’s minds, there’s lots and lots of reasons why if you have a store in proximity you would want to do this. When I think about the mobile searches that I’ve done and seen and I’ve done lots of research about this and SEMrush has PLA data about this. The visibility falls to these kinds of mobile inventory ads at a higher rate. I mean, Google loves to present them. It’s all about inventory for … Excuse me, it’s all about revenue for them.


Brett Curry: Yes. It’s interesting … I’m sorry, go ahead, Michael.


Michael Stricker:






That’s okay. It’s revenue for them. It’s impressions for you. If we think about the stacking order, you’re in Google Shopping to begin with, you’re at the top. Those three things push almost everything off the bottom off something smaller than a phablet if you have a regular iPhone or Android phone, everything else is almost invisible already. You almost have to be there in the first place. When the presentation, say, even includes a map, which we’ve seen in some results, the local inventory PLAs are going to appear directly beneath the map with conversion options already visible. It’s just really stacking the odds in the favor of these vehicles, and that’s why you want to get in that car and ride.


Brett Curry: Yeah, it totally makes sense. If you are a consumer and you have any desire to purchase locally and you see that local inventory ad below the map and you’ve got different options for conversion, very enticing. I think it’s going to be gang busters for merchants. You talk about keywords. Obviously you come from search marketing background, led the team at SEMrush, which by the way still remains probably my very favorite SEO tool, SEMrush, I love it. Got some amazing PLA data all the time as we’re working with clients and analyzing their PLAs and how they grow and what their competitors are doing. We use SEMrush.


You talk about keywords. You talk about several things to consider with keywords. For those that have Google Shopping experience you know you don’t get to pick your keywords with Google Shopping. It’s all about what’s in your feed and what’s on your page. Google’s going to determine what you’re relevant for. You can’t add negatives, you can’t specify your keywords, but you get some great insights. You know keywords better than most people. How should someone running Google Shopping, looking at local ads, local inventory ads, how should they consider keywords? What should they consider when it comes to keywords? If you could talk about that that’d be great.


Michael Stricker: Yeah. I’ve read blog posts and I’ve talked to people who swear that it’s Google Shopping, keywords don’t matter. I did a webinar, I guess it was about a year ago.


Brett Curry: It is still query-based traffic, so I think keywords are going to matter.


Michael Stricker:


Who can blame them? The people who are eComms and they’re working this channel, Google Shopping, they don’t want to mess with the feed. The feed took time to set it up, it’s working fine. They just don’t want to doctor it, but there’s some things that you should know about the keywords that are going to help it work better. There’s, say, four columns within the feed where you could be peppering in very, very useful keywords and getting better impressions, getting shown more frequently, if I think about the title of the product or whatever, I’m thinking about brand. If it’s a store brand, then of course your store brand comes first. If it’s a manufacturer’s brand, that comes very much to the four, one of the first words that you should probably be including in your feed. That’s just very, very simple basic stuff.


When we see what Google loves to show, we see all the depth of information that becomes a long tail search term in the organic search world. That has to do with things like dimensions and colors and materials and gender and all of these things. If you’re not showing these things, and when I say showing, if you’re not including them in your feed, you’re missing a lot of opportunities to simply [peer 00:31:12]. That’s from the product side, that’s from the eComm side. From Google’s side of it, when we think about 55% and more of every search made these days is made using a smart phone or a mobile device. It’s tip the balance. If I really want to capture mobile searches, if I want to be visible for that, I have to deal with [GO Local 00:31:44], I have to deal with location of the stores. That’s why we talk about local inventory.


[00:32:00] Having some authority on a local basis on your pages is going to help Google to understand that, yes, you do have local outlets. Maybe it works better for smaller eComms with a few locations where they can build out some of this GO Local knowledge, work out their Google My Business, which they’re going to need anyway if they ever think about going into Google local inventory. Demonstrating through their keywords to Google that this location, this product page, this shopping ad is going to pay off in a big way for people who are in that vicinity. That’s a keyword-oriented kind of thing whether you choose to think of it that way or not. Having good local dominance, presence in Google My Business and all that, absolutely essential to winning that. When you win that, you win the top of the search engine result pages. That’s where you want to be.


Brett Curry: Yeah. It totally makes sense. I think looking at it from a couple different perspectives, one you want to make sure your feed is optimized and you’ve got, just like you said, if brand is important, putting that into your title, even working it into the description. There’s even a brand field that’s required by Google. Then some of the local factors, so if you’ve got … Google needs to look at your ad and your site and say, “This is relevant for this query.” If they’re looking at your site and they say, “Hey, this site is all about Philadelphia,” Michael you hail from the city of brotherly love, and so you try to go after some Philadelphia keywords, Google needs to know your page is about Philadelphia.






You also mention some interesting things in the notes that you’re sharing with me where as you’re thinking about location specific, region specific, if you want to show up for local inventory ads or maybe even just a Google Shopping ad that’s target to a particular area, what are some of the keyword examples? You had some fascinating ones I felt like where different words are used more in different locations.


Michael Stricker: It gets at product names [invernacular 00:34:14]. The example that I use on the organic side is very simple and it has to do with what you call a carbonated beverage. Where I come from, up here in the Northeast US, a carbonated beverage is a soda. If I go south and I’m on the east coast, somewhere around Atlanta, they’re going to call it Coke.


Brett Curry: All of it is Coke.


Michael Stricker: Everything. Orange soda, grape soda, it’s all Coke. If I go out West, they’re going to called pop. In the east coast we say, “No, pop is a sound. It’s not a drink.” That gets at something that … We’re not going to buy sodas in Google Shopping necessarily, but similar kinds of things apply. When I look for shoes and I look for shoes that are very popular, I can use a couple of Google tools to see where I could geotarget better. I could choose by using targeting within my AdWords to scope by radius or by metro area or even down to the city level. I can target my ads very, very definitely, and I may want to do this when I consider things like, well, gee. In Nome, Alaska, you can imagine that boots are enormously popular, but things like thongs and Nikes are just infinitesimal.


Brett Curry: Why would you have them?


Michael Stricker:



Yeah. The search volume is just not there and the trending, it’s not going up. However, of course and it makes sense if I go to Miami and I look at that east coast Florida area, thongs are popular. They’re popular year round, but even there Nikes are even more popular than thongs. Boots, would you believe? I mean, they are somewhat popular. If I use shopping insights and if it’s a fairly popular item, I can see and break down to the metro or the city level, the popularity levels for particular items for those areas and I can break it down by time of year, or seasonality is a big part of it. Climate makes a difference, language makes a difference. What I call something and what you call something. I was having a lot of fun looking for things like stripper heels and stiletto heels.


Brett Curry: Okay.


Michael Stricker: If I want strippers heels, it’s a big east coast, northern United States kind of phrase.


Brett Curry: Yeah. I’ve not heard that here in the Midwest.


Michael Stricker: Not in the Midwest, right.


Brett Curry: We call them flip flops, too, by the way. You mentioned thong, we call it a flip flop. That’s what we call it.


Michael Stricker: If I call it a thong then people wonder if it’s a form of a women’s underwear or if it’s [crosstalk 00:37:07].


Brett Curry: Exactly.


Michael Stricker:









That’s all … You can go down the rabbit hole doing a lot of research. However, if you use, and right now the only tool, if there are others somebody disavow me of this, but SEMrush has the only PLA data that I know of at scale where I can enter a competitor’s store, their domain name, and see all of the PLAs that are appearing in the first ten pages of Google results. Usually that’s only the first few pages anyway. I see the keywords for which Google is surfacing those ads. I can see the additional keywords that I could include on my pages, my conversion pages and such, that Google’s going to recognize and include and possibly give me some preference for to appear when I include things like … You know we talked about some of the details about items. We talk about things like gender. We talk about things that appear in the genuine queries used by people. You read that and you see what your competitors are using that are making them visible. It’s a no brainer. I would use those same kinds of terms.


Brett Curry: Yeah. What’s so interesting, and I love the PLA data and SEMrush. We use it all the time, my team uses it all the time. What we can do, you can find a competitor. Look at their top product listing ads. You see the picture, you see the title of that ad just like you would if you were looking in Google Shopping. You see the picture, the title, the price, and then the keyword just like you said. Here’s what’s interesting, so what you can conclude from that or what you can deduct from that is if you see this list of keywords that triggered that product listing ad for a competitor, if you don’t see that keyword in the title, but yet they’re still showing up for it, it means then that it’s somewhere else in the data feed. It’s in the description. It’s in one of the other data points. It’s on the landing page. Something like that.


It’s a great way … We use it for title benchmarking, where we say, “We’re not breaking through for this product. We’re not showing up for the keywords we want to show up for. Let’s see what our competitors are doing with their titles and what keywords are they showing up for?” It’s a fantastic tool for that. I love your data. What was the, just one more time, the Google tool you mentioned for looking at insights and drilling down into geographic areas an seasonality and things like that?


Michael Stricker:






There’s two ways. Shopping Insights is one. You’ll get a map and you can do all of the searching in there that you want to see. You may find that certain products are not represented, maybe they’re not popular enough. Google doesn’t collect all of the data and use it in that particular tool, but an old [inaudible 00:39:53] Google Trends. You can simply go in Trends and you can get a very, very similar view and that’s awesome. Thinking about what you call a product and how that name is only used in a very small area of Missouri, something like that. It could be very, very insightful. Thinking, too, about terms that [events 00:40:18] to Google, and I’m talking a little more about keywords, shows Google commercial intent and makes Google more prepared to show Google Shopping ads to begin with.


People using terms like “where can I buy?” “How can I find?” “Cheap,” “inexpensive,” and even funny terms that I never thought in a million years would show up as part of phrases that are generating Google Shopping ads, “less than $200,” “less than $100.” Things like diamonds, okay, diamond earrings, “fake diamond earrings that look real.” If that’s making your ads show up, we’re giggle about it, but those are the very real terms that very real people use and you need to think like they think.


Brett Curry: It’s fascinating. There’s so much more we could about this. We’re up against time. We actually went a little bit over, but this was good. I didn’t want to cut it off. We’ll have to do this again. I’ll have to get you back on the show at some point. I think to recap a couple of tools, so look at the Google Shopping Insights, look at Google Trends, it’s an old standby, fascinating information that you can find there. Certainly consider if you have a local store, how are you using Google Shopping to leverage foot traffic? Begin to investigate those local product ads. Then we’ve got a really cool offer. Michael is not in SEMrush anymore, but he still uses it and loves it just like I do. He’s arranged for a gift, a discount, or actually a free trial for all our listeners, which is awesome.


[00:42:00] Before we do that, though, Michael for those who just want to stay in touch with you and say, “Okay, I want to know what Michael is up to, I want to know what he’s learning, I want to know what he’s reading, I want to know what he’s doing,” how can they follow you on Twitter and other social locations?


Michael Stricker: Sure. Thanks for that. I’m on Twitter pretty frequently. I curate a lot of stuff. Hopefully it’s not too much for most people, but @RadioMS, that’s my Twitter handle. You can find me on Facebook, you can reach out by my name. I’m in Burlington, New Jersey near Philadelphia. Find me on Twitter and be happy to engage with you there.


Brett Curry: Lots of good stuff. You have your finger on the pulse of all things search marketing. You share some fantastic stuff. You’re one of my favorite follows on Twitter, and so I highly recommend that. Why don’t you explain, Michael, the free trial that you’ve arranged for listeners? We’ll have a link to this in the show notes, so if you’re interested listen to the podcast, whatever. Go to llamacommerceshow.com, click on this episode with Michael Stricker, and then there should be a link to get the free trial offer.


Michael Stricker: Cool. The free trial offer is a two-week trial. The product that SEMrush has the plan that includes PLA data is called a business level plan. That’s the plan that you can try for free for two weeks if you use the link. The link will appear. It’s a bit.ly link and I believe it’s all uppercase GOOGLESHP, for Shopping. That should get you access to it. From today you’ve probably got about two weeks to activate the trail, but if you wanted a trial SEMrush is about people a chance to check it out. If you get in touch with SEMrush people I’m sure they’ll be happy to help you out.


Brett Curry: Cool.


Michael Stricker: Thanks a lot, Brett.


Brett Curry: Okay, thanks, Michael and thanks everybody. Like always, let us know what you like, what you don’t like, what you want to see more of. Until next time, stay classy.


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