Google is rolling out shoppable ads to search results on Google Images, taking on Amazon, Instagram, and Pinterest in visual search (Business Insider)
- Google is piloting shoppable adverts on broad search queries of Google Images (e.g. ‘home office ideas’ or ‘abstract art’) on a small percentage of traffic with retailers which could lead to a significant business opportunity as Google held 71% of the US search ad market in 2018.
- Google’s president of Global Partnerships Daniel Alegre said 50% of online shoppers were motivated to buy a product after seeing its image.
- Pinterest was an early provider of such a service, allowing customers to place ‘Pins’ on items they want, however competitors such as Instagram and Amazon are looking to further enhance their visual search offering.
Analysis & Comments
- People have argued before that as (digital) consumers are now faced with a vast amount of choices across categories, inspirational content can play a key role in attracting (and holding) their attention.
- Instagram has become the dominant platform for such content (primarily created and promoted by influencers) and we think that at least for now, it will be able to use the fact that it has influencer profiles which people can actively follow to its advantage.
- Currently, Instagram and Google occupy different stages of the consumer’s purchasing journey: Google is mainly used when the intent to purchase is already there (you just need to do research and figure out what or where), while Instagram’s focus is on creating visually appealing content around products/ brands that incentivises people to browse brand/ influencer profiles and make purchases they weren’t necessarily intending to when they started. Through the ability to follow profiles, it also enables them to self-select which inspirational content they would like to see in their feed without having to start the search from scratch every time.
- However, Google’s reach & importance throughout the purchasing journey is undisputed, and their new focus on incentivising people to use it for inspiration/ to discover new brands and products will certainly have an impact – particularly with customers who do not have social media profiles.