With more and more people whipping out a smartphone to do a bit of online shopping or holiday planning, Google has released new ad formats to help advertisers capitalise on this trend. In fact, year on year, mobile searches in these verticals has increased by 30%.

Preparing for the holiday season (not the hot one)

Yes, I know it’s only July, but already, marketers across the globe are planning for the ‘cold holiday season’, AKA Christmas.

Shopping and travel related searches pick up from around October onwards, so it’s important to be prepared well in advance, and to get to grips with any new tools or features at your disposal.

Retail

Showcase Shopping Ads

When browsing for ideas, particularly when buying for others, users may search for broader terms, like ‘ladies shoes’ or ‘men’s clothing’.

Currently, Google will serve up a load of options that show one specific product ad from a selection of advertisers, that is unlikely to be relevant to the user. The new ‘Showcase Shopping Ads’ however, will provide a more in-depth “visually rich experience” showcasing multiple related products grouped by brands, like in the example below:

Showcase Shopping Ads - Google mobile features - browser media

This means that retailers can can now showcase their entire collection in a visually rich experience – encouraging the shopper to visit the site and part with their hard earned cash.

All merchants in the UK, US and Australia will be eligible to have their products automatically appear in Showcase ads in the coming weeks. And if they can afford it, merchants can sign up to a premium version that allows them to customize how their brand and products appear, to curate the experience for shoppers.

Price extensions

Another new feature is price extensions. These new ad extensions show as multiple rows, providing valuable information to your prospective customers before they click on your ad – but bear in mind that the extension will only show on mobile ads in position 1 at this time.

As each row features a type of product or service, its description and price, and a link to a relevant landing page, you can easily add multiple products or services that your customers frequently search for.

Price extensions - Google mobile features - browser media

According to the AdWords blog, this is due to roll out in the next few days.

Travel

The travel industry benefits hugely from mobile search. From people planning holidays on their commute, to others who have found themselves stranded and in need of a hotel, having a smartphone to perform these actions on the go has given the industry a massive boost. According to Google, conversion rates on mobile have grown by 10%, with mobile making up 40% of total travel web traffic in Q1.

Back in March, Google introduced a new travel planning experience for users searching on mobile. Searches for [location] + destinations / +vacations provide the user with a rich experience and range of options relating to that location. This appeared to only be especially relevant to users in the US as ‘holiday’ terms will not display the same information; searching ‘Spain holidays’ on your mobile in the UK for example, will not present the same results.

Google is due to roll out more new features soon including:

Hotels

Smart Filters:

The new smart filters will allow users to perform really granular searches, meaning that they can find the perfect hotel based on their specific needs. Users will be able to filter based on rating or price with a single tap on their phones. They also claim that hotel matches for even very specific searches can be easily presented, like ‘adult only hotel Ibiza under £300’.

Hotel Deals:

Hotels can now easily display offers – perfect if there are a few rooms available that week that need filling! Users will see a ‘Deal’ label when a hotel’s price is lower than usual. The good news is, these deals are automatically identified by Google algorithms when it sees a significant reduction in price, and – even better – Google reports that hotels marked with the ‘deal’ label received about twice as many bookings as other hotels in early tests!

Hotel Tips:

Google may show ‘Tips’ to people who could save money or find better availability by being flexible with dates.

Flights

Price tracking:

A new alert feature in Google Flights that can help price-conscious travellers stay on top of changing flight fares will be rolled out soon. This means that Instead of having to continually check prices, people can now opt in to track fare changes for a date and route combination, or track specific flights being considered. These alerts can be sent straight to their email, and Google Now cards.

What impact will these changes have?

These changes are clearly great for users, as they provide relevant information quickly when they are on the go. However, businesses that do not participate in Google advertising programmes may find themselves losing out.

In addition, any businesses that are reliant on Google organic traffic may find positions slipping further and further as page one positions on mobile are dominated by more and more types of search result.