Google launches shopping ads on mobile image search

LAS VEGAS—Google is rolling out new shopping advertisements on image search, making it easier for consumers to browse and buy on smartphones, the search giant’s Vice President of Product Management for Shopping and Travel Jonathan Alferness announced Monday at the Shoptalk 2016 retail conference.

Ads for related products will now appear as shoppers browse Google Images, enabling consumers to purchase items from retail advertisers. All ads are automatically eligible to show on image search as part of the Google Search Network, Google noted in a blog post published Monday.

“We’re launching shopping ads on image search to answer the question, ‘Where can I buy something like this?’” Alferness said, noting that 81% of home décor shoppers browsing pictures use Google Images and 40% visit a store or site as a result of seeing a YouTube brand video or ad.

Alferness also announced the introduction of new store pickup links to Google-hosted local product pages, enabling shoppers to see which nearby retailers offer buy-online, in-store pickup options. Kohl’s, a participant in Google’s store pickup pilot program, experienced a 40-50% increase in clicks from its Google local storefront to the Kohl’s site with the addition of the new feature, according to Alferness.

Moreover, merchants who use Google local inventory ads may now make their inventory searchable on via the local Knowledge Panel, where consumers already access information like store hours and directions.

Google unveiled the new features in response to increasing consumer activity across the mobile platform: As of 2016, 34% of online retail purchases across the U.S. happen on mobile, Alferness said.

“Mobile has completely changed the way all of us shop and the way we live,” Alferness said. “We no longer go online. In fact, we’re living online.”

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Filed Under: Technology E-commerce