Comparison Shopping From The User POV

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) hosts PPCChat with another great question set titled “Comparison Shopping From The User POV.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: Aside from price, why is comparison shopping such a huge phenomenon?

  • Because I almost always find options and options are fun. – Kyle Crocker (@kacrocker)
  • Shoppers want to make sure they’ve done all their research – including looking at further inventory, rewards, etc. – Matt Umbro
  • Information is power, and consumers have access to way more data to compare. – Gil Hong (@_GilHong)
  • It’s very satisfying to score a deal, so shopping for a bargain is like a game. – Frederick Vallaeys (@siliconvalaeys)
  • Comparison shopping is not just about price. It’s about inspiration, making sure you have THE best product, the best deal out there. – Katie Mullins (@katiemuffins)
  • Getting a great deal is almost as rewarding as getting the item. – Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
  • CSEs are visual. We are a visual people. – Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
  • Psychology. People want to get the best deal & they feel like putting effort towards finding it is rewarding. Also, comparison shopping is way easier than it has ever been ~ Thanks, interwebs. – Meisha Bochicchio (@MarketingMeisha)
  • For me personally, I want to make sure I’ve surveyed the entire landscape. – Matt Umbro
  • There’s that sense of euphoria you get when you know you didn’t get ripped off. Like you beat the system in a small way. – Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
  • FOMO. I will look at an item like 6 different times to make sure I’m not missing something better, or at a better price. – Brooke Townsend (@btownsend13)
  • Shoppers care about other options like quality, shipping time, shipping price as well as product price. – Jacob Baadsgaard (@jakebaadsgaard)
  • Everyone wants to win! If you find a killer deal if feels like you win, so everyone looks for that deal. – Travis Johnson (@PPCSuperSaiyan)
  • And nobody wants buyer’s remorse– finding an even better deal 5 seconds after buying a product is a slap in the face. – Katie Mullins
  • Comparison shopping sets the user at ease that they made the right choice. But it hopefully wasn’t a counterfeit. – Mary Hartman (@PPCHartman)
  • It’s in our DNA to maximize our available resources. Comparison shopping satisfies that. – John Smiley (@ppclocal)
  • To make sure you’re getting the best deal! – Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
  • Nothing more painful than spending hard-earned $$ on a product then learn of a better option, or worst yet, a better price. – Brittany Magnin (@brittmagnin)

Q2: What is one thing you wish comparison shoppers knew as they as they went through the process? Why?

  • That sometimes the products they are looking at are not apples to apples comparisons. such as quantity, free shipping, etc. – David Cox (@dcoxdesigns)
  • Service is often hard to vet in comparison shopping (i.e. return policies, shipping speed, etc.). – Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
  • Strictly speaking from a travel perspective, the price you see isn’t always the price you pay. Taxes, fees, etc. – Meisha Bochicchio
  • Hunting for deals is fun for some, and a chore for others. Sometimes quality & trust trumps a good deal, IMHO. – Mary Hartman
  • The difference btwn paid and non-paid placements: help them make more informed decisions to know when they are being marketed. – Kyle Crocker
  • Really believe options would be most helpful to get the user through the journey. – Jason Dodge (@dodgejd)
  • Considering my own parents don’t know what I do, some appreciation for what we do would be nice. – Gil Hong
  • That remarketing done correctly, is supposed to help the purchase cycle, not hinder it. – Matt Umbro
  • There is such a thing as MAP pricing. If all CSE retailers are at/near same price, reach out to see about getting better deal. – Kirk Williams
  • Anytime I tell people what remarketing is they hate it, primarily because of the stalking effect. – Matt Umbro
  • I wish people were able to understand the full economic value to make better decisions, e.g. value of supporting local shops. – Frederick Vallaeys
  • Seeing an annoying remarketing ad after purchase is wrong. They did it wrong. The list is screwy. Not normal unless an upsell! – Mary Hartman

Q3: Aside from special offers, how can advertisers best remarket to shoppers?

  • Should be PPC 101, but be strategic in showing the most specific products/services to what people actually viewed. – Timothy Jensen
  • It goes outside of PPC for me. If you can tie PPC with email marketing there’s some magic. – Steve Slater
  • Ensure the remarketing list is set up correctly to remove people once they purchase. – Jacob Baadsgaard
  • Utilize UX signals (3+ page visits, etc) and Micro-conversion to build lists (i.e., chat requests, newsletter signups, etc). – Kirk Williams
    • Use these user signals to feed your email automation and your social PPC = tons of behavior based touches. – Steve Slater (@TheSteve_Slater)
  • Time your offers to lifecycle of product. Amazon doesn’t need to show me Beard Balm today when I just bought some last week. – James Svoboda
  • We auto upload a feed of emails into a new FB audience that’s been really effective for rmkting. – Josiah Colt (@_kingjosiah_)
  • Sometimes remarketing is just about reaching people at the right time/right place. Just gotta stay in front of them. – Robert Brady
  • There should be a way to let the user say “no thanks, I already bought it elsewhere” so that annoying remarketing ads stop. – Frederick Vallaeys
  • Remarket to increase LTV. Show similar products or products they may be interested. No offer needed. – JD Prater (@jdprater)
  • Upselling, Cross-selling, Comparison to name a few, but sometimes you need to know when to call it quits. – Gil Hong
  • Use exclusion lists, for real. And use frequency caps. Stop doing it wrong. – Mary Hartman
  • Use appropriate frequency caps & cookie lengths for your product or service… AKA, don’t be annoying. – Meisha Bochicchio
  • Remarket with “next-step” items. They bought a guitar. Now they need a case, picks, chords, pedals, etc. – Joe Martinez
  • “You may also like…” instead of repeating the same products. Value their interests and obtain loyal customers. – Brittany Magnin
  • Remarketing based on need. They buy 60 day supply, you should be back in their view day 55 asking “time to refill?” – Dallas Stevens (@DDP_PPC)
  • Try upsells / downsells / cross-sells. – Rohan Ayyar (@searchrook)
  • Remarketing should be used to move people down the funnel based on their behaviors. – JD Prater (@jdprater)
  • Remarket your best/useful content as a nice reminder why they love your brand and help them in the decision process. – Josiah Colt
  • Be relevant. Retarget specific products / services & use exclusion lists so you aren’t hitting converted customers right away. – Meisha Bochicchio
  • I’m a big fan of remarketing to previous customers. Build customer advocates and evangelists. – JD Prater

Q4: How can text ads best combat the natural inclination of shoppers to look at PLAs first?

  • I think you know my answer…ad customizers!! – Matt Umbro
  • Ad customizers and damn good ad copy. It won’t work unless you really stand out from competitors. – Brooke Townsend
  • Personally I opt for text ads over PLAs when the ad highlights the variety of relevant products/ services I’m looking for. – Katie Mullins
  • Unique Ad Copy & Extensions that directly addresses pain points or advantages. Helps compliment PLA, Show Selection. – Hannah Alexander (@HanXela)
  • Don’t fight it. Shopping is 66% of market now. Invest your time in Shopping where people are, and utilize Text Ads for clean up. – Kirk Williams
    • Make sure to grab those converting Shopping queries and put into text ad campaigns! – Matt Umbro
    • You can also use text ads for what your Shopping ads can’t say. Almost using them as an add-on. – Brooke Townsend
  • Use all the extensions! Also adding in USPs beyond price help as well. – Gil Hong
  • Shopping ads are 1 product, Text Ads can represent options, colors, styles, etc.for the undecided. Use that to your advantage. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • Text ads can enhance your marketing efforts when you have PLA, Text ad and organic results in top slots. – David Cox
  • Get those ratings extensions! And if you know you have the best prices put them in your product ad headlines. – Joe Martinez
  • Text ads work well w/ RLSA for users who have recently purchased a similar item. Let’s bring ’em back to explore new items to love! – Katie Mullins
  • Focus on customer service, locations, returns, etc. Touch on human benefits in non-PLAs. Highlight brands for browsing shoppers. – Mary Hartman
  • Value props & good ad copy. I still get tons of assisted conv from shopping and cross device conv. Cover all bases. – Dallas Stevens

Q5: How educated about online marketing efforts do you think the average online shopper is? Why?

  • I wish I had numbers on this. I think the avg shopper varies by age. – Steve Slater
  • Likely not very. From anecdotal experience, most people outside industry don’t know Google Shopping is all paid. – Timothy Jensen
  • Due to bad practices I believe the average consumer is confused how remarketing works and is slightly creeped out by it. – Ilana Cherniss (@ICherniss)
  • Definitely not that educated. I secretly love when I hear people say “these products keep following me around!” – Brooke Townsend
  • I think people now recognize Google and Amazon as household names. – Gil Hong
  • People don’t like advertising in general. – James Svoboda
  • I’d be willing to bet shoppers that are younger and have grown up being marketed to while being on the web are more aware. – Steve Slater
  • Within the last year a report showed 50% of adult internet users can’t identify ads vs organic. ‘Nuf said. – Katie Mullins
  • I believe the majority share are very uneducated unless they’re in the field. They use the tool to get what they need. – Jason Dodge
  • People aren’t as freaked out by remarketing as they once were – they now accept it as the price for shopping online. – Matt Umbro
  • Very minimal. Most don’t understand the concept of remarketing or what we’re trying to accomplish. – JD Prater
  • I believe there was a report showing over 50% don’t know that they’re clicking on an ad. – Brooke Townsend
  • Gut feeling is they are VERY undeducated. Facebook demotes clickbait in feed because average user has no clue this is spam. – Frederick Vallaeys
  • I think those that are very aware are the ones that use ad blockers. They are annoyed by the experience. – Steve Slater
  • It’s amazing how many general marketers don’t even know what we do. The public is far below that. – Joe Martinez
  • I’d bet a lot of shoppers don’t know that PLAs are ads. They’re just pretty pictures with prices & links. – Mary Hartman
  • I know which ones are ads and still click them. Gets me right to the product page & probably the best price. – Robert Brady
  • Techie Millennials are more aware, but most everyone else is relatively clueless and rather uninterested in learning more. – Brittany Magnin

Q6: How do you believe online shopping will continue to evolve?

  • The barrier of entry is really low when it comes to marketing today. We have to be good to stand out. – Steve Slater
  • I believe we will continue to see more subscription services…essentially remarketing at time of purchase. – Matt Umbro
  • I think over time Google will wait until Shopping is better utilized by advertisers and then have it slowly take over the SERPs. – Katie Mullins
  • More broader scope, but we won’t just be selling products. We’re selling ourselves.Even more than now, w/ increased competition. – Brooke Townsend
  • More standardization of data from manufacturers, inducing more images, will help. Then shoppers can focus on what matters. – James Svoboda
  • I would hope that online shopping will only continue to become more relevant and timely and not the opposite. – Meisha Bochicchio
  • Google has already expanded into images and maps, and it will look to amplify its presence just as we have seen with text ads. – Katie Mullins
  • I also see more one-click and/or easier payment methods coming. – Matt Umbro
  • Standardization in shopping, check out, shipping policies, etc. Google is already testing this. – Gil Hong
  • The future of shopping ads… AMAZON. Same day delivery, dash buttons…. Amazon won’t care about CRO in the future. – Steve Slater
  • We all know Shopping will take over the SERP. Fill that page up! – Brooke Townsend
  • I think eventually the buying power will be more in the SERP so users don’t ever need to leave Google. – Katie Mullins
  • Audiences will continue to gain importance. Who’s using email lists to remarket to shoppers? Who could be doing it more often? – Mary Hartman
  • Also want to throw in that we’ll likely see more relevant info supplied to the consumer like Knowledge Graph PLAs. – Gil Hong
  • I’m echoing others, but I think the biggest evolutions will be in streamlining checkout on mobile from the ad. – Hannah Alexander
  • Probably more non-specific products (coffee) and services (plumbers) with more visual presence, price and ratings. – Kyle Crocker (@kacrocker)
  • One click check-out process / generally easier check-outs. – Meisha Bochicchio
  • To compete w/ users turning to apps, Google needs to keep SERPs as the go-to place. Relevant ads will be better promoted by Google. – Katie Mullins
  • Have I mentioned that I think Amazon will rule the future of product shopping? – Steve Slater
  • I wouldn’t be surprised to see GDN-like audiences eventually hit Shopping Ads in Google/Bing. – Kirk Williams

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More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.


Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• James Svoboda (@Realicity)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Brittany Magnin (@brittmagnin)
• Brooke Townsend (@btownsend13)
• Dallas Stevens (@DDP_PPC)
• David Cox (@dcoxdesigns)
• Frederick Vallaeys (@siliconvalaeys)
• Gil Hong (@_GilHong)
• Hannah Alexander (@HanXela)
• Ilana Cherniss (@ICherniss)
• Jacob Baadsgaard (@jakebaadsgaard)
• Jason Dodge (@dodgejd)
• JD Prater (@jdprater)
• Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
• John Smiley (@ppclocal)
• Josiah Colt (@_kingjosiah_)
• Katie Mullins (@katiemuffins)
• Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
• Kyle Crocker (@kacrocker)
• Mary Hartman (@PPCHartman)
• Meisha Bochicchio (@MarketingMeisha)
• Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
• Rohan Ayyar (@searchrook)
• Steve Slater (@TheSteve_Slater)
• Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
• Travis Johnson (@PPCSuperSaiyan)

Streamcaps from my POV

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; works at WebRanking in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Connect with Paul @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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