Article

Jessica Neary
Jessica Neary 18 June 2019

Local Inventory Ads: An Untapped Opportunity

Local Inventory Ads (LIAs) have been a key player in the digital marketing landscape since 2016. However, although arguably no longer new, they still prove tough to manage, especially during busy trading periods for retailers. Find out how your business can benefit from using this ad format in your digital marketing efforts immediately.

Local Inventory Ads (LIAs) have been a key player in the digital marketing landscape since 2016. However, although arguably no longer new, they still prove tough to manage, especially during busy trading periods for retailers.

Since LIAs have been around long enough for us to notice, we know this isn’t necessarily due to sales growth; but shows more correlation related to the increase in competition and share of wallet. This is especially the case in the search landscape, where we see an increase in competition across the whole of retail.

Many feel the challenge is caused by Amazon’s dominance across all categories in retail, and with further signs of it only getting tougher. With the addition of new agile pure play retailers coming to the market, those who are suffering the most include many traditional high street brands. Examples of the demise of the high street include retailers such as Marks and Spencer’s and House of Fraser with their ever-increasing decline in stores.

Multichannel retailers need to look to find how they can use digital to support store presence and win in areas where Amazon cannot play. With the current performance of Google LIAs and Microsoft Bing now rolling out their equivalent in the US, now is the perfect time as any to launch.

The Benefits of Google Local Inventory Ads

Our multichannel brands who have been early adopters of Google’s LIAs are seeing strong performance, especially when comparing to the traditional Product Listing Ad (PLA) formats. Some of the benefits of LIAs include:

  • Upwards of 100% more demand, driven by a mobile first customer and less competition in the search engine results page
  • On average cost per clicks are 35% lower in the space due to less competition
  • Conversion rate can be as much as 20% higher, if the retailer offers click and collect options
  • Due to higher conversion rate, Return on Investment (ROI) from LIAs is more compelling, upwards of 30% lower
  • The only metric which struggles to perform in a LIAs context is click-through rate. However, this is typically because there is less competition, with multiple products being exposed for the same item.

Are You Taking Advantage of LIAs?

 

Local Inventory Ad Screenshot

  • Although Google LIAs launched in 2016, many brands are still failing to launch with local inventory ads on Google
  • Brands should be acting fast taking advantage of the performance that we have seen on Google in addition to the pending rollout on Microsoft’s (Bing’s) equivalent version
  • Quite often this can be due to the lack of availability of the real-time store inventory data required
  • Other limiters can also be the high cost that working with a feed management provider charging you additional costs which you multiply exponentially based on number of products and stores you are publishing

Top 4 tips for Launching with Local Inventory Ads

  1. Set clear objectives and KPIs – ensure that your KPIs and objectives are different to Product Listing Ads, due to the expectation that this will drive higher store collection rates
  2. Create a LIA compliant feed – ensure your feed provider can support the inventory feed requirements, including store stock levels by store
  3. Treat LIAs like a new channel – separate out your Adwords structure to enable different optimisation and clear reporting. This will also enable you to replicate when Microsoft’s version is ready in your market
  4. Measuring beyond the initial click – understand your true collection rate to accurately measure success and optimise based on customers who have picked up their product following reservation 

Sources:

Retail sales growth

Marks and Spencer’s to close another 110 stores

Microsoft Bing comes out of beta

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