What are Local Inventory Ads for Google Shopping?
by Ben Culpin, on Apr 15, 2019 5:00:00 AM
8 out of 10 customers report that they are less likely to go to a store if they can’t view inventory levels online in advance.
Combine this with the fact that 33% of all Google searches are location-based and you can start to see the importance of Local Inventory ads.
So if you are a brick-and-mortar store, what can you do about this to ensure you are attracting both in-store and ecommerce shoppers?
That is the issue that Local Inventory ads are trying to solve. This article briefly outlines what they are, and how Google Shopping users can implement them to reach out to a new and engaged audience.
What do Local Inventory ads do?
Local inventory ads showcase your products and store information to nearby shoppers searching on Google. When they click on your ad, they arrive on a Google-hosted page for your store, called the Local Storefront (see image from Google below).
If local shoppers don’t know that you have the products they want in stock and nearby, the chances are that they'll just turn to Amazon instead.
So these ads are way to show your in-store inventory, provide store hours and directions to direct that traffic your way instead.
What are the benefits of local inventory ads?
- They promote your inventory: Let local shoppers know that your store has the items they’re looking for, at the moment they search on Google.
- Build the presence of your store: It's more important than ever for brick-and-mortar stores to build their online presence. LIAs let you build a Google-hosted local storefront as a robust, digital local storefront experience.
- Measure performance: Use the data from you LIAs to assess the impact your digital output has on physical traffic and in-store purchasing.
- Available on all appliances (computers, smartphones, tablets), Local Inventory Ads makes your product catalogue significantly more visible and thus improves the purchasing process of your customers, who are using more and more devices.
- More purchasing flexibility for your clients, because they remove the following barriers to online purchases: delivery costs, delay in time between ordering and receiving, and when a product is out of stock online
What do you need to set up Local Inventory Ads?
- It's an obvious one, but first and foremost you need a brick-and-mortar store that is open to the public!
- You also need to be selling physical goods (i.e. not a service) that your visitors can purchase via directly visiting your store.
- Another obvious one: your store has to be physically located in the country that you are targeting your ads to.
- Protect customers personally identifiable information (PII)
Get the full list of Google LIA requirements here.
How can you get started with your LIAs?
Merchants advertising on both Shopping ads & Local inventory ads (LIA) are now able to submit one unified product feed in Merchant Center, and as a result will no longer be required to create a separate local product feed for Local inventory ads.
Advertisers will have the choice to use a unified feed, or to continue to create separate feeds if their item ids are different. No action is required from existing LIA merchants.
Within the feed creation flow in Merchant Center, advertisers will be able to select the destination of their feed between: Shopping ads or Local Inventory ads
This applies to the creation of new product feeds, and is recommended to LIA merchants that want to simplify the maintenance of their product feeds.
Unlike Google Shopping Product Listing Ads, Google Local Inventory ads previously needed you to set up 4 different feeds.
The reason for these 4 feeds is that, unlike your Google Product Listing ads, you also need to provide info about your business and the local products you have on offer in your inventory.
Here are the 4 feeds previously required for Google Local Inventory ads:
1. Google Shopping feed: Simply your standard Product Listing ads feed.
2. Business information feed: This feed contains the information about your store (location, opening times, contact details, etc ) and is submitted to Google My Business
3. Local products feed: This feed contains a list of the products available at brick-and-mortar locations
4. Local product inventory feed: This feed provides price, availability, price and location-specific product information
Local Products Feed
As stated, this contains a list of all the products you sell in your store - Google provide a list of specifications for this feed, which includes standard title, image and brand, as well as factors unique to LIAs like pickup method and link_template.
If you need to match items across your product feed and local product feed, Google recommends using the same value for ID in your products feed as itemid in you local products feed. If that’s not possible, other matching attributes include:
- Matching webitemid in your local feed and ID in your product feed
- GTIN of the item
- MPN of the item
- Brand of the item
Local Product Inventory Feed
This is the important details of your brick-and-mortar store.
For this reason you'll have to include factors like the store code (the unique identifier from Google My Business) as well as product feed details like quantity and price.
Check out Google Local Product Inventory Feed requirements here.
The Final Steps
1. Once your feeds are built, you must register and upload the feeds to Google.
2. Next, a Google representative will complete an inventory verifaction visit to your store locations to assess you inventory.
3. Finally, you just need to enable 'Local' in your shopping campaign
Within your Google Ads account, select the shopping campaign or Smart Shopping campaign that you want to use for your local inventory ads.
Then, go to Settings > Shopping campaign settings > Additional settings > Local products, check the Enable ads for products sold in local stores box and click Save.
Registering and Uploading your Feed
If you are submitting a feed for the first time to Google Merchant Center follow these steps from Google to register your feed or submit your local product inventory through an API.
Once you’ve registered your feed, go to Google Merchant Center to upload it. To find all the steps required to schedule your feed upload go to Google Merchant Center.
Maintaining your feeds
The results from effective, high-quality Local Inventory ads can be significant.
But to achieve these results, you need to dedicate time and money to be constantly updating and optimizing your various feeds.
- Don't neglect your Shopping Ads
The recommendation of Google is to enable your local ads in an existing campaign you have on Shopping. This means that Google can select the most relevant examples from your ads.
Creating entirely new Local Ad campaigns straight away runs the risk of stealing clicks from your existing Shopping ads - so ensure you use an existing campaign first.
- Keep your LIA up-to-date
To ensure those ads are performing as well as possible, make sure you keep your feeds regularly updated.
That means the Local Products and Product Inventory will need to see frequent updates.
With a feed marketing tool like WakeupData you can make sure feeds are kept up to date as often as you need.
- Set your goals
Before you launch into your LIA campaign, it's important to plan your goals.
- Are you wanting to drive more in-store foot traffic?
- Do you want to boost sales for a specific season?
- Are you targeting the sales of certain products?
June 2019 UPDATE - 'New pick-up in-store feature'
Around 45% of shoppers worldwide currently make their purchases online but actually pick up their product in a brick-and-mortar store. From June 2019, Google have made it easier for retailers to offer 'pick-up in store services' by making changes to Shopping ads.
To utilise this, you need product landing pages on your site that show when pick up in-store is available to your buyers, alongside the local inventory feed in Merchant Center, showing the items you currently have in-stock.
You can let Google know that you are interested in this feature via this form.
WakeupData offer a feed management platform and dedicated Customer Success Team who can support you in tailoring and adapting your data to suit Google's Local Inventory Ads.
We make sure your product information is always up-to-date and let you control which products you are pushing in your LIAs. Find out more about Selling on Google Shopping with WakeupData's award-winning feed management platform.