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Peter’s Blog Star Date 12th June 2015

In which I muse about more changes to Google Shopping and dazzle you with stats about mobile usage and the need to be responsive.

My week was lit up by the news that Google was to update its Google Shopping Feed specification and Google Product Taxonomy.  Such news always fills me with glee, as it generally means that, just as you are basking in the reflected glory of seeing a Google Shopping Campaign perform like a house on fire, thanks to all the hard work you have done on optimising the Google Shopping Feed and making sure the campaign is well and truly rocking, Google changes all of the rules and conditions and you, once more, have to try to work out how best to make sure that your campaign performs.

In the gold ol’ days of free Google Shopping, such changes used to be an, almost, weekly event but, as they moved to the paid model and refined things, they did promise to stabilise things, make the life of a Google Shopping Optimiser a little simpler and allow us to concentrate on the more important issues, such as product viability, how each product appears in search, image optimisation, content optimisation, bid optimisation, etc.,

This month’s changes include the tightening of “guiding principles around the ID Attribute and GTINs” , something which is always guaranteed to be a winner with retailers who are perhaps not strong proponents of the use of GTIN, EAN,  MPN or the whole concept of Unique Product ID’s.

But the biggie is a significant shake up of the Google Shopping Product Taxonomy. The, beautifully named, Google Shopping Product Taxonomy (GB) is a hierarchical classification of product categories intended to reflect the needs and desires of the UK consumer. To be honest, I‘m not ever so sure how well it works, given that it seems to have whole swathes of entries for American Football and Baseball products,  in comparison to hardly any for Football and Cricket items (and none for Netball), that it features a whole main category for Weapons and Guns and Pool & Spa, yet  has no mention of anything to do with whippets, black pudding  or even Tea Towels (the sort of things we hold close to our hearts here) and contains some banging categories like:-

  • Animals & Pet Supplies > Pet Supplies > Fish Supplies > Aquarium Décor;
  • Arts & Entertainment > Hobbies & Creative Arts > Musical Instrument & Orchestra Accessories > Woodwind Instrument Accessories > Clarinet Accessories > Clarinet Care & Cleaning > Clarinet Pad Savers
  •  Food, Beverages & Tobacco > Beverages > Alcoholic Beverages > Liquor & Spirits > Shochu & Soju and
  • Furniture > Cabinets & Storage > Storage Chests > Hope Chests.

 

Whilst some everyday, extremely popular, products are completely ignored. It does, however, give us regular amusement as we try to find the most relevant category for each of our products.

Elsewhere the move to mobile continues apace. We are seeing, across most of our clients’ sites, mobile usage more than doubling, year on year, driven by the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 plus and the other larger screen mobile devices/Phablets. Google have just produced a really interesting infographic on mobile usage which shows that the UK is one of the most connected countries in the world, with 44% of the under 35 population accessing the internet equally via smartphone and computer/tablet. It also confirms how reliant the UK is on the internet and their phone/phablets.

It is something you cannot ignore and, fortunately, most of our clients have been heeding our (rather persistent) advice and have either moved to a responsive site or are about to. That said, I saw some stats recently that 40% of the UK’s top 100 retailers did not have a mobile website and less than 10% had a responsive one. This does highlight the opportunity for smaller, more agile and responsive retailers to pick up the baton and exploit the opportunities right now.

Anyway, on that rather bad pun I will sign off for this week, so until next time…..

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