Google garden queries rise but clicks fall as online gardening retailers "go wrong somewhere"

Google shopping specialists Dream Agility say online garden retailers are not using Google adverts as well as they could.

According to Google’s own analysis of the Yard & Garden Equipment & Supplies category, shopping queries were up 14 per cent year-on-year. but the ad clickthrough rate was down 8.39 per cent year-on-year, "which suggests something’s going wrong somewhere".

Dream Agility said online garden retailers don't understand – or maximise – their online advertising in a new report which analysed online garden retailers during the last three months of 2015.

The firm selected seven high volume gardening industry search terms. The top eight Google Shopping adverts for each term (56 ads in total) were then analysed.

From those 56 ads, there were 53 different retailers, showing the lack of dominance from any single retailer:

  • Only four were from a ‘Trusted Store’ on Google Shopping;
  • Only 12 of 53 retailers had modified their titles to help achieve optimum results;
  • Only four retailers sporadically achieved a "near best practice" approach to titles;
  • Some 14 retailers failed to even list the brand in their advert titles.

They discovered poorly performing adverts, little optimisation, and a general ignorance about some of the ways to secure better placed – and potentially cheaper – Google Shopping adverts.

Dream Agility chief executive Elizabeth Clark said: "Garden retailers have got to wake up – they’re throwing away thousands and thousands of pounds in lost revenue through sloppy online advertising.

"In fact, if any garden retailer did get on top of their Google Shopping campaigns, then there’s a substantial opportunity for them to completely dominate gardening shopping online.

"The amount of irrelevant products showing against high-volume search queries shows the size of saving available if retailers had adequate search-term strategies in place – and the uplifts available with the advent of cheaper, more relevant ads, would be magnified even more in the forthcoming months."

Despite search queries for garden equipment and furniture growing by 14 per cent year-on-year, no single retailer has managed to fully optimise their adverts on the Google Shopping platform.

A lack of understanding around how to title their Google Shopping adverts – known as Product Listing Ads (PLAs) – is seeing most retailers accrue higher costs and lower conversions, while only three out of 53 retailers were running Google promotions on their products, despite this approach typically gaining more sales and more traffic.

Only a quarter of the retailers were making use of every attribute on their PLAs, and ineffective search term strategies are evident for most retailers, leading to increased pay-per-click (PPC) costs and poorer product ranks.

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