Google Shopping Insights: Just a Snapshot
Big data is the big business buzzword in recent years, and what firm has a bigger treasure trove of marketing data than Google? So, when Google announced on Oct. 20 the availability of its new Google Shopping Insights Beta tool, the business press was all-abuzz with eagerness to report on this new big data tool. Being ever the cynic, I looked for myself and considered how this might be of interest and utility to e-commerce merchants and the search marketers who work for them.
First, let’s take a quick look at what the tool is and promises to do, and let’s remember that it is in beta. Google has a track record of creating new products/tools releasing them into the wild in beta format and then either enhancing them into full-fledged products with user fees attached or eliminating them with little more than a blog post death notice. So let’s tap the brakes on our excitement until we take this new tool for an extensive test drive.
What Is Google’s New Shopping Insights Tool?
According to Google, Shopping Insights will make data about shopping habits and preferences more accessible. That is to say, the tool shows what shoppers are searching for online by product, geographic area and device. The tool in its current format is limited, covering just the 5,000-plus most popular products on Google Shopping between April 1, 2014, and Sept. 30, 2015. It is at this juncture that users are asked to make their first leap of faith – that what shoppers search online correlates directly with what they actually buy in a local store. Google cautions that while 87 percent of shopping research happens online, 92 percent of goods are still sold in retail stores. This means the tool cannot address situations where the consumer will research a product heavily and then either not buy the product based on the research, or go in another direction and conduct yet another search and more research.
The purpose of this blog is to provide insights and tips for how to use search profitably. It will cut through the volumes of information that threaten to overwhelm the busy marketer and will focus on what is truly important for making search work.