Google's Shopping Gift Guide

The new Google guide to holiday shopping trends is now available here. It gives insights into top searches and the most sought-after gifts within trending categories. It uses U.S. Search Trends to predict the most popular products in December. For example, searches for cookware rose 34 percent since last year, as more people cooked at home, so they’ve gathered the top trending kitchen products for the amateur chefs you may know. At the top of the list: the Mr. Coffee Iced Coffee Maker, closely followed by the Ninja Foodi Digital Air Fry Oven. You’ll also find trending gifts for athletes, techies, decorators, wellness gurus, gamers, and kids. Once you’ve found that perfect gift, Google directs you to Google Shopping listings where you can find the best prices and places to buy.

With thousands of stores in one place, you can find what you’re looking for, online or nearby. Nearby store listings show store hours and stock alerts. If you’d rather keep those trips quick, you can see which stores offer in-store or curbside pickup. Additionally, price insights show whether the price offered for a product is high, low, or typical, compared to other prices across the web and in nearby stores. If you’re not ready to buy, you can switch on price tracking and get an alert if the price drops.

This data can be useful to advertisers working on holiday shopping campaigns as it shows what searchers’ priorities are right now when looking for gifts. We will monitor Google’s holiday shopping guide for opportunities to capitalize on trending searches. This is another free tool that we believe will only help improve the performance of our clients.

Audio Ads On YouTube

Google created a new ad format for YouTube called audio ads to connect brands to a dedicated and active audience. Audio ads, which are currently in open beta, help effectively expand the reach and increase brand awareness with audio-based creative and the same measurement, audience, and brand safety features as video campaigns. Audio ads are characterized by creatives where the audio soundtrack plays the starring role in delivering your message. The visual component is typically a still image or simple animation.

People are increasingly turning to YouTube as they spend more time at home. Whether it’s fitting in a living room workout during lunch, unwinding by listening to your favorite podcast, or catching up on a virtual concert you missed over the weekend. Audio ads help tailor media and creative approaches to the different ways that consumers engage. In their early months of alpha testing, they found that more than 75 percent of measured audio ad campaigns on YouTube drove a significant lift in brand awareness. Audio ads are available in open beta via auction on Google Ads and Display & Video 360 on a CPM basis with the same audience targeting options, bidding strategies, and Brand Lift measurement capabilities as our YouTube video campaigns.

We believe audio ads would be effective in reaching audiences in screen-free moments and when listening peaks on weekends and primarily takes place in the home now. Additionally, audio ads help drive brand awareness among music listeners. Using both video and audio ads together, we can reach more people, consuming content they love, with the ad format that’s best suited for their unique YouTube experience.

Newest Google Maps Features

Google recently announced a new set of upcoming updates to Google Maps, specifically to the Commute and Explore tab and the addition of Trip Progress sharing, Google Assistant, and Music Streaming integration.

Commute and Explore Tab
The explore tab can now be viewed on Google Maps. This allows users to view the best nearby locations that are worth a look, like restaurants, gyms, and even landmarks and attractions. One list that you can instantly view from the get-go is the Foodie List, which is curated by Google Lists. This list shows you the best food places near the area, and be able to get directions, and even call for reservations and inquiries. Having this feature saves more time and allows more actions to be accomplished within a single app, which enhances the user experience much more.

The commute tab can also be viewed on Google Maps. This allows users to view each route and mode of transportation going to their destination. This allows them to see the estimated time, along with routes that might have heavy traffic. This feature comes in very handy, as commuters would instantly be able to assess their options ahead of time.

Music Streaming Integration
Google Maps solves this problem by allowing the integration of Spotify, which enables users to be able to access Spotify while using Google Maps. Now commuters no longer have to switch between apps to switch up the music and follow directions. Users can link to Apple Music or Google Play Music, allowing you to be able to listen to your playlists instantly. A simple update that greatly enhances the user experience.

Google Assistant Integration
Google Maps now integrates Google Assistant, along with a search menu, to be able to help users look for nearby locations along the way to their destination. For example, I want to look for the nearest gas stations along the way. I just have to say “look for the nearest gas stations” to Google Assistant, and the nearest gas stations would be highlighted on the map.

Sharing Trip Progress
Google Maps now allows informing your friends, colleagues, or family on where you are during your trip by adding the Share Trip Progress button. This is important especially if you are running late, or have an emergency along the way. Using this, users would be able to send in text messages emails to their contacts about how near they are to their destination.

Google Maps remains one of the best navigation apps around, and with these new features, more functionality allows users to be able to do even more. These additions and continuous improvements will attract more users and creates more opportunities for local search ads. We will continue to monitor search traffic for opportunities to expand our reach.