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An Introduction to Google Local Inventory Ads

| Paid Search

Here’s an overview of what Google local inventory ads are and how your retail store can take advantage of them.

Imagine you want to buy a new wool cap.  It’s cold, and you realize the one you’ve been wearing the last three years is on its last legs.

You break out your phone to shop while sitting in a downtown coffee shop.  Hopefully you can get it delivered before the weekend.

But then you see something different.  It’s an ad for exactly the type of hat you want, except this ad is showing that a local retail store has the hat in stock right now.  You can walk around the corner, try it on to make sure it fits (something you can’t do if you buy it online) and have it today.

Under these circumstances, what do you think you’d do?

Google thinks that many shoppers will be happy to shop at a nearby retailer, which is the reason they’re rolling out local inventory ads.

Local inventory ads are shopping ads shown primarily on mobile searches.  The idea is to catch shoppers in exactly the type of scenario we just described with the goal of driving foot traffic to close by retail stores.

The ads click-through to a Google hosted local storefront that has an embedded map of your location.  Here’s what it looks like:

local inventory ads

You target these ads to ensure that you only show products you currently have in stock to people in close proximity to your store.

You can also adjust your bids based on the proximity of shoppers and whether or not they’re on a mobile device.  So you could bid higher for shoppers who are within walking distance of your store conducting a search on their phone.  Of course you can control when the ads display so you only drive traffic during your open hours, and you can increase bids during times of day when traffic is higher.

With mobile tracking, you’ll also be able to track when the ads drive in-store sales and compare that data to the other types of ads you run.


The Benefits of Local Inventory Ads

There are several things local inventory ads accomplish for retailers and shoppers.

For retailers, it’s a chance to grab back some market share from increasingly dominant eCommerce stores – while using online shopping ads.  Today, we know that most people’s shopping research starts on their phones.  With local inventory ads, the shopping journey can start online and seamlessly move to physical retail for the actual purchase.

For shoppers, these ads bridge the gap between online and local retail shopping.  Online shopping is popular because it provides convenience, selection, and low prices.  But there are many items that people would love to check out in person before buying – so long as they don’t have to sacrifice the convenience part.

Local inventory ads interject into the online shopping experience and say “Hey, if you’d like to see this item before you buy it, this nearby store has it in stock.”  It connects shopping on a phone to walking into a store.

Consider these things when developing your local inventory ad campaigns.  The products that will do the best are the ones where it’s likely people would consider it an advantage to see the item before they actually purchase it.  It’s certainly nice to try on a hat before you buy it.  But nobody cares about seeing a replacement ink cartridge for their printer (though you do still have the advantage of having it in stock so they don’t have to wait to have it shipped).

As of this writing, local inventory ads are new and still being rolled-out in many areas.  Talk to one of our marketing consultants or your Marketing 360® marketing exec to learn how you can take advantage of this type of advertising.

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