34% of online retail purchases in the U.S. happen on mobile devices, according to Google. And the majority of mobile shoppers on both smartphones (62%) and tablets (63%) are looking for images when they shop, according to Nielsen. But until now, Google image searches produced little revenue for the search giant. That’s likely to change with the introduction Monday of product listing ads to Google’s image search results, a development initially reported by Merkle in its report “Digital Marketing Report Q4 2015.”

Consumers using a mobile device will see the ads displayed in a carousel format above the organic image results.

“People who search and shop on their smartphones at least once a week say that product images are the shopping feature they turn to most,” Jonathan Alferness, Google Shopping’s vice president, product management, writes in a blog post. “And it turns out, the top questions Google Images users ask us are ‘What’s the price of this?’ and ‘Where can I buy it?’ That’s why we are introducing Shopping ads on image search.”

Google also touted the “strong results” of Purchases on Google, the feature that lets consumers on smartphones click on a Buy button to buy products directly through product listing ads via retailer-branded product pages that Google hosts. For example, Deckers Brands (No. 144 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide,) reports a nearly 50% increase in the conversion rate on its mobile product listing ads with Purchases on Google, as well as a 25% decrease in its cost per conversion.

“As mobile’s role in shopping continues to grow, being there and being useful to people in their ‘I need some ideas,’ ‘which one’s best?’ and ‘I want to buy it’ micro-moments will drive more online and store sales,” Alferness writes.


A new report from The Nielsen Company finds 72% of the 3,734 respondents who had used a smartphone or tablet for mobile shopping, paying or banking in the past 30 days researched items on their smartphones before buying. The ability to see product images ranks first as a priority for both smartphone (62% of respondents) and tablet (63% of respondents) shoppers.


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