Key Benefits of Google local inventory ads (LIAs) which offers immense advantage to brick-and-mortar retailers.
LIAS is one of the most powerful marketing tools available today. These ads connect online shoppers with offline offers, driving consumers from Google straight to a retailer’s door. From clothes to electronics, home improvement, and beyond, Local inventory ads are crucial for anyone looking to market offline stores successfully.
⦁ Drive foot traffic
Reach the 78% of shoppers who turn to online search to better plan store trips
⦁ Widen your reach
Locate new audiences and energize existing ones.
⦁ Increase your sales
Attract shoppers looking for quick or local purchase
⦁ Automate & scale advertising
Benefit from the dynamism and precision of googles advertising.
What are local inventory ads?
These are dynamic ads designed to highlight brick-and-mortar store locations and the products they carry.
LIAS work by combining the popular Google Shopping ad format with a set geographical radius. By defining a specific radius around physical shop locations, businesses can tell Google, users in this area are valuable!” On the other hand, this radius also tells Google that users outside of the area are not relevant and should not be targeted.
When a shopper searches for a product within that defined radius, they’re served a dynamically generated ad that highlights the product as well as the brick-and-mortar store where they can find it. These ads can appear on mobile and desktop search results pages, image search, and Google Shopping.
In which Countries Local Inventory Ads available?
LIAs are currently available in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the US. However, Google is also testing LIAs in a number of other countries.
How are LIAs charged?
Advertisers are only charged for the click a shopper makes from the ad to the Local Storefront. Clicks made within the Storefront are not charged.
Local & merchant hosted storefronts
When a shopper clicks one of these ads, they’re redirected to a digital storefront. There are two options for what happens next. Many businesses will choose to redirect to a local storefront. This is a Google-hosted page that contains further information like product details, a map, address, contact data, and opening hours of the nearest physical store. It also lists any related items sold at that physical location.
Local storefronts can highlight details like:
⦁ Store hours
⦁ In-store inventory
⦁ Current promotions
⦁ Product reviews
Businesses may also choose to use a merchant-hosted local storefront, which directs shoppers to the merchant’s website instead of a Google-hosted page.
These allow businesses to keep traffic and data on their own website, rather than on Google. However, this also requires the user to leave Google, which can be perceived by users as more work or unnecessary, making them less likely to continue.
This variation lets advertisers showcase products available both online and in brick-and-mortar locations.
The multi-channel product ad makes it possible to promote products either in-store or online based on the user’s location. These ads feature a store marker, which highlights the store’s location, as well as in-store product availability and the option to make a purchase online.
What determines whether a user is served an LIA or a Shopping ad?
Businesses can define a specific radius that will help determine which ad type a user will see. By setting a radius for your stores, you can ensure that nearby customers see your in-store availability. If shoppers are outside this radius, they will not see LIAs, and will instead see standard Shopping ads.
Comparing Google ad types
Here’s a closer look at the three ad formats brick-and-mortar advertisers should be familiar with.
- The traditional Google ad, formerly known as product listing ads (PLA), directs users to a product listed online.
- Promotes products sold online
- Leads to the online store product page.
Local Inventory Ads
- Ads are designed to drive google users to a specific brick-and-mortar location.
- These display when the shopper is within a set radius of a physical store.
- Promotes products sold in a physical store. Leads to the local storefront. If the merchant hosted locally storefront is implemented, leads to the online store product page.
Multi-channel product ads
- A combination of Shopping and local inventory ads that vary based on the user’s distance to a location
- Promotes products sold both online and in a physical store.
- If inside the defined radius: leads to a local storefront or merchant-hosted storefront.
- If outside the defined radius: leads to an online store product page.
Getting started with local inventory ads
Here’s how to set up LIAs.
- Prepare accounts for the relevant tools
To start using LIAs, you’ll need to have three accounts set up:
- A Google Ads account to manage the LIAs (as well as any other Google ads).
- A Google Merchant Center (GMC) account to house both your product feed and local product inventory feeds. Make sure to upload your logo to brand your local storefront.
- A Google My Business Locations account containing information about your stores.
Once these are set up, you’ll need to link both your Google My Business and Google Ads accounts to your Google Merchant Center account in order to share information across all three.
- Enable LIAs in Google Merchant Center
Sign in to Merchant Center, click Growth in the navigation menu, and from there click Manage Programs. On the LIA program card, click Get started. Google will confirm your qualifications and you can then select the countries where your physical stores are located.
- Verify your about page (only for businesses in Europe)
If you plan to operate in European countries, you’ll have to submit your About Page through the merchant center so google can confirm its compliance with the EU E-Commerce Directive.
The following details must be included:
- Physical address
- Contact information, such as phone number and/or email address
- Registered location of the company
- Any industry-specific registration, license, or authorization
- Prepare your feeds
- Next, you’ll have to prepare two feeds: the product feed and the local products inventory feed.
- The product feed is a list of all products sold in your store, along with attributes that describe them.
- The local products inventory feed is a list of all products sold in your brick-and-mortar locations, along with attributes describing inventory level.
- Register and submit your feeds
You’ll need to register your feeds in Google Merchant Center. Each feed only needs to be registered once, and they can be updated at any time. Google recommends creating an upload schedule so your data can be automatically sent to Merchant Center.
During this process, the product feed will be considered the primary feed, while the local products inventory feed (or update feeds) will be supplemental.
- Request inventory verification
If you’re using a Google-hosted storefront, Google will need to ensure that your online product data matches what is in your stores. You can request inventory verification through your Google Merchant Center account.
Once your feeds are successfully reviewed, Google will schedule a verification. Google will determine what kind of verification process is required based on the size and location of your business.
These methods include:
- Onsite verification
- Phone verification
- Enable Local Inventory Ads in your Shopping campaigns
Almost there. Here’s the last step!
In your Google Ads account, select either a Shopping campaign or a Smart Shopping campaign. Under campaign settings, click the “Enable ads for products sold in local stores” box, then click save, and you’re ready to go!
Local inventory ads data feed
There are three data feeds required to get started with Local Inventory Ads.
Before you can start advertising, you’ll need to prepare three different feeds. It’s important to note that Google will need certain values between these feeds to match in order to successfully pair the information. Therefore, it’s crucial that data is correct and complete across all feeds and that any duplicate attributes are identical.
- Product feed
This feed contains detailed product information for all the products that a retailer sells in a physical store.
How to create your product feed
To use an existing product feed: Enable the local extensions in Google Ads
If you do not have an existing Google product feed, there are three options:
- Create a new feed within Google Merchant Center and select the local inventory ads destination during feed creation.
- Independently create a product feed and upload to Merchant Center.
- Use a third-party to create and distribute via API
Update frequency: this feed should be submitted at least once a week. However, best practice is to update it at least once a day.
Local products inventory feed
This feed is used to provide Google with attributes related to inventory and purchase, such as store availability, price or sales price, and stock quantity. The local products inventory feed links to the product feed via the “id” attribute and to the Google My Business feed via the “store code” attribute.
Update frequency: this feed needs to be submitted at least once a day.
However, as store inventory can change often, you may also choose to submit this feed incrementally as a “local products inventory update” feed.
Google My Business locations feed
This feed includes locations and details of your physical stores. It also includes a unique store code for each location. These codes are used to connect data from your Google My Business locations feed to your product inventory feed. The feed is uploaded to your Google My Business account.
Update frequency: this feed should be updated whenever you have a new store, a store shut down, a change in operating hours or contact information, or a relocation.
Local Inventory Ads Feed Requirements Cheat sheet
Ready to get started? Make sure to prepare these feeds accordingly:
|Shopping Ads||Local inventory ads||Multi-Channnel Product Ads|
|Actions||Use existing or create a new product feed and enable local business||Create new||Review the existing feed for accuracy or create new|
|Information included||Attributes and details of products a business sells online or in a physical store||Dynamic purchase information such as quantity, sale price, or pickup method for products a business sells in a physical store.||Information about a business’s physical stores, including unique store code, name, location, operating hours, and contact details|
|Connecting attribute||ID||Store code|
|Upload location||Merchant Center||Merchant Center||Google My Businesses|
|Once/week||Once/Day||When store information
|Accepted file type||Tab-delimited text file, .or via API||Tab-delimited text file, .or via API||xml,.xls .xlsx, .ods .csv, or Google My Business API|
Tracking ROI from local inventory ads
Google provides some handy tools to track both online & offline conversions from LIAs.
1. Monitor local inventory performance in your Shopping campaigns
In Google Ads, you can segment your reports by click type, channel, or channel exclusivity. These segmentations will help you understand how effective your LIAS is in comparison to other ads. They will also help you optimize your LIA bidding strategy.
Example: A particular product is selling better in-store than online, so you increase the bidding on LIAs
Track online conversions from LIAS
The local storefront tracking feature tracks users who click an LIA but then choose to shop online rather than visit a brick-and-mortar location. This can show how your ads influence sales and where they may fall short. This method works well with any additional conversion tracking tools you may be using.
Example: A particular LIA is getting a large number of clicks during certain hours, but then shoppers continue their search online. You choose to decrease bidding during these hours.
Measure local storefront traffic with Google Analytics
With Google Analytics you can analyze engagement with your local storefront and see how this connects to in-store traffic. You can also view device interactions (desktop vs. mobile) with LIAS and use that information to adjust bidding.
Example: In Analytics, you combine “click for directions” events with location data. This allows store than online, so you increase the bidding to see how often local storefront interactions result in actual visits.
Tips for maximizing your shopping campaigns with local inventory ads
From campaign creation to bidding, there are a few pointers to keep in mind.
1. Activate LIAS in existing shopping campaigns instead of creating new campaigns just for LIAS
LIAS works great in conjunction with existing Shopping campaigns, allowing you to do less work and compile more data in one place. Based on your settings, Google will determine whether to show a local inventory ad, an online ad, or a multichannel ad.
2. Bid higher during popular shopping hours
While Google recommends keeping LIAs running at all times, certain hours will be more lucrative for your stores. Adjusting bids during peak shopping hours is likely to attract more shoppers.
3. Segment your products based on performance
In Google Shopping, you can segment your products into groups. Using this method, you can bid higher on ad space for products sold in-store to attract more customers to your physical locations.
You can also create further segmentation to increase bids on products that are in demand or, alternatively, underperforming.
As an official Google partner, ImaAppWEB is the preferred solution for creating perfectly structured, Google-ready product feeds. The SaaS solution is used by many of the world’s largest brands and retailers to increase product visibility, click-through rate (CTR), and conversions.
Easily enrich and edit your product data, optimize information like product titles, descriptions, and pricing formats, and feel confident that you have an error-free, high-performing feed.
Want to learn more about Google Shopping feed best practices?