Google recently made a flurry of announcements regarding automotive, hotel, and mortgage search and advertising formats at its “Building for the Next Moment” event in California. Even if you don’t do business in one of these industries, the changes could be of interest, because they are likely to be expanded to other categories.
Mobile Search Dominant
Before diving into the specifics of the search and ad formats, however, Google also made an announcement about the growth of search from mobile devices. “More Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan,” said Google AdWords VP, Jerry Dischler. This, combined with the fact that Google now factors mobile compatibility into organic search results, should have business owners making sure their sites are mobile-friendly.
Automotive Search Improvements
When you Google-search for a particular car model now, whether on mobile or desktop, you get a fairly bland mix of text and image results. In the coming months, Google will be replacing this format with an image “carousel” showing multiple swipe-able images of the specific model, inside and out. Below the carousel, consumers will have the option of clicking through to the official car site, or to “build” their car, or to find the nearest dealer. Chrysler is the launch partner for this format, and the Dodge Challenger will be among the first models to get the new treatment.
Hotels Search Upgrade
Consumer searches for hotels also now most often deliver plain text results with a sprinkling of images in Google search. A new hotels search format has been in beta testing and will now roll out globally, says Dischler. Like the new auto format, it is more image-driven, and is optimized for mobile screens. A hotel search lets you quickly drill down to an image- and information-packed screen about each individual hotel. You will be able to book a room directly from the search results screen via services such as Expedia and Booking.com.
Hotel info-packs will also include Google+ user reviews and star-ratings on a 0 – 5 scale.
Mortgages Added to Google Compare
Google’s compare service has proven to be popular for the car insurance category, and this format is being extended to mortgages. You begin by inputting your zip code, and then your personal information and mortgage needs. You will be presented with a range of quotes. Advertisers will have the opportunity to brand and insert their services and offerings (speak with a provider’s licensed agents) along the way. Google promises consumers a way to “compare apples-to-apples,” and to mortgage-shop hassle-free.
Advertisers will benefit from the more visually appealing and image-driven nature of these changes and the ability to insert their brands and information into the consumer consideration process.
But they must also be ready for significant challenges, including the need for well-thought-out mobile site design and interface for customer interactions, attention to Google+ reviews and ratings, and competitive offerings that show well in objective comparison formats.