Updated: Sep 15
As the Historical cost of starting an online business has reduced significantly over the past couple of years and with the help of Complete e-commerce solution provider companies like Shopify, Wix , Bigcommerce, and Magento, it is easier than ever to start an online business and start selling to customers all over the world.
But some of the biggest challenges that get in the way of the success of new business owner and marketers or people who are already running a business are very challenging and common like figuring out which products to sell online, Finding the most relevant customers for their business and reach them more effectively with fewer resources?, How to increase sales and conversions to maximize their ROI?, How to measure the success of their marketing efforts? etc.
If you are also facing these kinds of problems then this post is definitely for you. You not only able to solve these problems but also by the time you will complete reading this post, you will have a complete Marketing strategy to get started today not based on faith but based on Supported Data.
1. Which Products to sell and Where?
Google Shopping Insights helps businesses better understand shopping product queries to make more informed decisions about their marketing through Data. It helps you to measure customers interest on a product at national, regional and city level in the US. It includes data on approximately 6000 popular products and categories.
To see the list of all products and categories, Please click here.
Top 10 Products list -
This section shows top 10 most popular products in the US. You can see that the fidget spinners are once a hot product but now their popularity is declining, while the search for Nintendo switch is rising over time and vans products are new rising stars that customers are most interested in. Clicking on any of the products will give you more details about it. From the curated top product list, it is obvious that If you are not selling vans products then you must start selling them because the competition will be low at this moment and you can take advantage of it before your competitors do.
Custome Insights - How to find Insights about a Product or Categorie that you are interested in?
For the sake of discussion, let's assume that we are interested in selling women's shoes, watches, and leggings and want to know more about it to get most out of our marketing efforts.
If you look at the above bar graph, you can see that women's are mostly searching for Shoes and then leggings but less for watches relative to these other two products.
You can also see the trend graph showing search query volume trends for each quarter from 2014 to Q2 of 2017. It is totally clear from both the graphs that women's are mostly interested in shoes but if you look closely at the trend lines, you will see that search queries volume of leggings started to rise in Q3 and surpasses the shoe volume in Q4 in 2014,2015, and also in 2016 and started to decline after Q4. The trend graph clearly demonstrating how according to seasonality, the customer's interest in one product get shifted to another product and again changes.
If you are thinking about where to focus more of your efforts in the Q4 of 2017 then it would be a good decision to spend more of your resources towards leggings then Shoes and then return back to shoes because, in the Q1 and Q2, the search volume of leggings tends to decrease very sharply.
And From the above pics, it's totally clear that whether customers are buying more on Desktop & tablet or on Mobile, they are surely searching for products more on mobile than desktop & tablet. So having a better mobile strategy is very crucial for staying relevant and competitive in the coming years.
Which Regions or Cities to Target? -
For Women's Shoes -
From the Heatmap you can see Which regions or cities have a higher volume of searches for Women's shoes. You can Zoom in and out of the map and also search by a specific city in the search box located just at the top of the trend line for more details.
If you hover your mouse on any of the icons, it will show you top 5 cities for a particular product with highest search volume. In this Case -
Top 5 cities for Women's shoes -
1. New York, NY 100 2. Los Angels, CA 54 3. Chicago, IL 47 4. Houston, Tx 37 5. Dallas, Tx 26
Note - These numbers are normalized on a scale of 0-100 and do not convey absolute search volume.
Top Cities for Leggings -
1. New York, NY 90 2. Corona, CA 52 3. Los Angels, CA 39 4. Chicago, IL 35 5. Houston, Tx 21
Comparing the top cities for Shoes and leggings gives you more insights about customers from which cities prefer Which products more.
As you can see that New York, NY is in the top spot for both the products but it has a 10 point more for shoes than leggings. You can also find few surprises like there are 4 cities which are common on both the list and Shoes leading in all of them by some points but in Corona, CA people are more interested in Leggings than Women's shoes. Adjusting more of your marketing dollars in Corona, CA for leggings will be more effective and for women's shoes in other common cities in the list.
Let's suppose that you have brick & mortar store in Las Vegas, NV or you want to target customers in this particular city. So, how your strategy should be for this city?
If you look closely at the above pics, you will find some difference in the trend when we were looking for the US as a whole and now only for Las Vegas, NV. The trend for leggings in Q4 in 2014, 2015 is surpassing women's shoes as we seen earlier but in 2016, for some reason it didn't. So there is a higher probability that in Q4 of 2017, leggings search volume again doesn't surpass the shoe volume. So it would be good for us to focus more on shoes in Las Vegas, NV for Q4 of 2017 than leggings.
Let's take our analysis to more deeper level to see which brand shoes are more popular and where to target our customers.
Shoe Brands -
You can see how Nike shoes is blowing Adidas and Puma shoes out of the market. Adidas and Puma are doing very poorly relative to Nike in terms of popularity among customers. The trend at the bottom most is for Vans shoes. As we seen earlier that Van's products are starting to rise in popularity. So this will be the best time to ride on this horse. Let understand a little bit more about it.
Look at the graph, how vans shoes keep growing in popularity year over year. The trend keeps shifting towards the right. Top cities for Vans shoes ( Analysed alone ) -
1. Los Angeles, CA 100 2. New York, NY 92 3. Houston, Tx 44 4. Chicago, IL 42 5. San Diego, CA 31
Let's go back and add all the brands but this time we going to look at data by Interest rather than Volume. Which you can find at the top right of the Trend chart.
In the interest mode, the time series and map values are not based on search volume but rather on interest in a product. Interest Mode allows us to identify surprising behavior in smaller and mid-sized cities that are usually overwhelmed by larger cities in volume mode.
if you zoom in on the map you will find lots of surprises. In this case in Palco, KS the points for different products are -
1. Vans Shoes 76 2. Nike Shoes 16 3. Adidas Shoes 0 4. Puma Shoes 0
By looking at the above data it is clear that Vans shoes are more popular in Palco, KS then any other brands, not even Nike. Which wasn't obvious when we are doing our analysis in Volume mode.
You can also export the data in excel or Pdf from the export button to find insights faster rather than keep zooming in or out again and again on the map.
Now, we know what products to sell and which cities to target in our Ad campaigns, let's find out what other search queries customers are using to find these products and find new opportunities.
2. How to find more opportunities?
The biggest difference between Google Shopping insights and Google Trends is that in Google Shopping insights, we look at data at the product level. Which means, In shopping insight, interest in a particular product gets aggregated from a larger sample of queries which customers use to describe the same product. Like "PlayStation 4", "PS4", and "PlayStation 4 Price" are all aggregated to estimate the interest in the gaming console Sony PS4.
Whereas in Google Trends we compare and find insights by a particular search term or topic not by Products, here different search terms are not get aggregated as Shopping insights do.
Why Google Trends is a Great Tool? -
Though you won't get aggregated product data like shopping insights but you can find trends data for a query or topic in real-time which you can't-do in Shopping insights. Also, Shopping insights have only data for the US but in Google Trends you can find insights for any country or city in the world. You can also do broader competitive intelligence analysis with Google trends and if you looking into expanding your business into other countries, Google Trends can give you lots of amazing insights to decide which country or cities you should expand your business.
Both the Tools has its own advantages and disadvantages, using them together, we can expand our analysis. Please read the whole post and also make sure to check out the Final thought section at the end of the post to know when and how to use both the tool.
Top Related Queries -
According to Google Trends data, Some of the top related queries for womens shoes are Nike Shoes related, Womens Running Shoes. Some other queries are Adidas shoes and womes tennis shoes that are popular among customers.
And for leggings, you can see that most people are interested highly in Lularoe leggings which turns out after searching on google that it is a leggings brand. Selling Lularoe leggings more than Lululemon Leggings will be a better choice to introduce more customers to your brand and increase your sales. Also, people are more interested in Black leggings than any other color and also in Nike leggings after Lularoe. Very bad news for the folks in Lululemon executive team.
Rising Related Queries -
Rising queries are the search terms that have the biggest increase in search frequency since the last time period. Though Nike shoes have the highest volume of searches than Adidas shoes but Adidas nmd and ultra boost shoes are rising in interest among consumers and consumers are also quite interested in Samuel Hubbard womens shoes.
Some of the rising search terms for leggings apart from lularoe are gymshark flex leggings and pop fit leggings. And if you are wondering what is leggings united airlines like I was before, it turns out that United Airlines didn't let two girls board their plane because they were wearing leggings. What the heck United.
Back to our topic. Selling Adidas nmd, Adidas ultra boost, Samuel Hubbard shoes and gymshark flex and pop fit leggings can be very profitable due to less competition than the product related terms we seen in the top related terms. So grab the opportunity as much as you can before your competitors enter with their own offerings.
you can further go deeper into a particular term for more related queries for that term or add it to compare with your previous terms or directly start a google search for that search term right from the interface.
3. How to reduce the cost of marketing?
One of the biggest benefits of doing content marketing is that you can keep acquiring more customers without constantly paying money to advertisers. It will help you to lower down your cost of acquiring customers. It's not a good strategy to keep renting traffic from advertisers. There should be a balance between earned and paid traffic. It is another great way to introduce new customers to your brand who are in the early phase of purchase when they aren't sure which product brand to purchase or from where to purchase.
There are lots of great free and paid tools for finding content ideas but here I am going to show you one tool that I really like too much and it's totally Free.
Answer the Public is a very great tool to find content ideas and long tail keywords and it shows them with great visualizations.
You can see some great ideas for your content marketing like -
1. Which women's walking shoes are the best? 2. Which women's Nike shoes are the best for running? 3. What women's shoes are in fashion? 4. Expensive women's shoe
Some more great ideas like -
1. Women's shoes to wear with Jeans/Shorts/Dress pants. 2. Women's basketball shoes 3. Women's shoes for work 4. Women's shoes for tennis/travel.
You can also see by alphabetical categories list. There are tons of ideas that will help you to get started.
You can export these keywords and find their search volume in Google Keyword Planner tool or you can use a very helpful Google Chrome add-on " Keyword everywhere" to get an estimated search volume and also CPC for these keywords. It also works with Google search, Google analytics, Google trends, Amazon, eBay etc.
This is how it will look like if you use it with Answer the public.
Let's move on to another important part of our analysis.
4. Where to find your Ideal customers?
one of the best way to find relevant customers for your business is through Google Display Planner. Let's use some of the search terms we find from the Google Trends. You can run your Display Ads on websites, video, mobile apps, you can also target them based on keywords, topic, interest, demographic etc.
Once you enter the search terms or topics or landing page relevant to your analysis as I did in the above pic, you will find a list of websites that your target audiences mostly visit to find information related to those keywords or landing page you have selected. You can also get lots of great additional data like What Ad formats a website support, How relevant this website is based on the keyword you have selected, average CPC for running your ads on the platforms.
You can also know how much-estimated amount of impressions you can get from a particular website.
Which video Channels to target -
Another great way to find the relevant audience is through your own Google Analytics data.
First, go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals report
In the above pic, you can see the list of websites who are already sending traffic to your website. By looking at the Acquisition, behavior and conversion metrics, you can decide which website is sending to highly qualified customers and which are not. Then you can use this data and target these websites in your display campaigns.
5. How to fine-tune your Ads Targeting and measure them effectively?
To fine-tune your Ads targeting you can also look at the reports in the Audience section of your Google analytics data. There are lots of amazing insights you can find like Which age group of customers are more relevant and converting at a higher rate. Then only focus on these age groups and exclude the age groups from your ads targeting which aren't performing well.
The In-Market segment report -
The In-Market Segment report helps you to find customers who are most likely to purchase products or services in the specified categories. These are the customers who are lower in the purchase funnel, near the end of the process. Find the most profitable and highest converting segments then use these segments like we did before in your PPC or Display ads through Adwords.
One important thing to remember that whatever type of ads you are running, don't forget to look at the Assisted Conversion Report in Google Analytics.
You can find it under Conversions > Multi-channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions.
Why should you use this report?
Because by default, Google Analytics gives all the credit for a conversion to a channel, source, campaign etc. which helps in converting a customer in the last step of Purchase or conversion. But most customers don't purchase on their first visit. They interact multiple times with your website through various channels before making a final purchase.
In the above pic, you can see that based on the last click attribution, Display ads only help Google Merchandise store to make 183 conversions and $704 in revenue. But in reality Display ads also helps GMS to get 251 additional conversions and $3829 in revenue. It also has the highest Assisted /last click or Direct conversion ratio ( Last column), the higher the number, the more this channel helps in assisting conversions for your business. If you don't use this report then you would make a wrong assumption that display ads aren't too much profitable for you.
Some examples of right Ads Targeting -
you can see from the above pics that when I searched on Google to find running shoes for women and go to a website to learn more about it, Reebok ads appeared right there on the top of that page. Also when I am looking at a video about Nike shoes, how cleverly the right Nike shoe ads are placed below the video. By Showing your ads in the right place when customers are looking for it, you can increase your chances of converting them more.
5. How to stay with customer's current preferences?
It will be very hard to keep up with near about 6000 products in Google shopping insights and the flux in their trends. But thanks to Google for making it easier for us.
All you have to do is just sign in into Google shopping insights tool and subscribe for trends updates.
Once you do that, you will see something like shown in the above pics. You can also create custom trends reports based on your needs.
Here is the screenshot of one of the weekly report I get from the fantastic Think with Google team. Isn't that Great? No more beating your head to find the right information at the right time to make important decisions based on the changes in customers preferences.
7. Final Thoughts -
a. For US readers -
If you are trying to sell or target customers in the US, then definitely use the Shopping insights tools to find products and placement insights. And use the Google trends to find more top and rising search terms to those products. And If you don't find insights about certain product or category from the Google Shopping insights then use then Google Trends for it. But don't compare Apples to Oranges because if you do then you will find discrepancies in the Trend data and city data between Google Shopping Insights and Google Trends because both the tools use different ways to collect and process data to give us insights as I mentioned above in this post.
b. For Non-US Readers -
If your business is outside of US, then Go with The Google Trends Data. It is totally ok, you don't have to worry about it for even a second. Do all the analysis with Google Trends and Just keep an eye on Google Shopping Insights tool because whenever a trend arises in some place and depending on the trend it starts to expand into other parts of the world. One of those cases is the Fidget Spinner, it quickly spread throughout out the world. Learn from it and then test it on Google Trends to see if this is the case in your country or city. Maybe in the future, Google also started to provide data for other countries in their Shopping insights tool. Currently, it's in beta. Nevertheless, Both tools are awesome. Just keep going.
That's it. Now you know which products to sell and where to sell? Where to find ideal customers for your business? How to reduce the cost of your marketing with targeted ads and measure their performance the right way? How to find insights from your Google Analytics data to fine-tune your ads? etc. Now you have a complete marketing strategy to get going today