#MarketingNews: Spending advertising money on Google Shopping? Think again!

Think Cirrus/Google Shopping/European Competition Commissioner

“If I feel more comfortable with the fair competition in the market place, I think people will feel more comfortable in society”, Margrethe Vestager – European Commissioner for Competition and former Deputy Prime Minister of Denmark said in an interview with Vice News after fining Google £2.1bn for abusing its dominance as a search engine.

But is google still a threat to the hospitality, retail and tourism industries? The Google shopping comparison function is certainly something to be wary of when spending your hard-earned cash on a Google Shopping campaign to boost business.

Google has been hit with a record-breaking fine by the European Union for breaking antitrust law following a seven-year investigation into the US company’s search algorithms, which ended with the judgement that Google had “abused its dominant position by systematically favouring” its own shopping comparison service.

 Don’t be Evil – should you be wary about Google?

Investigations into Google’s behaviour were triggered after the European Commission received dozens of complaints from U.S. and European competitors who claimed that the company abused its search market dominance to give its Google Shopping service an advantage over other retailers and create a monopoly over consumers.

“EU antitrust rules apply to all companies that operate in Europe’s Economic Area, no matter where they’re based,” Vestager said. “The purpose is to ensure competition and innovation for the benefit of European consumers. Google has come up with many innovative products, and many innovative services, that have made a difference in our lives — and that’s a good thing.

“But Google’s strategy for its comparison shopping service wasn’t just about attracting customers. It wasn’t just about making its product better than its rivals. Google has abused its market dominance in its search engine by promoting its own shopping comparison site in its search results and demoting its competitors.”

“They reach merchant websites in many different ways: via general search engines, specialist search services, merchant platforms, social media sites, and online ads served by various companies,” Kent Walker, Google’s general counsel, said in a blog post.

What now of hospitality and retail sectors?

Google are one of the best poised to take on the likes of Expedia, Trivago and Booking.com, because they now have integration with flight data, hotel data, Uber and many others, so you could essentially use this service to plan the entire trip.

At the International Hotel Investment Forum (#IHIF2017) in March, Terri Scriven, Google’s industry head for hospitality, emphasized how the tech giant works with hoteliers and others. She had plenty of practical advice for hoteliers about the need to hire data scientists and to integrate a hotel’s customer relationship management (CRM) system with the property management system or PMS. Asked about the ability of hotels to analyse and use data, Scriven replied: “It’s horrible, it’s kind of hitting my head against a brick wall on a day-to-day basis. But there’s progress being made which is good.”

In an interview with Trip Tease, Terri Scriven, stated that she works to drive traffic direct to hotel websites.

“Destinations Google – it allows you to match specific hotel data and flight search data with key phrases typed into google search bar.  People are searching in micro-moments which is why Destinations is only on mobile. Hilton saw an incremental increase of 40% by using hotel ads.”

In this interview – Terri seemed to talk about working with the likes of Booking.com and independent hoteliers equally to drive traffic to both – giving a fair approach to supporting customers of Google Shopping and Google Ads in general.

It seems that Google are trying not to be evil, especially after their horrendous financial punishment. But in terms of the business owners, using Google ads is still effective to drive traffic and remarketing lists are even more so. However, the money you have to spend is still unpredictable and based on the relevancy of the keywords and campaigns.

Sources of Information

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ig8JdfZnabY – See this 19 minute sky broadcast to get a taste of the investigation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvWDubX4sB8 – This video is nearly 60 minutes. Margrethe Vestager goes into details about the investigation and the findings.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXz9PFy4p88 – An interview on BBC – talks about how the big tech giants are abusing their power.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qgx6Ru_Hst8 – Trip tease talks to Terri Scriven

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ks3ZB_H1OZM – Interview with Margrethe Vestager from Vice News

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=timl8PdW8Es – The economist interviews Margrethe Vestager

Related Posts