Q3 2016 US Google Shopping Growth Analysis Report

Online retail store owners in the United States are dedicating more spend each year to Google Shopping, the product advertising campaign type within AdWords. Q3 generally saw increases across the board as compared to Q2. Shoppers are spending more time searching and clicking while retailers are spending more and increasing their average ROAS as a result. Leading the pack in ROAS are mobile device-based clicks on Product Ads.

Mobile Searches


Increased Mobile
PLA Clicks


Product Searches


Increased Clicks
On PLA's

People Are Searching More (And Clicking)

2016 has really been all about Mobile shopping. People are using their smart phones and mobile devices not only to start their purchase journey but to finish it as well. On average, mobile searches increased by 51% while clicks on product ads from mobile devices exploded by a staggering 334%. Product searches and clicks on product ads matched each other in Q3 growth, each both seeing a 9% increase.

No doubt that some of the more recent changes to Google’s serving of PLA’s has brought about some major increases in ad exposure. With the removal of side-bar text ads, inclusion of PLA’s in Image Search, and changes to how ads appear on mobile devices, Google Shopping has experienced some distinct spikes in traffic and impressions.


Increase PLA
Conversion Value


Increased Shopping
Ad Spend


Increase YoY


Increased Mobile
PLA Spend

Spend Is Up, ROAS Is Too

From Q2 to Q3 average Conversion Value stemming purely from Google Shopping campaigns jumped 15%.

ROAS also saw a pretty significant boost even though retailers spent on average 11% more on Google Shopping in Q3 versus Q2. That extra spend clearly resulted in a boost in average ROAS from five times in Q2 to 6 times in Q3.

YoY, retailers experienced a 44% boost in Google Shopping profitability when Q3 2016 was compared to Q3 2015. Mobile ROAS for most retailers completely overshadows returns on Desktop and Tablets with full browsers. Mobile ads have shown to convert around three times more profitably than Desktop and five times that of Tablet traffic.

Retailers were found to be spending a lot more on Mobile in Q3 as the average Mobile Ad Spend climbed from Q2 by 56%.


Increase PLA
Average CPC


Decrease Mobile
Average CPC


Decreased Average
CPC From Q1


Decrease Tablet
PLA Average CPC

Average Cost-Per-Click Sees Some Changes

The average CPC among US retailers researched increased ever so slightly between Q2 and Q3 by 2% with mobile CPC often 78% less than Desktop.

As compared to Q1, retailers saw Average CPC drop over 6% and saved an average 3 cents on the dollar in both Q2 and Q3.

Although average CPC on Tablet versus Desktop is often thought to be very similar, From Q2 to Q3, Tablet CPC’s fell on average by 16% while Desktop remained relatively constant.


Eligible For


Utilize RLSA


Eligible For
Dynamic Remarketing


Utilize Dynamic

Fewer Take Advantage Of Remarketing

Although 52% of retailers on average are not eligible for use of RLSA, only 33% of those who were eligible actually took advantage of its capabilities.

Google’s update to Merchant Center has allowed retailers to enable Dynamic Remarketing directly from the new interface. Even though the convenience was added, the complexity involved in creating and structuring these campaigns still remains. This has left the average majority of retailers (71%) eligible to use Dynamic Remarketing, however only 21% have done so.


Increased Retail
Searches YoY


Increased PLA
Clicks YoY


Decreased PLA
Average CPC YoY


Increased PLA
Conversions YoY

YTD Compared To Previous

Both retail searches on Google and clicks on Product Ads are up this year compared to last. There were 70% more searches this year with clicks on ads seeing a 60% increase.

Average CPC has shown to be decreasing YoY with 21% down from last year to this and total number of conversions grew by 36%.