Tips for adapting your Google local inventory ads strategy during COVID-19

April 2, 2020
As a company, Productsup is working with retailers and shop owners on a daily basis. During these trying times, we’ve been getting a number of questions relating to Google local inventory ads. Advertisers want to know how to adapt strategies according to ever-changing local regulations, how to stop or limit foot traffic, and how to save money. Which brings us to the point of this article.
It seems like the retail industry, and the world for that matter has been flipped upside down by the ongoing spread of COVID-19. For many of us, daily life as we knew it has been totally disrupted. Retail shops are closed. The ones that aren’t may have adjusted their store hours. We’re grocery shopping at odd hours to limit social contact. Everything is… different.
We want to help retailers navigate these challenging times as seamlessly as possible. So, whether you want to continue to drive traffic or stop it altogether, here are some tips on how to adapt your LIA campaigns in the time of COVID-19.

Adjust your LIA campaign settings

One of our clients’ main concerns during the past few weeks has been how to soften the impact of COVID-19 on their brick-and-mortar business. While each situation is different, one way to limit traffic loss is by re-examining your LIA campaign settings. Here are two areas to pay particular attention to.
  • Adapt your advertising schedule

adwords ad scheduling
Source: Wordstream

Dayparting is a highly-effective advertising tactic to ensure different ads are shown at different times of the day. Why? Because shops can boost in-store traffic by generating more online visibility at peak times. For example, an electronic store may regularly see more traffic on the weekends and after 6:00 PM, when shoppers tend to have time off work. Thus, they’d schedule ads during these peak hours to boost traffic even further. Until recently, peak times were quite predictable for most physical stores.
Today, however, both retailers and consumers have had a wrench thrown in their typical schedules. More people are shopping at odd hours of the night to avoid busy shops. Stores have had to adjust their opening and closing times to be in ordinance with new regulations and/or due to staff shortages.
All things considered, we recommend taking a good look at your current PPC advertising schedule. If you’re using dayparting tactics, be sure to adapt it to reflect your new opening hours and/or new traffic trends. Not only will this save you money, but it’ll also ensure your ads remain visible and effective.
  • Expand your location extension in Google My Business

google lia covid listings
Source: Google

Location extensions are a great way to enrich your PPC ads with local shop locations and contact information. By setting up a </span>radius, shop owners can focus their targeting efforts on only those in close proximity to their shop. The typical result? More foot traffic and more sales.
We recommend that you take a look at your current location extension settings and consider widening your advertising radius. The reason for this is that shoppers, especially in the US where they don’t rely so heavily on public transportation, may be willing to go further than usual when looking for certain products. For example, perhaps the shop closest to them was closed and the next closest was out-of-stock on their desired product. Expanding your radius will allow you to target shoppers in these situations to drive traffic and conversion.

Need to limit or stop traffic for now?

A huge number of shops across the world have been forced to close or limit opening hours to halt the spread of COVID-19. In this type of situation, store owners may want to put a cap on foot traffic or stop it altogether. Here’s what we recommend.
  • Suppress highly-trafficked stores in your Google My Business Locations Feed

Have your local authorities put a cap on the number of people you can have in your store at a time? Your opening hours? If so, now’s the time to review which of your stores are serving LIAs and determine whether or not they’re experiencing higher traffic. If so, you can suppress those stores within your Google My Business Locations Feed. All of this can be done right in the Google My Business interface.
  • Exclude low-in-stock products from your Local Products Inventory Feed

Another way to limit the number of people visiting your shop, without losing all traffic, is by excluding products with a limited inventory from your product feed. For example, maybe you’d normally exclude products when 3 or less are available in-store. We recommend updating this number to exclude products with a stock count of 10 or less. The entire purpose of this is to not drive shoppers to your store unless necessary.

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This is an unprecedented time for the retail industry, and for the people who shape it. But we must remember that we’re all in this together. If you need any advice on your advertising strategy, LIAs, or retail in general, our sterling support team has got you covered. Our experts are always ready to help - no matter the challenge.
Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay tuned for more educational content coming your way.
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Gina Beach
Team Lead Content