Google Making (Mobile) Search More Transactional with Buy Buttons, Booking Links

Google customer funnel

Over the weekend it came out that Google is going to start including “buy” buttons on selected mobile search ads in the relatively near future. This is part of a broader movement to “compress the funnel” and to enable mobile users to complete intended or desired actions with fewer steps.

According to the rumor, buy buttons would appear on shopping ads at the top of mobile results. Users would then go to landing pages that offer various shopping/sizing options. Payments would be stored or facilitated by Google, but there would be more than just a Google Wallet option. Retailers wouldn’t get the payment information.

I’m less interested in the specific mechanics of the arrangement than the fact that buy buttons will be showing up in search ads themselves. This is conceptually similar to what Google has done in local by incorporating third party booking or ordering services into search results.

GMB booking

In the latter case, I assume, local businesses must be registered with the relevant third party service. Right now there are only a handful of these providers, including GrubHub and Delivery.com among several others. If consumer response is strong more will undoubtedly be added.

This approach mirrors Yelp Platform, which integrates third party booking/ordering services into Yelp pages to make them more transactional.

The two developments represent the integration of transactional capabilities into both AdWords (buy button) and organic listings (ordering). It makes search much more “app-like.” (Microsoft is doing this too.) We should anticipate that more transactional capabilities will be integrated into AdWords, including and especially local search results.

Like the “call button,” expect that over time we’ll see “book” and “order” buttons showing up in many more search ads.

These developments are in some sense responding to consumer desires to complete tasks and take action on mobile devices with fewer steps — the removal of the “referral step” — and Google’s recognition of high intent queries in mobile: so-called “micro moments.” As we discussed extensively at LSA 15 these capabilities reflect a blurring of online and offline commerce and the overall commerce-enablement of the local market.

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