How Google Affiliate Location Extensions Are Failing Small Manufacturers

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Google Affiliate Location Extensions make it possible to promote specific products available at nearby stores. But the promise for small manufacturers still falls short.

 

One Inventor’s (True) Story

It’s raining. You are pushing your stroller with one hand, holding an umbrella with the other, and a call comes in. You’re in the middle of a busy intersection so you let the call go unanswered. But you’re distracted, so when you reach the other side of the street you trip on the curb and the stroller slams into your midsection. It hurts, but inspiration strikes and a new product is born: the first hands-free umbrella for the stroller chauffeur. You call it Blue Bumbershoot.

You’ve put months of toil into building your new product. Prototypes become products. Your marketing plan is working and the first batch sold overnight. You have dozens of boutique distributors around the country lined up for when the second shipment arrives. But no national chains, yet. 

How can you advertise your product at the stores that actually sell it?

It’s easy to advertise for online sales, but what about offline? 

 

Dangling Opportunity: Affiliate Location Extensions

Google Affiliate Location Extensions have huge potential to drive offline sales. They make it possible for a manufacturer to advertise directly to active shoppers near a retail location that carries their product. 

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The Upside of Google Affiliate Location Extensions

To be fair, there are some serious benefits to small manufacturers that use Affiliate Location Extensions. For those with national chain presence, they’re a great way to drive offline sales — and they are a point of leverage when negotiating distribution deals. Some other benefits to consider:

  • Your ad will come up prominently in search results and feature a map link to the local store. 

  • There is some evidence that shows Affiliate Location ads outperform traditional Site Link ads.

  • You don’t need to have a Google My Business account to use them. This is good for manufacturers without stores of their own.

  • You can spend ad budget only in locations where stores are nearby.

  • Affiliate Location Extensions just got started in late 2016 and have been GROWING internationally at a rapid pace. Their reach is bound to expand. 

But if your product isn’t available at a national chain like Target or Costco, you are out of luck. As of late 2017, Google only offers location extensions for 81 US national chains, the largest portion of which are grocery stores (see below for the latest list of chains, aslo including 46 in the UK, 52 in Australia, 38 in Germany, and 36 in Canada). 

    Even if you are lucky enough to have a distribution deal in place with a national retailer, you have no way to link your inventory data at each location with the ads that show up. So the ad you pay for may drive a customer to a location that doesn’t actually have your product on the shelf. Plus, Google won’t share any store visit information unless traffic volume is high, leaving niche manufacturers in the dark.

    So that leaves small manufacturers without national chain distribution only one choice: creating their own ads for every location where their product is sold. But doing this outside of Google’s Affiliate Locations means you need to create a microsite for every store, because Google won’t allow your ad to point directly to a map of the location. 

     

    Our solution: Serendipity

    At Deducive, we specialize in bringing scalable, data-driven marketing strategies to companies of all sizes — not just big manufacturers. Many mid-sized manufacturers, such as those in the beverage and luxury product markets, rely heavily on in-store sales.

    So we’re building out a new programmatic advertising platform that makes it possible to promote specific products at specific locations. We call it Serendipity.

    Serendipity helps marketers navigate the APIs of channels like Google, Facebook, and Instagram to create highly targeted digital campaigns tied to bricks-and-mortar store locations. Our team of seasoned creative strategists and data scientists will help you develop new, channel specific campaigns with provable results.

    If you’d like to put Serendipity to work for you, contact us to learn more.
     

    Appendix: Retail Chains Available as Google Affiliate Location Extensions

    United StatesUnited KingdomAustraliaGermanyCanada
    7-ElevenAldi7 ElevenAldi2001 Audio Video
    Advance Auto PartsAppleAldiBauhausBed, Bath & Beyond
    AlbertsonsArgosAmart SportsBudniBell
    AMPMAsdaAmcalC&ABest Buy
    AT&TB&QAnacondaConradCanadian Tire
    AutoZoneBonmarcheAuto OneDeichmannCostco
    BabiesRUsBradfordsAutobarnDm-DrogerieDominion
    Bashas'Carphone WarehouseAutoproDouglasEB Games
    Bed, Bath, BeyondClairesBettaEdekaHome Depot
    BelkCo-operativeBig WEPHome Outfitters
    Best BuyCostcoBing LeeErnsting's FamilyHudson's Bay
    Big 5 Sporting GoodsCurrysBunningsGaleria KaufhofLCBO
    BJ'sDebenhamsBurson Auto PartsGlobusLeon's Furniture
    Bloomingdale'sEEChemist WarehouseH&MLondon Drugs
    Boost MobileGordons ChemistColesHagebauLongo's
    Casey's General StoreHouse Of FraserColes ExpressHornbachLowe's
    Circle KIcelandCostcoKauflandMarshalls
    CostcoJewsonDavid JonesKikMaxi
    Cub FoodsJohn LewisDiscount Drug StoresLidlNapa Auto Parts
    CVSLidlFoodlandMarktkaufNCIX
    Dick's Sporting GoodsM&CoGeneral PantsMedia MarktNo Frills
    Dollar GeneralM&SHarris ScarfeMediMaxRexall
    Dollar TreeMakroHarvey NormanMetroRona
    Duane ReadeManor PharmacyHome Timber and HardwareMüllerSAQ
    Farm FreshMaplinIGANettoShoppers Drug Mart
    Food CityMatalanIKEANormaSobeys
    FootlockerMaxwells Diy PeterleeJB Hi-Fio2Staples
    Fred MeyerMorrisonsJust JeansObiTanguay
    Fry'sNational PlasticsKmartOrsayTeletime
    Giant EagleNewlookMeccaPennyThe Beer Store
    GolfsmithO2Mitre 10realThe Brick
    Grocery OutletOne StopMountain DesignsRossmannThe Source
    H-E-BPeacocksMy ChemistSaturnValu-mart
    Harris TeeterPrimarkMyerTakkoVirgin
    Home DepotRobert dyasOfficeworksTally WeijlWalmart
    HORNBACHER'SSainsbury'sOptusTchiboZehrs
    InglesScrewfixPricelineToom
    JCPenneySparRaysVodafone
    Kinney DrugsTescoRebel
    KmartTherangeRepco
    Kohl'sThree WirelessRetravision
    KrogerToolstationSoul Pattinson
    Lord & TaylorUK ChainsSportsmans Warehouse
    Lowe'sVodafoneSpotlight
    Macy'sWaitroseSupercheap Auto
    MarshallsWickesTarget
    MeijerWilkoTelstra
    MetroPCSThe Good Guys
    Napa Auto PartsTrue Value Hardware
    Neiman MarcusVirgin Mobile
    None selectedVodafone
    NordstormWoolworths
    O'Reilly Auto Parts
    Pep Boys
    Petco
    Petsmart
    Publix
    Rite Aid
    Safeway
    Saks Fifth Ave
    Sam's Club
    Save-a-lot
    Sears
    Sephora
    SHOP 'N SAVE
    SHOPPERS
    Speedway
    Sprint
    Stage Stores
    Staples
    T-Mobile
    Target
    The Medicine Shoppe
    TJMaxx
    TOPS Markets
    ToysRUs
    Trader Joe's
    Ulta Beauty
    Verizon
    Walgreens
    Walmart
    Wegmans