If you’re an e-commerce retailer advertising with Google Ads, you’re almost certainly utilizing shopping campaigns already. Shopping campaigns allow you to generate product listing ad impressions on the Google search engine results page (SERP), using the product data housed in your Google Merchant Center account. Not only does Google take advantage of all the various signals present in your product feed to generate a relatively large number of ad impressions, but you’re also eligible to show multiple product listing ads on a single SERP (versus a maximum of one text ad). And, you’re usually able to acquire clicks for lower average costs for competitive, non-branded search terms.
Essentially, if you’re an e-commerce retailer on Google Ads and you’re not using shopping campaigns, what are you doing? Get on that. Today. Seriously.
Compared to traditional text ads, shopping campaigns give you an opportunity to increase revenue at improved return on ad spend (ROAS) levels for non-branded search terms. However, these campaigns don’t give much control over ad creative; you’re limited to utilizing the content and images that are in your product feed. With Google’s product image policies and uniform ad format on the SERP, it can be hard to really stand out against your competitors selling similar products. How can you gain a competitive edge without just resorting to lowering prices or offering discounts?
There’s another solution that allows you to show potential customers more aesthetically-compelling images alongside your product listings: Showcase Shopping ads. These ads can better appeal to users a bit higher up in the funnel who still need to be persuaded that your product is the right one for them. Showing a more compelling visual that better enables a potential customer to envision themselves using your product could be the mental kickstart they need to click through and research further.
How Showcase Ads Work
Think of a Showcase ad like a featured image in a product catalog. It’s the main image that draws your attention before focusing on the related products associated with that image. Google allows you to upload a high-quality image (1.91:1 aspect ratio) which will then be eligible to show at the top of a SERP on a mobile or tablet device:
These images can help increase your click-through rate for shopping campaigns because they stick out. Furthermore, because these ads exclusively generate impressions on mobile devices, they take up a lot of room at the top of the SERP (which also helps improve click-through rates).
If a user decides to click on your Showcase ad image, it expands to show the user associated product listing ads generated from your product feed. A user can then scroll through your product and click through on one that they like, or they can click through your main Showcase image to a landing page you specify. Depending on how particular your image is to a specific category of products, you can set filters at the campaign or ad group level to ensure only certain product listings show up alongside your Showcase image.
For more specific instructions, you can reference Google’s step-by-step guide.
Increase Shopping Ad Impression Volume
Having a robust set of Showcase shopping campaigns comparable to your standard shopping campaigns can increase your total shopping ad impression volume by more than 10%. Take a look at data from one of our clients from the past 12 months:
We generated 11% more impressions with Showcase Shopping ads than we would have otherwise, which resulted in 9% additional clicks, which converted at similar ROAS levels. Our revenue levels increased an extra 5% just by ensuring we had a set of Showcase Shopping campaigns to match our other shopping campaigns.
Tips and Best Practices
Before you go off to create your own set of Showcase Shopping campaigns, keep the following best practices in mind:
- Use product category filters to ensure the product listing ads that show up with your Showcase ad correlate with each other.
- Have at least three ads per ad group and let Google rotate through them to find the best-performing image asset.
- Test different landing pages with each of your Showcase image assets if applicable.
- Use the same bidding strategies and audience targets (RLSA) that have proven successful for your standard shopping campaigns.