What Are Shopping Ads?

Shopping ads are advertisements that appear as product images when a customer searches for an item online. Shopping ads allow companies to display details about the products shown without requiring the customer to click through. Currently, the most popular shopping ad platforms are Google, Amazon, and social media. 

Shopping ads are most successful for businesses selling products that are visually appealing. Images of those items will appear when looked for while using a search engine. For instance, retail businesses are more likely to have products that appear in searches such as clothing items or kitchen appliances. 

Shopping ads are ideal for showcasing your product and instantly displaying curated product data to potential customers, such as the product name, features, and price. The product ad easily helps buyers quickly find what they are already looking for. 

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What’s the Difference Between Shopping Ads, Display Ads, and Search Ads?

When it comes to finding the perfect way to advertise your company, it can be overwhelming when you consider the number of options. It’s helpful to understand the key differences between available ad types in order to decide which is most relevant to your business needs.

Display Ads

Unlike Google Shopping, display ads don’t stem from a Google search. Display ads are the visual ads displayed on other websites across the internet, in places like news sites, blogs, and online magazines. These sites are all part of the Google Display Network, a platform of over 2 million sites with Google AdSense enabled, and an enormous reach to over 90% of internet users.

While the network is vast, an essential difference between Display ads and Shopping ads is that the former does not target users that have searched for your product, but rather those who visit a related website with ads based on parameters like demographics or interests. Display ads are thus a form of “push” rather than “pull” advertising.

Search Ads

Search ads, like Shopping ads, fall under Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising which drives traffic to your website. While these two options are often confused, they do have key differences. A Search ad within Google is a text ad that shows up depending on which keywords you’ve bid on while Shopping ad campaigns are image-based. Search ads let you switch up phrasing to maximize your reach based on your customers’ needs, with terms such as “free shipping”, “discount”, and “on sale”.

Shopping ads require you to keep a shopping feed in the Google Merchant Center, while Search ads do not. This means you need an updated data feed including your product information and availability to populate your ads accurately.

Free Google Search Campaign Audit Today! 


Who Should Use Shopping Ads?

The relevance of Shopping ads to your business needs depends on many factors. First of these is the service or product you provide. You should use Shopping ads if your product type lends itself to a visual medium. If your goal is to increase online sales and visibility, DaBrian Marketing Group recommends evaluating shopping ads.  

With supply chain and staffing issues, selling products online can be a way to get incremental revenues while navigating the post-pandemic commercial landscape. You could potentially see higher profit margins depending on demand for your products. 

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What Are Some Popular Shopping Ads Platforms?

Google Shopping

Google is the most popular shopping platform, thanks to its huge search engine and extensive data collection. Running a campaign in Google Ads requires signing up for a Google Ad account.

Google lets you populate your Shopping ads, also known as Product Listing Ads, in two ways. The first, product shopping ads, are created based on the product data that you submit in the Merchant Center. The second, local inventory ads, are created by combining product data and inventory data, which gives customers the added option of picking up in-store near them.

Microsoft Shopping Ads (Bing Shopping) 

If you want to display your ads across the Microsoft Search Network, which includes the second largest search engine, Bing.com, then Bing ads are the best option. These work similarly to Google Shopping - you provide the information and creative marketing and set your daily budget before launching your campaigns. While Bing has a much smaller market share than Google, that also means there is less competition, which can mean savings for your company.

Facebook/Instagram Ads 

While Facebook and Instagram are different apps, advertisements in both or either can be managed through Facebook’s Ad Manager. TikTok is another social commerce platform that has ecommerce features.  Using social media advertising is a great way to target your audience, particularly based on age range. It also gives you more flexibility for building brand awareness.

Amazon Ads 

Amazon has an enormous market share of e-commerce, and the over 300 million users mean plenty of eyes for your ads. Amazon offers competitive point-of-purchase opportunities and positioning right where customers go to buy. They also offer premium ads as banners that are similar to display ads. You can use campaign types such as sponsored products, sponsored brands, sponsored display, video ads, audio ads, and custom solutions. 

How Do Shopping Ads Work?

Getting Started with Shopping Ads

To set up Shopping ads with Google, the first step is to set up a Google Merchant Center Account. The Merchant Center is where you’ll keep a product feed to list your available products along with their applicable details.

Instead of keywords, this product information is used by Google to show your ads in relevant searches. Your budget is spent on bidding on the items that will show up in a given search result. The cost-per-click (CPC) payment system means you only pay when a customer clicks through to your website. Once you’ve chosen all of the details, you schedule and finalize your campaign.

There are many valuable strategies that will strengthen your Shopping ad campaign, like creating product groups to organize your inventory for the items you’d like to bid on, and ad groups to manage your previous campaigns. 

Smart Shopping Campaigns 

As many companies have limited time to dedicate to online advertising, Google provides its users with the option of Smart Shopping, a feature that utilizes machine learning and automation to optimize Shopping ads. This allows you, the user, to focus more on big picture strategy and overall business goals. Smart Shopping also reduces some of the daily maintenance required on your ad. Smart shopping can also include smart bidding, an automated process aimed at maximizing your conversions.

When Should You Use Shopping Ads and Why?

Depending on your industry, Shopping ads can be a valuable tool in your marketing strategy any time of the year. They allow you to visually integrate your products into a search that a potential customer is already making, creating a solution-based relationship. Regardless of the timing, there are numerous ways to obtain better results using Shopping campaigns.

Making minor adjustments to your bidding, product images, descriptions, discounts, and promotions is an excellent strategy for refreshing the impact your ads have. Track the changes you’ve made along with the success rate to calibrate the most effective outcomes.

DaBrian Marketing Group digital marketing consultants have been running paid advertising campaigns and offering PPC Management for over a decade and we’re always here to help your business grow.  

Book a Meeting for a Free Shopping Ads Consultation Today. 


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