For years, Google Ads has been one of the most prominent advertising platforms for businesses to promote themselves and their products and services. The giant company has packed it with advanced features to give advertisers more flexibility and targeting accuracy and enable them to find customers at different levels of their marketing funnel.
This has become possible thanks to different types of advertising on Google, each designed to approach potential clients efficiently in a different way. Two great instances are search ads and shopping ads, which both appear on search engine result pages (SERPs), but can get drastically different results thanks to their distinct characteristics. If you wish to run ads on Google but can’t decide between search ads and shopping ads, keep reading to understand their differences, advantages, and use cases.
Google shopping ads
The first thing you should know about Google shopping ads is that they’re basically a type of search ad. So you’re not looking at something completely separate like Google display ads which have their own network of websites and apps. These ads mostly appear on the Shopping tab of every Google search result page, but instead of just a title and a description, they contain a photo of your product, price, store name, user ratings, title, and more.
So somehow similar to a display ad, they provide a visual experience for users. As you can see, shopping ads are particularly great for e-commerce businesses since they get the chance to showcase their products with images, making them more appealing and attention-grabbing. From the user’s point of view, shopping ads make the process of finding products on Google smoother and easier. They can browse products relevant to their query right inside Google’s environment itself and check if they fit their taste and budget before visiting the advertiser’s website.
So how do Google shopping campaigns work? To run shopping ads, you first have to provide Google with your product data. This data which is submitted to the Google Merchant Center includes attributes such as price, condition, availability, etc. Google then analyzes the product details and shows your ads to users who enter relevant queries in its search engine. Google shopping ads are not exclusive to their own tab. They can appear in multiple places on the text search result pages (mostly on top in the format of a carousel) or on top of the Images tab.
Google text search ads
Google text search is the most common type of Google Ads that appear on SERPs looking just like organic search results. They have a title, a description, and a tiny “Ad” icon to distinguish them from other search results. There are also various extensions available to add more details like phone numbers, store hours, ratings, etc. They appear on the top and bottom of every results page and as the name suggests, these ads are text-based, meaning you have to convey your message and convince the user to click on your ads all through clever use of ad copy (and good keyword targeting).
To run Google text search ad campaigns, you have to bid on keywords. These are words and phrases that are used by Google to match your advertisements with what people are searching for. The more relevant, high-volume, and high-quality keywords you target, the more people you reach with your ads. Once a user enters a query that matches your selected keywords, your ad enters an auction to decide whether it will show or not. Keywords cost differently based on multiple factors like quality, competition, ad and landing page relevance, and more.
The topic of keywords in Google search ads is really extensive and frankly doesn’t fit in this article, but I can’t stress enough how powerful it can be for maximizing your reach. Google has really marveled at refining its platform features, providing advertisers with massive flexibility in keyword targeting, exclusion, competition analysis, and more. If done right, search ads will help you appear in front of potential customers right when they have high buyer intent and are actively looking to buy something your business provides.
Differences between shopping ads and text search ads
Though both are considered search ads, there are a couple of differences that make each more suitable for different scenarios. Shopping ads generally provide advertisers with a broader presence, since these ads could appear in multiple places, unlike text search ads which are limited to their own tab on SERPs.
Shopping ads are ideal for promoting physical products. They’re image-based and contain vital details like prices which make them exceptionally great for attracting qualified leads and grabbing more conversions. Customers could check if your product matches their needs before visiting your store, so the ones that click on your ad are much more likely to convert and purchase that product.
Text search ads on the other hand are great for any type of business, whether they have a physical product or not. These ads generate results almost instantly and cost less than shopping ads, so if you’re on a tight budget, they could be of great help.
Setting up text search campaigns is much easier than shopping campaigns since you’re not required to provide Google with extensive product data. Running shopping campaigns could be a hassle; you have to follow Google’s very strict rules and guidelines, constantly update your product feed and make sure there’s no contradiction between what’s in your Merchant Center account and your online shop.
Another key difference between the two is how Google matches these ads to what people search. Text search ads work with keywords, but shopping ads completely rely on Google’s analysis of your product details. Once you enter your product feed, Google analyzes the details you’ve provided and decides which keywords will trigger your shopping ads to appear on result pages.
Comparison of Key Features and Benefits of Google Search Ads and Shopping Ads
When it comes to advertising on Google, one of the most common questions that businesses ask is whether they should focus on Google Search Ads or Google Shopping Ads. Both ad types have their own set of key features and benefits, and the choice ultimately comes down to the specific goals and needs of your business.
Google Search Ads, also known as text ads, are the traditional form of advertising on Google. They appear at the top and bottom of the search results page and are triggered by specific keywords that users type into the search bar. These ads are great for driving targeted traffic to your website and are ideal for businesses that want to promote a specific product or service.
On the other hand, Google Shopping Ads, also known as product listing ads, are a newer ad format that showcase a product image, title, price, and store name. These ads are triggered by users searching for specific products and are displayed at the top of the search results page. They are great for businesses that want to increase visibility for their products and drive more sales.
In terms of key features, Google Search Ads allow for more control over ad copy and targeting options, while Shopping Ads allow for more control over product data and imagery. In terms of benefits, Search Ads are better for driving targeted traffic and promoting specific products or services, while Shopping Ads are better for increasing product visibility and driving sales.
Ultimately, the choice between Google Search Ads and Shopping Ads will depend on the specific goals and needs of your business. It’s recommended to test both ad formats and see which one performs better for your business.
Which one should you use?
If you have enough budget AND your business sells physical products, it’s best to use a combination of the two to maximize your reach. Shopping ads can appear in multiple places in a SERP, including their own dedicated tab, so this way, you’re basically multiplying your reach and adding highly qualified leads to your incoming traffic.
Another reason why you should use both is to highlight both your products (via shopping ads) and your brand (via text search ads), so you’ll be marketing to people who care more about the product themselves, and the ones who prefer to choose the brand first.
Hopefully, this comparison will help you decide which one to pick between Google text search ads and shopping ads. While they’re both subtypes of search ads, they have very different characteristics, setup processes, and costs, so make sure to consider your resources and business goals properly before picking one.
What is the difference between Google Ads and Google Shopping ads?
Google shopping ads are not limited to only a title and a description. They include an image, price, ratings, store name, offers, and more. They can appear in different places in a SERP, and they don’t use keywords to match with relevant queries. Instead, advertisers should provide Google with a product feed, and the algorithm will decide where and how to show the ads.
Is Google Shopping the same as Google search?
Google shopping is a type of Google search ad, but it’s drastically different than text search ads, which is the most common form of Google ads.