Google Showcase Shopping

Showcase Shopping Ads – Skyrocket Your Product Visibility

If you manage ads for an e-commerce business, you’re probably always searching for new ways to get your ads to stand out. Competition can be fierce, and any way to attract more attention to your ads without increasing your budget is worth considering. If you’re already using Shopping Campaigns, then you’ll be excited to learn more about Showcase Shopping Ads which allow your products and your brand to appear to users in new ways.

What are Showcase Shopping Ads

Showcase Shopping Ads are a way to give users a catalog of your products rather than just one product. They give you the ability to show several relevant results and “showcase” several products to users who have expressed shopping intent. 

Showcase Shopping Ads allow you to advertise on the Search Network like Product Shopping Ads do, but lets users click to expand your selection and browse without ever leaving the page. They also appear at the very top of the page above everything else. It’s fantastic because we all like choices, and being at the absolute top of the page guarantees attention.

How Do Showcase Shopping Ads Work?

A user searches a broad term like “patio chairs,” triggering your ads to serve at the top of the SERP (search engine results page). Your ad displays your products and their prices, just like product shopping ads. You also have the ability to use video, rather than an image in the ad.

When someone clicks the ad, it expands — a feature that’s not available in product ads. When a user clicks it, the ad expands to show your catalog, and if they click again, they arrive on your landing page.

The coolest part is the first click is free! Users can click to expand your ad and see your products without navigating away from the SERP.

Google Showcase Shopping Ads Implementation

Showcase Shopping ads are easy to implement in just a few clicks and create a significant impact. If you want more interaction with your ads and to improve your opportunity to sell products by giving searchers options, then you’re using the right ad type.

How to Set Up Showcase Shopping Ads

Interested in creating Showcase Shopping Ads for your business? You can start either one of two ways. Either create a brand new Shopping Campaign or create a new ad group in an existing Shopping Campaign. We suggest you choose the method that fits best with your current account structure.

Creating Your Ad Group

Once you’re decided, navigate to the ad group tab in a Shopping Campaign and click the blue plus button to add an ad group. Select the type of ad group, Showcase Shopping, and name your ad group. Now choose a cost per engagement bid for your ad group and enter it.

Google charges per engagement for this type of ad rather than per click, since some are free. Google defines engagement for Showcase Shopping Ads as, “Expand the ad and spend 10 seconds within the ad or clicks before 10 seconds have passed.”

From here, select which of your products you want to appear in your ads. Use your product groups from your Merchant Center create your ad group. The process is similar to the way ad groups are constructed in Shopping Ads. When you’re finished, click Save and Continue.

Constructing Your Showcase Shopping Ads

After you create the ad group, follow the guide to construct the ad creative portion of your ad group. Start by uploading your header image or video. Since you’re advertising a group of products, the image needs to be representative of the whole group and/ or your brand. 

At this point, you have the option to generate copy for your ad. It is an optional part of the process, but it never hurts to tailor your ads to your audience using all of the tools at your disposal. There are both headline and description lines that can be customized. 

The last step is to preview your ad on the right side of the screen. Make any needed edits, then click Save and Continue. Your ads will then be reviewed, and they should be ready to run in about 72 hours.

The required image and character specifications exist in the Google Ads Help article on Showcase Shopping Ads.

Who Can Use Shopping Campaigns?

While we wish everyone were eligible to use Shopping Campaigns, there are some requirements barring entry. You need your Merchant Center set up and linked to your Google Ads account. You’re also obligated to keep your product feed up to date by submitting your feed at least every 30 days. Additionally, your product data needs to comply with all Google Shopping Policies, which includes product restrictions, adherence to website standards, and conducting a type of business that is not banned or restricted on the network. 

Bidding Options for AdWords Shopping Showcase Ads

Remember the days when manual CPC and automated rules were the only options you had? Your bid strategies won’t be that limited with this campaign type. You can choose from 3 strategies. They are:

  • Target ROAS (return on ad spend)
  • Maximum CPE (cost per engagement)
  • Maximize clicks

Where Will My Image Header Appear?

Image headers can appear in a couple of places. You may see it at the top of your expanded ad after an ad click. If the image is the best match for a search query, the image header can show up in your ad before someone clicks. Another possibility is that your image header won’t appear but your product images will instead. Google will show the image that’s most relevant to a user’s query.

What are the Most Important Metrics?

All campaigns have a set of core KPIs. What are the predictors of success for your ads? The number one set of metrics to consider when analyzing the performance of Showcase Shopping Ads is engagement. While conversions are always ideal, this ad type isn’t geared towards the bottom of the funnel acquisition.

Your top metrics for these ads are engagements, average cost per engagement, free clicks, and average cost per engagement. In some ways measuring engagement over conversions may seem counterintuitive, but the objective is to gain brand recognition and engagement. 

Shopping Showcase Ads Best Practices

As with all advertising, there are some best practices you should follow to make your ads more successful. A critical one for Shopping Ads and especially for this type of Shopping Ad is to use the highest quality image available. Your product images should also provide a relevant, seamless experience. You wouldn’t wear ripped jeans to a formal wedding. Likewise, you wouldn’t use a blurry, dark, or blurry photo.

Another best practice is to always use pictures that are free from watermarks, logos, borders, or anything else that detracts from the product itself. You should also ensure there is no excessive whitespace or cropping.

Product photography is an integral part of your success, but so is your campaign structure. Don’t use your “all products” group for these ads. Instead, group your products by broad themes like summer dresses or running shoes.

The last thing you want to consider is creating a funnel. Showcase Shopping Ads target broad, non-branded keywords, which tend to reach people who are still researching. You should mix your Showcase Ads with regular (more purchase intent driven) Shopping Ads to structure a full-funnel strategy. 

Optimizing Your Shopping Showcase Ads

After a few weeks, you’ll find it’s time to begin optimizing your campaigns. There are various ways to do that. One such way is to A/B test your feature images against videos. Google allows you to use a feature video in your ads for a more interactive experience, so why not see how it affects your performance?

Product group structure is another area that can be optimized. Start with broad product groups like “summer clothes.” Then create more specific product groups like “summer dresses” and “men’s shorts.” Don’t stop at product group inclusions. Create exclusions that help tighten  your product groupings and ensure the most suitable products show for a query.

Your bids are another place where you can make adjustments to improve your performance. Keep your bids low for searches that don’t have high buying intent. Raise your bids as they show more intent down the funnel with your highest bids placed on high buying intent keywords.

Don’t forget the only visible part of your campaigns when optimizing is your ads. In general, you should start with two to three ads. Test elements of your ads like descriptions and headlines one at a time. Since there are no calls to action in these ads, you’ll need to make sure the other elements speak for you.

The Benefits of Using Showcase Shopping Ads

As with anything in life, it’s hard to put effort into something that doesn’t give you much of a return. The benefits of implementing Showcase Ads exist on several levels. First, they serve as a branding mechanism on broader search terms. They also prequalify users at no cost to you (free first click) by allowing them to expand your ads and decide whether or not what you offer is right for them.

You gain the ability to appear for broad searches and get in front of more people. However, don’t let the term “broad” fool you. The real magic here is being able to tailor the product selection someone sees when they expand your ad. For example, you can create ads with the latest trends and seasonal favorites for a “men’s pants” search. An ordinary shopping ad doesn’t give you that kind of control. Lastly, engagement metrics help you get an accurate picture of how your products and ads are received. It’s probably as close to mind reading as you’ll ever get for the early stages of an eComm campaign, so it’s a fantastic way to start things out.

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Shire Lyon

Shire is a Paid Search strategist with expertise in Google and Bing Ads. She is a passionate marketer with a wide breadth of knowledge in the digital marketing space. She truly enjoys working with businesses to grow and succeed. Though she loves working with businesses of all sizes, she does have a special place in her heart for small businesses and entrepreneurs who truly understand what it takes to put their name on the map. When she's not working, she loves to travel, garden, and spend quality time exploring nature with her family.

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