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Google Shopping vs. Search Ads: What is Better for eCommerce?

Google Shopping vs. Search Ads: What is Better for eCommerce?

Both Google Shopping and Google text ads are effective platforms for selling eCommerce products, but have you considered which is better for your business? Here’s what you should know about Shopping ads versus Search ads.

What is Google Shopping?

google shopping

Google shopping is the company’s native shopping engine, that allows retailers and customers to find and compare different products in an easy and intuitive way. There is a lot of competition because Google shows not only yours but other people’s ads too and it is important to make sure that it is your ad people click on.

For instance, if you were looking for white shorts, this is how the page would look on Google.


google shopping ads

As an owner of an eCommerce business to start your own shopping campaigns and sell products on Google Shopping you need to use two different platforms: Google Merchant Center and Google AdWords.

What is Google Merchant Center?

Google merchant center is a platform where you as a retailer can keep your product feed updated with new prices, colors, and products themselves. If you want your eCommerce products to be shown on Google you need to set up a product center account and provide all the relevant information in line with Google’s requirements.

What is Google AdWords?

Google AdWords is a platform where you as a retailer can run an advertisement campaign for your eCommerce business. The main benefit of this platform is that ads, that you put through Ad Words show up on Google search pages. They are listed as “Ads” and appear above the search results on the page. AdWords is a comprehensive tool that allows you to advertise your goods to arguably the largest audience in the world.

Today we would like to focus on Google Ads and what is the better approach to promoting your eCommerce store online: search ads or shopping ads.

What Are Search Ads?

Search ads for eCommerce allow you to advertise both products and services like search results. This type of ad doesn’t feature images but instead offers ad extensions that invite the searcher to see additional content.

Local extensions in Search ads help provide searchers with information that can’t be found in Google Shopping ads such as your store’s physical location or hours.

Vendors can choose when listings show by bidding on keywords to secure their ranking. This allows for a high level of customization to target shoppers when they are close to making a purchasing decision.

shopify ecommerce search result with ad extension

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    How do Google Shopping Ads work?

    Products on Google Shopping for eCommerce appear with an image and typically appear at the top of Google’s search engines results page (SERP) in addition to having a separate, dedicated web tab.

    While you can’t bid on specific keywords when using Google Shopping, you can optimize your feed and provide detailed, accurate descriptions to guide your customers to your products. You can also implement a negative keyword list to impact who is finding your ads.

    On a desktop computer, Google shows a maximum of 30 Shopping ads and 15 shopping ads on mobile devices. You can expect your products to appear more than once, however, it only allows for one search ad per advertiser. Your products may show up multiple times for one search.

    party tent google shopping ads

    Search Ads vs Shopping Ads: What to Choose?

    According to a study that Merkle conducted in 2018, Shopping ads amounted to 60 percent of all clicks across Google’s paid advertising platform. Their most recent study found similar results.

    In another study, Clutch found that nearly half (49 percent) of people surveyed were more likely to click on Search ads while 31 percent would click on a Shopping ad. So, what gives?

    Can Both Be Used Together?

    Yes! Using both Google Shopping and Search ads for eCommerce can maximize your product visibility. Text ads even show up alongside Shopping ads which helps draw more attention to your brand. It would be a good PPC strategy for your eCommerce.

    Google even ran a study that showed both types of ads to shoppers made them 90 percent more likely to go to the retailer’s website. This is a testament to the fact that some shoppers use their eyes to make purchasing decisions while some focus more on product specifications.

    So, the main advantages of using shopping and text ads together are:

    • gives exposure and allows to reach wider audiences
    • allows for a higher conversion rate
    • better optimization of ad campaigns
    • improves brand awareness and solidifies your image online


    Both Google Shopping and Search Ads have their advantages and use cases. The ideal approach is using both to drive your conversion rate and sell more units.

    If you need help making decisions about your digital marketing efforts, our team at Catapult is happy to work with you to provide actionable ideas to grow your business. We’re happy to get started with a free consultation.

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