Google Ads and Google Shopping are two advertising products on Google’s vast platform that enable people to connect their products and services with people who are searching for it. Google Ads, formerly known as Google AdWords, has been and is the premier advertising platform on which Google has made its fortunes and which all types of organizations use for marketing.
Google shopping or Google Product Search, also formerly known as Froogle, long long ago, allows people to search for products from various online stores across the internet. Both of these, Google Ads and Google Shopping, have made it easier to engage an audience who wants to buy products or services, and have positioned Google itself as an indispensable advertising and marketing tool. With the possibility of using both tools for our advertising goals, the similarities and differences of both requires better clarification.
Google shopping consists of two products combined. The first part is the Merchant Center which is where we develop our store feed and the other part is Google ads (Google Adwords), which is where we develop the marketing campaigns. The two combined and working together equals Google Shopping. Let’s delve further.
Google Ads Explained
Google Ads which formerly was known as Google Adwords, comes in two forms: text and display. Text ads are the most common. They are placed on Google’s search results page and are based on the searches of users. So if you search for “best website development company‘, then you see ads related to website development services. Display ads are also popular. They are placed on web platforms such as blogs and websites. They come in many formats, including images, GIFs, animated banners, and videos.
Display ads are also popular. They are placed on blogs and websites all across the web and will specifically display your ad if the topic/content of the website is related to the ad. For instance, if you’re promoting vacuums, your ad will only show within websites related to content as wide as cleaning or as specific as vacuums. You can decide how and where your ad will show via the settings parameters within the platform. They come in many formats, including as images, GIFs, animated banners, and videos. and the benefit of display ads is that with images you can communicate in a more creative manner utilizing colors and imagery.
Here is a closer look at both forms of Google Ads.
Text ads show up as lines of text on Google’s search engine results page. The ad’s standard format includes three parts: a title, URL, and description and these ads are targeted based on users’ search queries. Advertisers bid for the most relevant and promising keywords when developing these ads and the ads are then displayed when users type in queries that are closely similar or relevant to the chosen keywords.
Google Text Ads example
Display ads, offering a bit more in terms of creativity are placed on blogs, websites, and other platforms across the internet, but not on Google’s search engine results page. Unlike text ads, display ads are primarily visual in format. The precise websites and other platforms where these ads are placed depend on the advertiser’s chosen parameters, which cover aspects such as demographics and the platform’s users’ interests among other settings.
Google Display Ads example
The variability possible with the Google display ads allows communication not only with words but also pictures and video; which helps to clearly define your brand, services and products for your customers.
Google Shopping Explained
Google Shopping ads allows an ad that includes the image, title, price, and a store or business name inside the ad, without needing to create unique ads for each product being sold. Understandably this is perfect for e-commerce where there may be numerous items that are being sold.
By deriving the data for an ad straight from the store inventory, this allows for more dynamic advertising. Products are placed on search engine results page across Google’s entire surface from image results to the actual ‘Google Shopping’ tab. They feature both display and text, but they are distinctly different from Google Ads display ads. Understandably, this may start to seem a bit confusing, given that the names are so similar. The ads feature individual products, and bidding is based on parameters that include the product’s category or on the exact product itself.
Ecommerce and Google shopping
With an e-commerce website where we are dealing with a large number of inventory, imagine an e-commerce site selling 100 items, if we were using Google ads, then we would have to create ads for each hundred items individually. Understandably this can be very time-consuming. However with Google shopping, we can create a feed, which is simply a data sheet that takes all of our inventory, i.e. the pricing, the name and feeds it directly into the Google shopping platform, and then based on the characteristics of our products Google will display it according to the query, and behavior of users on its vast search platform.
People are searching for products all the time and e-commerce is growing as people shift from physically visiting stores to transacting online. What Google shopping offers is discovery, helping consumers easily discover whatever it is that they are looking for online. Consequently, taking the steps to connect a stores’ inventory with the Google shopping platform is imperative in order to reach people today.
Similarities between Google Ads and Google Shopping
Google Shopping ads and Google Ads share certain similarities, notably with their formatting and ad placement. From the images above you can see formatting, fonts, and image formats that are consistent with both platforms. Seeing one, you immediately know that it was a Google product
For starters, Google Shopping ads and Google ads show on top of search results, so they are the first things you’ll see when searching for products and or services. Across Google’s surface (YouTube, and their other properties), wherever they place ads, both the Google shopping ads and the Google ads may show within those spaces.
Additionally, both products incorporate both visual and text. The formatting specifically as it relates to the look and presentation are generally consistent across all display points (View the images above).
The management interface used for administering shopping ads and Google Ads have a similar intuitive workflow. So if you are familiar with the Google ads interface, then it will be relatively easy to maneuver around in the Google shopping interface.
Differences between Google Ads and Google Shopping
In the background, Google Shopping is very different from Google Ads, and both advertising campaigns have different strengths and weaknesses.
Real World Application
Google Shopping is primarily designed for ecommerce and online retailers. More precisely, it is recommended for actual products that can be pictured in images – to this end, Google Shopping does not work for most service providers, such as those who are not engaging in online retail or ecommerce.
On the other hand, Google Ads is not limited to any particular group and can be used by virtually everyone with something to advertise on the internet.
Formatting and Customization
Google Ads give users greater control over the formatting of their ads compared to Google Shopping. On the other hand, Google Shopping ads are generated automatically by Google’s algorithms. Shopping ads contain an image of the advertised product and the product’s title and description as featured on the landing page. Additionally because this is a generally used for e-commerce advertising, the extra added formatting is the ad showing the availability of the item with the word “In stock” and the price derived from the website.
Google Ads ads are highly customizable. In the case of display ads, the user determines the ad format to use, as well as other aspects such as the ad’s size and placement. Google has very little say over the nature of the creative in your ad.
Text ads are much more customizable. The user gets to determine many aspects, including writing a custom title and description of the product or service under advertisement. The user also gets to pick the ad’s landing page, which doesn’t have to necessarily be limited to the product’s or service’s page as is the case with Google Shopping. Text ads also allow for extensions such as phone numbers, addresses, and additional URL links.
The success rate of your online advertising campaign doesn’t depend on whether you are operating on Google Ads or Google Shopping. Nevertheless, there are reports that suggest that Google Shopping ads generate better ROI and conversion rates when it comes to ecommerce. This is primarily because the ads are direct and lead directly to the merchant’s product landing page where buyers can complete the purchase without having to navigate to other pages.
At the same time, Google Shopping ads register a higher bounce rate compared to Google Ads. This is because users automatically exit the ads’ landing pages when they decide that the advertised products are not what they are looking for.
How Google Ads and Google Shopping Can Work Together
Google Shopping and Google Ads are not exclusive of each other, as both work together in order to run a campaign. Google shows an average of 7 text ads on desktop and mobile, placed both above and below the platform’s organic search results. It also shows up to 30 Google Shopping ads on desktop, and an average of 15 on mobile.
When running a campaign with Google shopping, the process involves developing the product feed using an interface called the merchant account within the Google shopping platform, which is fed into Google Adwords in order to display and promote items. Furthermore the process involves linking the Google Shopping merchant account with a Google ads account and it is from the Google ads account that full administration is possible. So the the ability to decide placement, display network, and several other parameters is through the Google ads interface.
Its necessary to have an understanding of Google Adwords before implementing Google Shopping Ads. Since one interface links to the other in order to have a functioning campaign, their similarity is intentional.