- Google released a new search format that lets brands group together a selection of related products to boost discoverability among online shoppers, according to a blog post by the company. The Showcase Shopping ads in the new AdWords experience aims to help shoppers ahead of the holidays explore a variety of products from different brands when searching for broad terms like "women's athletic clothing" or "living room furniture."
- The format came from a 2015 Google study that found that while many shoppers search for something specific online, 40% of shopping-related searches use those broad terms.
- The tech giant began testing the format last year and found that users searched for a specific brand 2x as often after viewing a Showcase Shopping ad. E-commerce company Overstock.com saw a 3x boost in brand searches and 32% jump in conversions after implementing Showcase Shopping ads, per the blog post.
Showcase Shopping ads build on Google's success with Product Listing Ads and Shopping Campaigns by using a similar format — a series of images that can be swiped through horizontally — and optimizing the approach for broad search terms by letting curate a selection of lifestyle and product images. As such, it helps retailers reach consumers earlier in the path to purchase when they are looking to discover items and brands.
Google smartly rolled out its new ad format just ahead of the busy holiday spending season, as it aims to enhance users' online shopping experience and help them find what they're looking for by serving up relevant products in the research stage of the buyer journey. Consumers can also browse products from a number of brands, read reviews and view coordinated items without ever leaving the ad. This interactivity could bolster brand awareness and engagement, compared to traditional search ads that users often ignore.
"As we enter the busy holiday season, anything brands can do to simplify the shopping experience will help drive revenue. Furthermore, Showcase Shopping ads are a perfect complement to a full digital ad campaign," said Dave Seidler, Chief Revenue Officer at Strike Social, in a statement to Marketing Dive. "Smart advertisers know that you need to hit up customers across digital channels, and that means incorporating search, display and social."
Marketers can also use promoted "local experiences" on Showcase Shopping ads to bridge online and offline shopping experiences and drive foot traffic to stores, per the blog post. Google said it will soon roll out a new display ad format for marketers to highlight in-store promotions based on a user's location. A Google study from July found that similar local and omnichannel strategies drive an 80% jump in store visits.
Google is also rolling out a location- and voice-based feature for users to learn the inventory of desired products at a local store. Users can ask Google Assistant, "Ok Google, where can I buy ___ nearby?" and get results on what's available in stores nearby without typing in search terms or calling the store.