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Since Google Marketing Live 2019, we have seen Google continue to invest in Google Shopping. This year, we’ve seen visual ad formats such as Discovery Ads, Showcase Shopping Ads, Gallery Ads, and the Shopping Experience on Google.com continue to expand. Google want to ‘own’ the whole conversion funnel, and they want advertisers to be a part of this. As we go further into 2020, this looks set to continue. Google have now announced that Product Shopping and Showcase Shopping Ads will expand across the Google network into Gmail, as well as YouTube and the Discover Feed. 


What’s updated?

As we know, in 2019 advertisers received notifications that Google would be expanding Product Shopping and Showcase Shopping Ads to additional platforms (namely YouTube and Discover feeds). Now, Google have announced that they are expanding this further into Gmail from 4th March 2020 onwards.

To enable this in your campaigns, you can simply go to your campaign settings and tick ‘Include YouTube, Gmail and Discover’.

Shopping Ads - Gmail, YouTube, Discover

Credit: Search Engine Land, 2020

By only opting into Search Partners, your campaigns will be eligible to appear on Google’s selected partners and Image Search.


What does this mean for you?

You can target potential customers earlier in the consumer journey

Google have seen that there is clearly opportunity to capture traffic from users who are searching for products across their properties. Discover, YouTube and Gmail are most likely used at some point in the consumer journey to purchase. Google wants to make sure that advertisers are able to capitalise on this interest earlier in the journey than just at the end of the journey on Search or in the Shopping Experience.

 

Expansion of ad formats continues but reporting continues to be consolidated 

Google have been expanding the reach of it’s ad formats for a while, but what we are seeing is a continued trend where Google consolidates the reporting of the networks. It means that you’ll only be able to report on Gmail, YouTube and Discover together under ‘Display Network’ which is quite annoying. It means that you wont be able to segment your reporting by property.

You’ll probably see CTR & Conversion Rate decrease as Impressions increase

Think about it, you are now capturing a larger spectrum of users. As Google continues to play around with the placement of these ad formats on properties that aren’t traditionally used to purchase, you’ll probably see that there may be little interest to click through to site to convert on a last click. Search is a ‘pull’ channel, meaning that if a user searches for your keywords and your ads are relevant a user is likely to click through to your site. The expansion of these ad formats takes Shopping Ads to be used also as a format to ‘push’ your products to potential customers across properties beyond just Search. Their intent is different. It means that you are likely to see lots of impressions as your ads are now displayed to more people who are not potentially ready to purchase or click through to site.


What do you need to do?

  1. Check your Campaign Settings from 4th March 2020. Choose whether to opt-in or out.
  2. Test, Test, Test. Define a framework for you to test and see if it works for your objectives.
  3. Monitor your performance by segmenting your reports by Network so that you can at least compare versus Search and Search Partners.

Ultimately, many probably won’t utilise this update as they feel as though their ‘performance’ driven campaigns will be hindered by the expansion of their ads to other properties.

Perhaps you fall into the ‘bitter’ camp where you see this as another change that Google is making to pull control away from advertisers and into it’s own hands. I feel your pain.

For me, it’s all about testing. You could argue that early adopters might see strong performance. You won’t know until you lay out a test to define success.


Google Shopping Ads FAQ

Where can Google Shopping ads appear?

As of March 2020, Google Shopping Ads (Product Shopping and Showcase Shopping Ads) are now eligible to appear across Google Search, Search Partners (such as Google Images & More), YouTube, Gmail and Discovery Feeds. However you have to opt-in to ‘Search Partners’ and ‘YouTube, Gmail and Discover’ through your campaign settings.

Dan Roberts
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