What Is the Difference between Google Search Ads and Google Shopping?

If you’ve been online looking for specific products, you may have noticed Google Shopping directly displaying product photos and information in your search results. Are you unsure of what the difference between Google Shopping Ads and Google Search Ads is?…

If you’ve been online looking for specific products, you may have noticed Google Shopping directly displaying product photos and information in your search results. Are you unsure of what the difference between Google Shopping Ads and Google Search Ads is? Read on.

What Is Google Shopping?

Google Shopping has been around since 2002 in some form. Formerly known as Froogle, Google Product Search, and Google Product Listing Ads (PLA), Google Shopping Ads features product pictures, pricing and additional information that allows users to search for specific items online and compare prices between different vendors.

Website owners use Google Shopping to display their products in search results. Shopping ads have the benefit of showing up at the top of the page as well as the Shopping search tab. Google allows them to set their desired cost per click in order to display their product ads at the top of search results. This moderates the bids for specific products, groups of products, categories of products, and the account’s daily budget.

Google Shopping is ideal for companies with ecommerce websites. Both websites with large and small inventories can benefit running shopping ads but larger inventories tend to see better performance..

What Are Google Search Ads?

Google Ads, previously known as AdWords, allows website owners to bid on keywords with the intention of getting their ads to display at the top of Google’s search results. Google Ads are useful for both brick and mortar businesses and ecommerce sites. As a digital ad service, it’s not as useful if the website has a large number of specific products. Google Ads is the more appropriate type of digital advertising for branding or general business promotion. It allows more control over specific messaging than Google Shopping does.

Which One Is Best?

There is no “best” choice. Both Google Shopping and Google Ads can and should be used if they apply to your business. The choice will depend on what your company’s specific needs are. If you have hundreds or thousands of products for sale and want customers to have awareness of all of them, the best strategy would be to create a landing page for each product and then an ad that links to that page. Google Shopping is much better suited for this than Google Ads. The benefit would be that Google Shopping tends to generate much higher click-through rates and individual products get notice. Google Shopping ads are typically less expensive than Google Ads, but more clicks will result in more money spent, so a larger budget must be set aside for this sort of ad campaign.

If the goal of the ad campaign is to raise awareness of your company and its products or services in general, to solidify your branding, or to announce a sale, Google Ads is a far better choice.

If you intend to launch a Google Shopping campaign, you should make sure that you maintain feeds and product data quality and optimize for unique product categories on your website. Make sure all of the information is correct for any product you intend to advertise before you launch your campaign because the devil is in the details. If your Google shopping data feed doesn’t match the information on your website, Google will not display the product ads.

If you would like help with creating either Google Ads or Google Shopping, please let us know. We would be happy to set up the best digital ad campaign for your needs.

Joey Voges

As the SEM Manager Joey Voges has been managing PPC campaigns and optimizing websites for SEO since 2012. He appreciates the ever-changing nature of the industry which provides ample opportunities to learn something new. During his time off Joey likes to play board games, practice piano and paddle down rivers on his kayak.