Text Ads vs Shopping: 3 ways to make them work together.

Google Shopping has grown immensely over the past few years and has reached a point where both traffic and ad spend have taken over non-brand text ads in some markets, especially on mobile. Since conversion rates are usually higher in Shopping, efficiency is higher too, so naturally budgets are shifted from non-brand text ads to Shopping. We decided to take a closer look at the interaction between Search and Shopping to determine how to get the most out of each channel.

Product ads convert but text assist:

Comparing the average position of Non-Brand (in this example meaning ads that don’t contain the retailer name for example Macy’s or Asos) text ads vs Shopping within the conversion funnel of several retailers, it becomes clear that touch points with Non-Brand text ads happen at an earlier stage of the conversion process than they do with Shopping




With an average length of 5.1 touch points to conversion, the average Shopping click happens towards the end of the funnel while Text ads are clicked on earlier in the process. This shows that Non-Brand text ads, other than Shopping, tend to act as an introducer rather than as a converter.

This theory gets reinforced by the next analysis which shows that Non-Brand text ads act as an introducer of 31% of all Shopping conversions while only 11% of Text Ad conversions are introduced by Shopping clicks.




Unfortunately this means that using a Last Click attribution model, which many companies still do, does not pick up on the importance of spending on Non-Brand text ads.

We compared the revenues assigned to Non-Brand text ads and Shopping when using different attribution models and while Shopping remains more profitable in all scenarios, it becomes clear that Non-Brand text ads actually do play a more significant role than it seems when just looking at Last Click performance.


What you should do:

  • Build a strategy using text ads to attract/assist early on in the customer journey, and shopping ads are there to convert.
  • Don’t rely on a last click attribution model, you could be discounting the original source of up ⅓ of your conversions.


Shopping users purchase quickly or not at all:

While 80% of all Shopping conversions happen within just 5 days after the last click, it takes almost two weeks for Non-Brand text ads to reach this number.

So while Shopping CR is generally higher, customers convert immediately or not at all.

Instead of navigating through the onsite search or category pages they tend to go back to google for navigation and if they don’t find something immediately they they’re more likely to buy on another website.




What you should do:

To convert even more users, retargeting should start immediately with strong branding image and specific product’s featured. Tests can be done to assess the optimum length of these campaigns.


Shopping users are not as loyal:

Looking at the conversion path within the two channels we noticed that almost half (46%) of all Shopping conversions have at least three clicks through shopping whereas for Non-Brand text ads this number is much lower (29%) which means that customers that convert through Shopping tend to click back and forth between Google and the website more often.

The difference is that clicks via text ads are rarely directed to one single product page but rather to a designer or category page with more products to choose from. Shopping users on the other hand have to actively click on those general pages if the one product they clicked on is not what they want to buy.


What you should do:

Maintain a strong brand image throughout the process. Surface recommendations of similar items within the product pages. Own the user relationship and build an ecosystem that makes you less dependent on driving users back to your site through paid search. Leading retail advertisers generate more than 50% of their revenues through their own brand mobile apps.


For more stats on Google Shopping user journeys, see our recent infographic and check out our new website

If you’d like to add to the discussion, please comment or tweet us @crealytics. Sign up for our newsletter to keep receiving thought pieces from industry experts right in your inbox.





Madeleine Bitsch

Madeleine Bitsch works as a Business Intelligence Manager for crealytics and has 3+ years experience in PPC and in managing our biggest customers in the area of fashion. She has a proven track record in client communication and strategic testing.

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