How to Use Google Showcase Shopping Ad Campaigns (and why they matter)

“40 percent of shopping searches are on broad terms…so they turn to search to discover and explore…”

– Google study (2015)

If you sell things online, the chances are you’ve heard of Google’s product ads. You’re probably familiar with their display ads too. But what about Showcase Shopping Ads? Since rolling out in July 2016, this format acts as an intermediate between its two older cousins.

Unlike product ads (relevant for shoppers targeting specific items) or display ads (which complement a shopper’s email or video experience), Showcase Ads allow you to show a variety of products at once.

According to Google’s own research, 40 percent of shoppers don’t know exactly what they’re looking for. As a result, you can use this format to entice inquisitive shoppers earlier in the buying process.


Upper Funnel (i.e. Showcase Ads): More general queries; User isn’t searching for specific products; Branding is more important; Expected clickthrough rate is lower

Lower Funnel (i.e. Product Ads): More specific queries; User is searching for a particular product; Branding is less important; Expected clickthrough rate is higher


The search giant pitches Showcase Ads as a “broad match type” for Shopping: they appear when a user searches for generic terms (“winter coats”, for example). Searches elicit relevant products, along with appropriate images that you’ve selected for each ad.

















How much do Showcase Shopping Ads cost?

The ads use a maximum CPE (cost-per-engagement) model. This means that you’ll get charged when:

  • Someone expands the ad and spends 10 seconds exploring it.
  • Someone clicks on the product or link in the expanded ad within a 10-second timeframe.

Creating Showcase Shopping Ads

Be warned – Showcase Shopping Ads are only available in the new AdWords AI (and only in markets that offer Google Shopping). To create a successful campaign, you’ll need to switch to this format if you haven’t already. While you create the ads in Shopping, they can appear in both Search and Search Partner websites.

1. Using standard settings, create a new shopping campaign for your Showcase Ads:

2. Create a new ad group

Select “Showcase Shopping” as the Ad Type (instead of Product Ads). Then enter an ad group name, adjusting your ad group level CPE.

3. Targeting your products

Here’s where it gets interesting. You can choose to target all products from your campaign (a selection of jumpers, for instance) – or a selection of different product types. We recommend opting for the latter. Create product partitions based on:

  • Google Product Category
  • Product Type
  • Item IDs
  • Brands
  • Labels


4. Adding images

Next, you’ll need to adjust the images. Header images (JPEG/PNG) have specific requirements:

  • Dimensions: 1080 x 566 px
  • Space the important aspects 82 px from the top and bottom edge
  • Max file size: 10MB
  • Use a high quality, professional image with at least one product

For the collapsed ad either use a cropped version of the header, or a product image (which will be taken from your feed).

5. Adding copy

Finally, add the text you need (as indicated below). Both headline and description text are optional – but it’s worth being specific.

  • Headline: 24 characters
  • Description: 70 – 120 characters
  • Final URL: Needs to be relevant to the products shown
  • Display URL: 25 characters


Et voilà! Your ad is complete!

Early research suggests that Showcase Ads receive more impressions on tablets and mobile devices. However, it’s more than likely they’ll lead to increased brand awareness. To learn more about these and other PPC tips, follow our blog or contact us at




Luke is a Content Marketer at Crealytics

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