About Shopping ads

If you're a retailer, you can use Performance Max campaigns with a Google Merchant Center feed or Standard Shopping campaigns to promote your online and local inventory, boost traffic to your website or local shop, and find better qualified leads. To get started, you'll send us your product data with Merchant Center and create a campaign in Google Ads. Then, we'll use your campaign and product data to create ads on Google and in other placements around the web, depending on the campaign type. Shopping ads are one type of ad that can be created from your product data. In contrast to a text ad, which displays text only, Shopping ads show users a photo of your product, plus a title, price, shop name and more. These ads give users a strong sense of the product that you're selling before they click the ad, which gives you more qualified leads.

Note: In Comparison Shopping Service (CSS) program countries, you participate in Shopping ads through one or several CSSs of your choice. Some CSSs manage your product data and your campaigns on your behalf, while others provide tools allowing you to manage your setup yourself. Learn more About advertising with Comparison Shopping Services.

How Shopping ads work

Shopping ads use your existing Merchant Center product data – not keywords – to decide how and where to show your ads. The product data that you submit through Merchant Center contain details about the products that you sell. We'll use these details when we match a user's search to your ads, making sure that you show the most relevant products.

You manage your Shopping ads in Google Ads using Shopping or Performance Max campaigns, a simple and flexible way to organise and promote your Merchant Center product inventory within Google Ads. Learn more About what makes up a Shopping Ad.

Performance Max is a goal-based campaign type that helps you find more customers and meet your goals. To do this, Performance Max looks at campaign inputs, such as your budget and your product feed and then optimises performance based on those inputs.

To enhance your Shopping Ads with local inventory, you can set up Local Inventory Ads.


Benefits over other ad formats

  • Better qualified leads: As a merchant, you can increase the quality of your leads by featuring product information directly in your ads to help users make informed purchase decisions. This makes users more likely to complete a purchase on your site. For example, when Sally does a Google search for 'fish bowl', she might see Shopping ads from merchants selling fish bowls. She can tell which fish bowl fits her taste just by looking at the picture. She can also quickly see whether the fish bowl fits her budget by looking at the price. This means that by the time Sally clicks the ad, she has a good sense of the product and its cost, which puts her further down the purchasing funnel compared to the average web user.
  • Easy retail-centric campaign management: Instead of keywords, Shopping ads use the product attributes you defined in your Merchant Center data feed to show your ads in relevant searches. Browse your product inventory directly in Google Ads and create product groups for the items that you want to bid on.
  • Broader presence: More than one of your Shopping ads can appear for a given user search and, if relevant, a Shopping ad and a text ad can also appear at the same time. This means that your reach with users for a single search could double.
  • Powerful reporting and competitive data: See how your products are performing at any level of detail you want. For example, you can see how many clicks a particular brand of high-heeled shoes got just by filtering your products view – no new product groups needed. Use benchmarking data to get insights into your competitive landscape. Identify growth opportunities with impression share data and the Bid Simulator tool.
    • Access to new inventory: In addition to all of the benefits above, with Performance Max, you’ll also gain access to new inventory and AI-driven insights. Performance Max ads are eligible to serve on YouTube, Display, Search, Demand Gen, Gmail and Maps. Overall, Performance Max helps to unlock new audiences across all Google channels and networks.

How Performance Max campaigns differ from Standard Shopping campaigns

  Performance Max campaigns Standard Shopping campaigns
Where your ads appear

Access most Google Ads channels, including:

  • The Shopping tab
  • Google Search, next to search results (separate from text ads)
  • Google Search text ads
  • Google Images
  • Google display network
  • YouTube
  • Gmail
  • Demand Gen
  • Maps (via Local Inventory Ads)

Automatically access new inventory and formats as they become available without having to set up any new campaigns.

Access selected Google Ads channels:

  • The Shopping tab
  • Google Search, next to search results (separate from text ads)
  • Google Images
  • Google Search Partner websites (if your campaign is set to include search partners)
  • Maps (via Local Inventory Ads)

Ad format

Wide range of Google Ads formats, including:

Selected Google Ads formats:

Billing You'll only pay for the performance of your campaigns (for example, clicks or CPM). You're charged using cost-per-click (CPC). You’re charged only when someone clicks an ad that leads to the landing page on your website or to the Google-hosted landing page for your local inventory.
Bidding

Automated strategies:

Automated strategies:

Manual strategies:

Ad creatives Ads are auto-generated based on assets provided by the advertiser in asset groups (for example, text, image, video) and in the Merchant Center feed. Ads are created based on assets provided in the Merchant Center feed. Additional creative assets (for example, text, image, video) are not available.
Local Inventory Ads Opted in automatically when a local products inventory feed is attached to the campaign By default, Shopping campaigns only show ads for products sold from your online website. Tick the box 'Enable ads for products sold in local shops' in the campaign settings to enable local inventory ads
Vehicle ads If your Merchant Center account is opted in
for the vehicle ads program and one of the supported objectives (leads, sales) have been selected, you will be automatically opted in.
 
Other features

Additional AI features, including:

Additional customisation features, including:

Campaign

priority

For the same product in the same account, Performance Max campaigns take priority over Standard Shopping and display remarketing campaigns. We recommend that you set a budget equal to the sum of those other campaigns to retain your overall spend.
All existing vehicle ads Smart Shopping campaigns have been upgraded to Performance Max in September 2023, bringing you additional inventory and formats to reach new customers. Accounts in which all campaigns have been upgraded are no longer able to create new Smart Shopping campaigns.Learn how to create a Performance Max campaign.

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