Shopping ads dominate Google search results in 2019.
Across brands tracked in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail, the share of Shopping ads on branded terms has increased from 18% to 45%. Even when potential consumers already express brand intent in their search behavior, specialty retailers must prioritize appearing in this visual ad format. In addition to driving traffic directly to a specific product page, Shopping ads give brands the opportunity to integrate product reviews, put on-model imagery front and center and implement geolocal targeting into paid search results. Though branded search behavior continues declining, paid search investments on master brand and product line terms are a necessary defense against aggressive disruptors. Shopping ads are even more critical on nonbranded terms. Across apparel, beauty, home and watches and jewelry categories, the share of Shopping ad results on nonbranded terms has increased 11% since last year—now accounting for 58% of all overall search results. The implications of this are more stark on mobile.
Broad,nonbranded Google searches like “women’s jeans” or “leather backpack” increasingly result in Showcase ads, which allow brands to group related products and present them together. Optimized for mobile, Showcase ads appear above text ads and alongside Shopping ads, and clicking on a Showcase ad expands the ad to show off a catalog of relevant products. Between 2018 and 2019, instances of mobile Showcase ads on nonbranded terms related to tracked brands more than tripled, driving increased shares of traffic directly to category and product pages. As more consumers arrive to brand sites on category and product pages, specialty retail brands must invest in optimizing these pages accordingly to drive conversion. Furthermore, Google has hinted at more widely including Showcase ads on branded or more specific terms in the future.