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Showcase Shopping Ads: A Simple Marketer’s Guide

Let’s imagine you’re walking through SoHo after finally deciding to retire your worn out winter boots. Yeah – the boots not even Dr. Scholls can fix.

You approach a store championing a giant glass display, with spotlights shining on the 5 hottest pairs of RedWing boots the market has to offer.

Then out of the corner of your eye, you spot a store down the block with a sign that reads “FRESHEST KICKS IN NYC.”

Which store are you more likely to visit? Probably the first one for both the visual presentation and convenience sake. This is the difference between a traditional Search Ad and a Showcase Shopping Ad. Let me explain.

What are Showcase Shopping Ads?

Showcase Shopping Ads are photo collages that showcase a store’s name and three of its most relevant products on Google’s Search Network. These visual ads show up on broad and generic search queries, primarily highlighting the retailer and their unique product offerings rather than one specific keyword-targeted item. They look something like this:


When users click the ad, Google automatically generates relevant store information and includes the retailer’s shopping feed that users can scroll through. Advertisers using Premium Showcase Ads may hand-select photos, promotions, store information, and ad copy they want to show. As of now, the premium service is only open to a select few advertisers.


Branding Using Showcase Ads

With Traditional Search Ads, advertisers were forced to differentiate themselves by writing unique ad copy, but long gone are the days where search results are text-only. This challenge is paralleled with Traditional Product Shopping Ads, since there is little to no differentiation among products featured in adjacent ads from their competitors.

Today, we’re seeing Google implementing richer ads and Showcase Ads are just the tip of the iceberg. Showcase Ads provide flexibility on what images, ad copy, and promos you want your audience to see, ultimately opening up tons of opportunities for creative expression.

What Are the Requirements of a Showcase Ad?

  1. Use the New Google AdWords Experience
  2. Set up a Shopping Campaign
  3. Optional: Upload 1 by 1 logo on Merchant Center

How Does Bidding Work?

While Product Shopping ads have advertisers set bids on the product-group level, advertisers using Showcase Ads indicate the maximum amount they’re willing to pay for an engagement, or Max CPE for short.

An engagement is defined by a user who clicks the Showcase ad and spends either 10 seconds on the ad or clicks a link within the expanded ad.

How to Set Up a Shopping Campaign

  1. Open AdWords
  2. Set up your Shopping Campaign
  3. Select a Campaign
  4. Create a new Ad Group. Note: Only one ad per ad group can show at a time. Ad Rotation is also not an option.
  5. Click ‘Showcase Shopping’
  6. Enter name of your new Ad Group
  7. Enter your Maximum Cost-Per-Engagement (Max CPE) you’re willing to bid
  8. Select which products you want to appear in your Campaign ad by:
    Subdividing your product groups into smaller, more specific groups
    Excluding product groups that contain products you don’t want to show

Add Your Specs and Dimensions

Now, after you’ve selected your Product Groups, it’s time to build out your actual Showcase ad. Here’s what you’ll have to include.

Image: This is the largest image in the collage that will show on the ad. You can choose between a product image or a header image. The header image will be cropped out on the Search Results Page, but will expand when clicked. Use product images to show the exact product a user searches for and header images for more generic searches.

  • Make sure it’s 1080 x 566 pixels
  • Include an 82 px ‘safety zone’ on the top and on the bottom, so nothing important gets cut off on different screen sizes
  • Use a .jpg or .png file smaller than 10 MB
  • Do not use watermarks, overlay texts, collages, borders, or logos of competitors. Your ads will not show if you do so.

Headline (Optional but recommended): This is the main text that differentiates your ads from the others. You may use up to 24 characters.

Description (Optional but recommended): Use up to 120 characters to describe your store, your inventory, and promotions.

Final URL: The landing page URL you want to send users to.

Display URL: URL that will show under the header image. Up to 35 characters will show on desktop and the 25 on mobile.

Final steps

  1. Preview the ad and make sure it looks great.
  2. Click save and continue.
  3. Catch up on Game of Thrones while you wait for your ads to be approved. This may take up to 72 hours.

Congrats! You’re Now a Showcase Ad Guru

If you loved this post or if you have any questions, please let us know in the comments below. We’re always a tweet away. And like always, thanks for reading and sharing!

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About the Author

Journeyman of the wild wild west of Digital Advertising. Also doubling as an unofficial Taco Bell ambassador. Tweet at me @JonJmPark