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What is the difference between Google search ads and Google shopping ads?

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

Google Search Ads and Google Shopping Ads are two different types of advertising formats offered by Google within their search engine results. They serve different purposes and have some key differences:

Google Search Ads:

  • Text-based

Google Search Ads are typically text-based ads. They appear on the search engine results page (SERP) above or below the organic search results when a user searches for a specific keyword.

  • Keywords Trigger Ads

These ads are served based on the keywords that advertisers bid on. When a user's search query matches the advertiser's keyword, the ad is eligible to be displayed.

  • Ad Components

A Search ad includes a headline, display URL, and description text. Extensions can also be added to provide additional information or call-to-actions, like a phone number or site links.

  • Cost Model

The cost model for Google Search Ads is normally Pay-Per-Click (PPC), meaning that advertisers pay each time a user clicks on their ad. A click budget is usually allocated on a daily basis.

Google Shopping Ads:

  • Image-based

Google Shopping Ads are primarily image-based. They include an image of the product, along with some text such as the product's name, price, and the name of the store. They normally appear at the very top of the search results outranking both organic listings and search ad placements.

  • Product Information Trigger Ads

These ads are triggered based on the product information that advertisers provide in the Google Merchant Center which operates like a conduit between the website and the advertising platform.Unlike Search Ads, they don't require keyword bidding but negative keywords are often used to help refine targeting.

  • Ad Components

A Shopping ad includes a product image, title, price, store name, and more. They provide a direct link to the product's page on the advertiser's website.

  • Cost Model

    Similar to Google Search Ads, the Google Shopping Ads also operate on a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) model.

    Which is better?

    The key difference between the two lies in their use-cases, Google Search Ads are more versatile and can be used for a variety of advertising purposes (services, lead generation, products, etc), while Google Shopping Ads are specifically designed to advertise physical products and directly facilitate e-commerce transactions for online stores. The choice between the two often depends on the nature of the business, its website, the goals of the advertising campaign, and the target audience.

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