Google Shopping versus Google Search

– Which is Better?


With both products found on the Google advertising network, they are great tools for e-commerce, yet they can be extremely different when getting results for your eCommerce shop. Picking which one is better can sometimes be like opening up Pandora’s box, as many people have different views on how they are implemented. Before getting into detail on the benefits of both, if I had to jump off the fence and pick one that should give you the best results for E-commerce, it would have to be Google Shopping.

From my personal experience, Google Shopping ads have almost always outperformed Google search Ads and they’re also much more scalable than the latter. When it comes to setting it up and optimising, it also has its nose in front, making it a great advertising resource.

There are a number of videos and people that can help with setting up and running your Google Shopping campaigns and if I had to give you an area to spend your time on better understanding, it is ensuring that you have both conversions, and an optimised product feed in place. Having this will ensure that you have the core components in place for your optimisations, and ultimately, your campaigns will be dialed in for profitability. If you really know what you’re doing you can scale quickly and start seeing some great returns on your spending.

Now, back to comparing the two.

google shopping versus search

Google Search Ads

When running Google Search ads, there is little to concern yourself when it comes to images (except extensions), or the actual products themselves, so to speak. It’s all about using the power of search intent and understanding how your customer uses specific words or wording, to find a product such as yours. For example and keeping it relatively simple, if you selling a product as a mint-scented candle, having that phrase as a search term should show your ad.

Yes, there are many other factors that go into whether Google will show it or not but that’s for another article.

One of those factors is match type.

Now, as we write this article, an existing match type is being phased out and to keep it simple, you have 3 types to choose from:

Broad match (replaced by Phrase Match 2.0), Phrase match & Exact match.

I will go into these later, maybe in another article, as they do need some clarification on how they function and what the best use case is. One thing to take into consideration here is that finding your ad (product) in the search results are limited by the keywords you choose. It means you have a lot of control over when your ads are displayed and even with a tight budget, your Search campaigns can start generating a lot of traffic right from the get-go.

With Search campaigns, you don’t have to necessarily wait to “get things started” as you do for a Google Shopping campaign, which provides you with a great option while Google is getting to understand how to showcase your products from your Shopping campaigns. Once your Shopping campaign is running well, you should find it will deliver more volume and better results.

Generally speaking, Search campaigns are limited because you need to select the right keyword and you may find that it converts at lower rates. Cost Per Clicks (CPC) on search campaigns are generally higher, so keep that in mind, especially if you have a limited budget to spend.

Search campaigns can perform particularly well at the top of the funnel, where you are generating a good amount of traffic to your online store that you can retarget. This is where the two working in combination can be very profitable.

google shopping versus google search

Google Shopping Ads

OK, let’s talk about those shopping campaigns.

These are the image-based ads that show on search, often on the side or along the top, depending on the number of products available in that category. There is also a tab under the search window that people can click and see all the shopping products for that search query. To increase the success of your products, both the price and reviews are very important visually, as people will need to click through to your product to get to its description for more details.

With Google Shopping ads, your customer will be sent to the product page so there won’t be any confusion if they ended up on a blog page or even the home page. Now with the bidding side of things, if you export your whole product range, you will want to look at segmenting them into groups so that you can maintain profitability. Once you start seeing products that are outperforming others significantly or preventing some products from not accumulating any clicks, you can look to break them out onto their own.

To help with getting your products to perform, you need to include focusing on the following:

That last one, GTIN, can really help with the performance of a product. The GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) is a unique and internationally recognised identifier for a product. Technically, there is no difference between a GTIN and a UPC because a GTIN is a number encoded into either a UPC, EAN, or ISBN barcode of a product.

So why is the GTIN so important?

If you are selling a product that is sold by others (like drop-shipping), having the GTIN allows Google to use historical data from other stores to help identify audiences more likely to purchase (or not). It’s not an exact science but will go along way to helping you fine-tune your target market.

As much as we all like to have control of our Google campaigns, letting Google use its algorithms to optimise your campaign is the better option because they really know what converts well. At the end of the day, all we care about is the profitability of our products and by giving Google the information it needs, you can send it off into the wild to do its job.

google shopping versus search

So Which is Better – Google Shopping or Search?

After all this, it sounds like Google Shopping is the best thing going around but it does have one stumbling point for some – it can be very hard to set up. Setting it up can be an incredibly painful and tedious task, and Google is very strict when it comes to reviewing your overall strategy to showcasing your products on their advertising network.

For some, it can be extremely hard to get things approved, especially if it’s your first time. You will hear many stories about accounts being suspended, with some eventually walking away and giving up and saying “they don’t work”. What some don’t realise is it isn’t always just one area of your online store that may flag Google. Not many know this but it can be related to your actual website, but that’s another article.

This can lead people to head over to Facebook and applying their craft there, which is great and does work, however, it also leaves all this traffic in Google that other people aren’t even thinking about (except your competitors). Imagine the value of advertising your products on both?

There’s still a lot of stuff here to learn like bid management, optimising data feeds, product landing page optimisation and much, much more, which I’ll address in upcoming articles.

If you have any questions about Google Shopping or Google Search advertising, feel free to organise a free strategy plan to go through your options.

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