Google is giving retailers another way to drive sales via ads that appear in Google Images.
The search giant this week announced it is testing a new ad format called shoppable ads on Google Images that enables retailers to highlight multiple items available for sale within an ad that appears within Google Images results. The test involves a “small percentage of traffic with select retailers” for queries such as “home office ideas”, “shower tile designs” and “abstract art,” Google says.
Offering the ad format within Google Images enables Google to offer brands a Pinterest-like experience within an area that the search giant says is a growing part of consumers’ shopping experiences. Noting that 50% of online shoppers in a recent survey said images inspired them to purchase, Google says that those consumers are increasingly turning to Google Images.
For example, one use case for the ad format that Google outlined in a blog post announcing the new ad format is a consumer searching for home office ideas on her smartphone to tap to Google Images to explore ideas around how to organize her room. She can then scroll through the images, hover over any sponsored ad with the price tag, and see the items for sale in the image, along with prices and brand. She can then tap and make a purchase.
While the ad format is similar to Pinterest’s Shop the Look pins, Facebook’s Collection ads and Instagram’s Shopping Collection ads, it builds on a number of efforts to add shopping elements to Google’s various ad formats throughout the past few years. For instance, Google-owned YouTube introduced shoppable ads that enabled merchants to highlight multiple products in 2015 and last year it began testing Shoppable Ads for both third-party sites and Google search, including Google Images.
The ad format gives retailers another way to feature products on Google. The search giant is also bringing Showcase Shopping ads to Google Images. Showcase Shopping ads enable advertisers to combine lifestyle and product images in a single ad that Google displays in paid search results for specific keyword searches.
The Showcase Shopping ad format, which look similar to Product Listing Ads but take a consumer to a Google-hosted store page, are currently a small part of Google’s ad revenue; the ad format accounted for 5.7% of phone Shopping ad clicks during the fourth quarter, according to Merkle’s “Digital Marketing Report Q4 2018.” That was up 5.1% from the previous quarter and 1.6% during the same time a year earlier.
“Today’s consumers are interacting with us across a multitude of touch points, searching and asking for ideas,” Google writes in a blog post. “To help inspire them, we’re continually thinking of ways to create better shopping experiences.”