Shoppable Image Ads on Google. What about Instagram & Pinterest?


What Instagram and Pinterest were initially smiled at and dismissed as an unpromising feature has now arrived in the middle of our mobile lives: Shopping through Image Ads.

In Instagram, for example, small white bubbles indicate elements in the image that can be bought. When touched, essential data is also displayed directly. The user then has the option of buying the products he or she liked in the pictures directly online.

Google has announced that it is now also possible to display sponsored search results in the Google image search, which are directly linked to the price and page of the online shop. Currently the Shoppable Ads are still running as a test, but will be rolled out in the course of the year.

According to Google, 50% of all shoppers are inspired in buying decisions by pictures. Many use the Google image search for this purpose. Google therefore extends the already existing Google Showcase Shopping Ads, which are displayed in the Shopping area on the search results page. The new Shoppable Ads on Google Images are based on a similar approach. With general search terms such as "shoes" or "men's jacket", the customer has not yet decided on a specific product. The advertisements therefore attract potential customers at exactly the right moment and draw attention to their products.

However, the new advertising format of Shoppable Ads is not limited to suggesting individual suitable products to potential customers. Above all, an appealing composition of suitable products should be offered. If, for example, a search query for current jewelry trends is started in the Google image search, it is possible for retailers to select their products in an appealing picture and thus to forward the customers directly to their online shop. The images for the Shoppable Ads are pulled from the advertisers website when registered for the ad format.

The Shoppable Image Ads are larger than other Google Images search results and feature a sponsored badge and a small price tag icon. If the user likes the product, he can move the mouse over the individual elements and get an overview of price and product details. One click takes the customer directly to the advertiser's page.

Our conclusion: Since many users already understand the feel of an Image Shopping Ad through Instagram and Pinterest, and since this type of online shopping is already part of everyday online life for many, the format on Google will probably be accepted in a similar way. We don't see any direct competition to Instagram and Pinterest in the new image ads. Primarily, because the complete "social" component is missing in Google Images. On Instagram and Pinterest, purchasing decisions are often decisively influenced by the person posting the content. This approach is eliminated as a whole on the impersonal image wall on Google Images.

In addition, we consider the shopping ads on Google Images to be "much deeper" in the conversion funnel, while the shopping ads on Instagram and Pinterest are intended to help with inspiration, especially in the upper funnel, and often to awaken the desire for the product in the first place.

It remains exciting to see how the shoppable ads on Google Images are accepted and used.