Shopping Ads Make Great First Impressions

Raphael Sebbag

We all know that when it comes to our personal lives first impressions count whether we like it or not and often we don’t get second chance to make a good first impression. But when it comes to Google Ads or other PPC advertising, does the same theory apply?

During a recent Google Ads accounts audit, the question came up, do the images seen in Google Shopping ads, assist in making sales later down the track even if the searcher does even click on the ad. In more technical terms do impressions of one’s Shopping ads assist conversion results in Google Ads to a greater degree than a text ad which does not show the product image?

Before we get into the data of our analyses, let’s go into the basic philosophy or the assumption behind the question. If someone sees the product they are thinking about buying in an ad, even if they don’t immediately click on it, then the likelihood of them buying that product from that company is higher than if they wouldn’t have seen the image, which would be the case in a text ad. Based on the working assumption, seeing the product image in an ad vs seeing only a text ad already helps them come closer to making a purchase decision.

Well turns out based on the data from the account we were auditing (see screen grab below), the theory proved very much correct.

  • Data was taken from last 12 months
  • Campaigns included both search and shopping with 0 conversion campaigns filtered out
  • Shopping campaign impression assisted conversion value increased 273% on average, with mothers day more than 330%
  • The next closest campaign in search that spent similar amounts was -16% & -27% respectively and the trend continued as you go down the list of search campaigns. 

Google shopping ads results spreadsheet

Based on theses figures for this client’s shopping ads, first impressions DO count and bring in much more long term value than text ads.

From a strategic perspective, the practical outcome was that one of our goals is to revamp the shopping campaign tactics and structure so we get the maximum amount of impressions our budget allows because we know there is a strong correlation between impressions and purchases later down the track.

But we didn’t stop there. We decided to test this theory with another shopping campaign in a different industry, one where the average transaction value is nearly 600% higher. What we found was that although there was a 50% increase in impression-assisted conversions, it was nowhere near as compelling, possibly due to the much higher average transaction value skewing the figures, whereas the initial case was dealing with a much lower price product which would have a lot of impulse buyers.

The implication of all this for any Google (or Bing) Shopping advertisers out there, is that you should not underestimate the value of first impressions in Google Shopping ads.

Depending on your industry or product, there could be a hidden treasure trove of value being generated just from the first impressions your shopping ads make on the potential customer. 

Have you discovered similar hidden value from Shopping or other similar online ad strategies?

If you are looking to regain control and boost your ad performance, then get in touch for a free initial consultation or check out more about our Google Shopping Ads management services

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