Run Google Shopping Ads on YouTube? Here are All the Ad Formats (So Far).

youtube trueview for shopping google shopping ads

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Joe Martinez of Clix Marketing. Joe is a great friend, and one of the world’s foremost experts on Youtube advertising so we are excited to share this post with you today. You can get further details about Joe in his biography at the end of the post. Happy reading!

 

Google Shopping ads have come a long way since they were first introduced as Froogle in 2002. When Shopping campaigns first started, advertisers could only showcase their product on the Search Network. But now we have seen the options expand greatly over the past few years. YouTube is just one of the options where your products can be showcased. There are several ways your Shopping ads can be placed on YouTube. This post is going to outline the current options you have right now as well as one feature that will be coming out soon.

(1) Search Partners

When setting up basic Shopping campaigns in Google Ads, you have an option to choose targeting at the campaign level. One of the targeting options is which networks you want your shopping ads to show. The default is the Search Network, but you also have the choice of whether you want to be included in the Search Partners.

google shopping on search partners

Search partners expand campaign reach beyond Google.com to non-Google sites in the Display Network as well as YouTube. Now your shopping ads can show on YouTube, depending on what the user searched for as well as the video watch page, by contextually matching your products with what the user is watching.

 

google shopping in search partners

Image courtesy of WordStream

By default, Shopping campaigns will have the search partners option enabled. If you’ve disabled this option in your campaigns, you may want to reconsider testing the search partners. This will expand your reach slightly, but still give you more control than you would via a Smart Shopping campaign (which we will get to very soon). In the image above you can see there are multiple brands showing up on this video watch page. If you want to control the experience and guarantee only products from your Merchant Center feed show up, you’ll want to consider using the next way your ads can appear on YouTube.

(2) TrueView for Shopping

 

TrueView for Shopping ads start off as a TrueView in-stream ad, or a pre-roll ad that plays before the video a user actually wanted to watch. As a user watches the video ad, a shopping card will appear next to the ad that can showcase up to six products. Even if the user skips the video, the products will still appear next to the video the user originally intended on watching.

youtube trueview for shopping google shopping ads

In order to run TrueView for Shopping campaigns, the Product and Brand Consideration campaign goal must be selected, then the Shopping campaign subtype. There are three ways for products to be selected from the feed attached to your campaigns.

youtube truveiew for shopping product filter

  1. Choose all products on the feed. This option is great for remarketing to or when a feed is broken out by very specific product categories.
  2. Manually select the products –  While only six products will appear in the shopping cards, advertisers can choose up to ten products. Out of stock products can be selected, but will not show up in the cards until the product is back in stock within your Merchant Center feed.
  3. Use custom filters – These custom filters are the custom labels you have set up in your product feed attached to the campaign. Only one custom filter can be used, so fully understand how your custom labels are set up in your feeds; especially if the same label is used across multiple columns.


Products are selected at the campaign level. There is no other way around this and may be something most Shopping advertisers are not used to. It may take a lot more work to test out different products with your video assets. And I’ll give you one more warning. TrueView for Shopping cannot be created, edited, or copied/pasted in Google Ads Editor. These campaigns will all need to be created manually.

 

Now you are most likely reading this post because you are an ecommerce marketer looking for more ways to sell your products. That being said, I have to set the proper expectation now. These are video campaigns first. Shopping campaigns second. Most people go to YouTube to watch videos; not to be sold a ton of products. While conversions and positive ROAS are definitely possible, understand this is more top of funnel awareness-building for your products instead of direct return.

(3) Smart Shopping

 

If you are reading the ZATO blog, I will assume that you have a high level of interest in Shopping campaigns. I did not come here to start the debate on whether you love or hate these campaigns and their lack of advertiser control. 😝 But what I will say is Smart Shopping campaigns are a good way to test your shopping ads on a few other channels. Yes, you are giving Google more control, but Smart Shopping allows your shopping ads to appear on Search, Display (including Gmail), and YouTube.

google smart shopping ad group set up

Smart Shopping campaigns are fairly easy to set up. After you select which Merchant Center feed you want to use as well as the country of origin, the only other settings you need to fill out are your daily budget and bid strategy. (Bid strategy is only Maximize Conversion Value, but you do have the option to layer on a target ROAS).

how to create a google smart shopping ad

After the ad group is created, you will see the only ad option we have (in the image above). Advertisers will add an image, a couple of headlines, a description, and a final URL. The logo you have set up in your Merchant Center account will be the logo that appears in the ad. Unfortunately the only ad previews shown for these campaigns are for the Search Network so you will not be able to see how your specific ads may look on YouTube.

(4) What’s Coming Soon

 

In May 2019 at Google Marketing Live, Google announced many more YouTube features set to launch soon. Some of these features involve more options to blend shopping campaigns with video campaigns. During the Shopping announcements, Google announced they will expand placements for Showcase Shopping ads to include YouTube.

google marketing live showcase shopping announcement

If you are not familiar with this shopping ad format, I’ll explain briefly. These shopping ads are designed to inspire people. Many users come to Google.com and type in a generic search term like “shoes” or “jeans.” These broader searches allow brands to display larger product groupings to users who may not know exactly what they want at the time. Originally these ads could only show up on Google.com, but we’ll now be seeing them on Google Images, Discover, and of course YouTube.

Embrace Video

 

Whether you are looking to expand your reach, or you want to create an engaging brand experience your target audience will enjoy, YouTube is an option any advertiser cannot ignore. While the Search Network has the upper hand in user intent, YouTube gives advertisers a way to build awareness and expand reach with more engaging ad formats. If you truly believe in keeping your products top of mind with potential buyers or exposing your brand to a wider audience, you must try YouTube with your Shopping campaigns.

 

 

About the Author
joe martinez youtube ads google shoppingJoe Martinez is the Director of Client Strategy for Clix Marketing. While he is hands-on in all aspects of PPC, his true passions lie in display, remarketing, audiences, and YouTube. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, and WordStream. He has also written for PPC Hero, SEMrush, Unbounce, Leadpages, Optmyzr, and AdStage, and has hosted webinars for SEMrush, Unbounce, Quora and Bing Ads. He regularly speaks at conferences such as SMX (Advanced, Munich, East, West), HeroConf, Pubcon, Confluence Conference, Digital Olympus and more. Finally, he was named a Top 25 Influential PPC Expert by PPC Hero in 2017, 2018, and 2019.  

 

Did you know: ZATO can manage just Shopping Ads for your Brand or company alongside your in-house/agency Paid Search team?  Learn more about this offering here: Google Shopping Agency.