Google shopping ads vs. text ads: How do they differ and how to use them to your advantage

At first glance, it can be difficult for companies to opt for one particular type of advertising. In this article, we will explain both types of advertising, their benefits, compare them and get to option number 3 – using both types of advertising at the same time.

Google shopping is the most popular ad type nowadays. They cover about 76.4% of all retail search in the US. Most eShops are keen on advertising their products on the most popular platform.

Google Text Ads (Search Ads)

Classic text ads are designed to grab buyer’s attention solely through text. These ads are made up of the advertiser’s domain, 2-3 headlines and 1-2 descriptions with various extensions available. However, unlike Shopping Ads, they do not display product images.

Depending on how you set them up, you may call out special offers, prices or the most appealing benefits and get conversions at the exact time a potential customer is looking for products or services.

Text Ads can be customized based on your goals or the goals of the eShop. Their flexibility means that they can be targeted to a wider range of audiences.

They are older than Shopping ads, however they still make up more than 45% of the monthly share of clicks from product advertising to eShops. With this type of ad you can attract new customers with calls to action.

How much time does it take to create a text ad manually?

Creating a text ad manually for a specific product is very time-consuming. Before you start the process, you have to take the following steps:

  • Research how many products you’re going to make text ads for

  • Create a Google Search campaign

  • Create a separate ad group for a specific (single) product

  • Create and add keywords which will trigger the ad itself

So, practically speaking; by the time you finish creating a text ad for one of your products, the information you put in the ads before or even in the one you’ve just finished, might not be correct anymore. Not even because the description or the title of the product has changed, mainly because of the stock and the price that might have changed overnight.

Therefore, manually created text ads are rarely used due to time constraints and to a high probability that the created ad will no longer be accurate! Manual ad creation is only recommended for your best-selling products, and you need to keep an eye on them.

Luckily, there is an alternative to this time-consuming activity. You can now automate your ads with a few simple steps. For more information, have a look at this article.

Is there a way to avoid creating ads manually?

There are multiple ways to save your time while creating your ads. One of them is to automate the ad creation process. If the tool is good, you should be able to have thousands of product ads generated in a few minutes! That does save you a lot of time, don’t you think?

But how does it work?

Let’s take a look at the tool provided by To automate your ads, you need a common XML product data feed, which is now used by almost every eShop for advertising. You simply enter the URL address of your product feed into the tool and let the tool do everything for you! There’s also a function called Product Ad Template, which ensures that text ads are created for your entire product catalogue!

It’s easy, fast, reliable and the important thing is – your ads will be perfectly accurate while you can use the time to do something else.

What are the benefits of automated text ads for products?

  • Product conversion – you can create text ads for every single product in your eShop! Products that might’ve not been popular can get more recognition!
  • Easily maintained – you can manage text ads, create variations of them and have a full control over them.
  • Filtered and defined product campaigns – especially for products that you really want to get out there
  • Long-tail keywords – these will help you to find new keywords that are far less competitive
  • High conversion rate – from highly targeted ads for a very specific group of shoppers
  • 6 hours update cycle – always up-to-date ads!
  • Automatically monitored – if you implement a sales promotion or a product is out of stock, sales activities and stock levels are automatically updated and adapted in your ads. Therefore, you’re not promoting something inaccurate.

Google Shopping Ads (Product Listing Ads)

Over the last few years, the popularity of Shopping Ads has significantly increased. Even in countries where Shopping Ads were just introduced, it’s apparent that they are very popular amongst the shop owners as well as customers. With Google Shopping Ads, merchants can effectively drive traffic to product pages.

To simplify Shopping ads are automated advertising for your products through Google Merchant Center with the campaign elements being relatively easy to control.

What are the benefits of advertising via Shopping Ads?

  • higher traffic (higher %CTR rate, mainly because of great positioning of those ads at the top of the search)
  • better targeting, because the images, titles and concrete prices of products are displayed, and the potential customer chooses what he is interested in and then clicks
  • useful reviews of competition
  • possibility to filter and advertise only the chosen products or groups of products, based on their manufacturer´s categorization, product prices, or some selected characteristics (such as size, color, destination, etc.)

How to set up Google Shopping ads? Follow these eight steps:

  1. Set up an account in Google Ads and in Google Merchant

To set up your Shopping ad, you need to create two accounts – one in Google Ads and the other in the Google Merchant . The Merchant Center keeps track of the products in your e-shop, while Google Ads takes care of their advertising.

  1. Optimize your product gallery

As mentioned above, Google Merchant is a virtual inventory of your products and will provide the necessary information about them for advertising – except for the images. These will be taken from your e-shop.

Visual is very important to Shopping ads. Therefore, make sure your images are of high quality, your products are clearly visible, not overlaid with a watermark, and so on. Poor image quality may result in disapproval of your ad.

  1. Provide Google Merchant with the necessary information

You upload your product data to the Merchant Center using the product feed. You set the country and language for which your products will appear in Search.

Google supports two feed formats – .txt and .xml. The first is more convenient for smaller retailers, but the second is more universal. If you plan to use third-party tools, such as our BlueWinston app, to make the creation process more easier, we recommend the .xml product feed.
If you don’t have a product feed, you can also create one using Google Sheets. You must specify your products with the following information:

  • ID: number under which you register the product in your e-shop
  • Name: the name that matches the name of the specific product in your e-shop, including color or model
  • Description: product information that should match the description in your e-shop
  • Link: URL of the specific product website, starting with http> or https
  • Image link: URL of the main product image, starting with http or https again
  • Availability: Your product can only be advertised if it’s available
  • Price: The price must match the one in your e-shop and must be in the currency that corresponds to the country in which you are advertising
  • Google product category: Specify a specific product category
  • Brand: the brand of the product as it is known to customers

There are other attributes that are optional or mandatory only for specific product types. Learn about them directly in Google Merchant Center Help.

  1. Link your Google Merchant account to your Google Ads account

So the Google Merchant Center stores information about your products that Google Ads uses to create ads. These two accounts work together, so you need to link them. We’ve prepared a step-by-step guide to link these two accounts.

  1. Create a Shopping campaign

You are creating the campaign itself in your Google Ads account. On the Campaigns tab, click the big plus sign (‘+’) and select the option to create a new campaign. Select a goal and choose Shopping as the campaign type.

Make sure you see the correct Merchant Center account from which Google Ads will be taking the product information.

  1. Set bids for products

Placing your products in an imaginary catalog works on the principle of auction – whoever offers a better price (we intentionally don’t write a higher price because a higher price is not a guarantee of success) has a chance to get a better placement.

So set the price you want to bid for your product placement. You only pay this price when someone clicks on your product. At the same time, determine your daily budget, which depends on how much you can invest in advertising each day.

  1. Target and plan your campaign

The penultimate step is to target your ad to users in the right places. Target only such locations where you can ship your goods. Otherwise, you will be unnecessarily throwing money into the air.

Also set the start and end of your campaign (if applicable) and save your settings.

  1. Build ad groups

Finally, you assign a campaign to an ad group to determine what type of ad it is. We distinguish between three types of ads – Product Ads, Showcase Ads, and Local Catalog Ads.

The first mentioned, product ads, are classic ads in Shopping made through the product feed. They appear as image, title, price, and product name. You are free from creating advertising for each product separately.

Showcase Ads allow you to advertise product groups. If a user searches e.g. “pots”, he or she will see a showcase of various pots directly in Search. In this way, he or she can see if he can choose from your offer.

Local Catalog Ads are an eye-catching format that lets users easily browse your products in one place. It helps to increase traffic to local stores. This type of ads, along with showcase ads, is only available in some countries.

That’s it! – You’ve successfully set up your Shopping ad! But what about getting your product advertising to an even higher level?

So how does it work?


You send Google Merchant Center information about your products via a data feed. Thanks to that, you can then display your products using Google Ads advertising platform (Google AdWords) and advertise them to potential buyers in Google Search.

If you want to try it out yourself, it’s important to keep in mind that you need to use proper keywords and have to rely on the popularity of the searches for the products you sell. That’s why Shopping Campaigns are not really recommended as the best tool for non-branded products without search volume.

Did this pique your interest? If you use our CSS service called Shopping in EU, you can get a discount of up to 20% for Shopping and Remarketing Ads. Even for free!

Google Shopping Ads vs. Text Ads

For easier decision making, we will show the main differences between shopping ads and text ads.

Google Shopping AdsText Ads
Easy implementation of multiple productsGreat visibility
No keywords needed, potentially more chances of showing your productsMore text and more content
They are more engaging because they contain an imageMore options to stay ahead of the competition
CPCs are cheaper than in Text AdsHigher chance to land the click
Strict rules regarding the content of imagesNot suitable for products / ads with long titles
Ads show limited contentThey are more complicated to edit than Shopping Ads
Not allowed in all countriesCPCs can be more expensive than in Shopping Ads

What about the combination of Text and Shopping Ads?

A Google study says that potential customers who see both product text ads and Google Shopping Ads with product images are more than +90% more likely to click on the ad and make a purchase.

Our client, who is using both Text and Shopping Ads has about +73% more clicks than the client, who is in the same market segment without using both simultaneously.

This is because advertising through both types of ads can get you more recognition. If you think about it; many people buy with their eyes (if not all of us) while some don’t really care about how the product looks as long as the specifications are suitable for them. Thus, having both Text and Shopping Ads running at the same time can attract more customers.

What are the advantages of this combination?

  • Higher clickthrough rate = higher CTR
  • Higher conversion rate = more purchases made
  • Wider reach to potential audiences = since everyone prefers a different kind of approach while considering a purchase
  • Better optimization of campaigns = it is better to advertise for some products with Text Ads and for others with Google Shopping Ads
  • Bigger turnovers!

Now it is only up to you to decide which type of ad is right for you. Will it be a Text ad or are you more leaning into Google Shopping Ad? Anything you decide, advertising on Google is definitely the right step for you and your business. Good luck!

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About the Author:

Account Manager and Content Creator at BlueWinston. I take an interest in online marketing, design, SEO and websites.