Google set to deprecate Showcase Shopping ads on April 1

Google will stop serving Showcase Shopping ads and remove Showcase Shopping ad groups beginning on April 1, the company stated in an email to advertisers sent on February 23. After April 1, previous Showcase Shopping ad layouts will become part of Product Shopping ad groups. Advertisers will retain access to performance data for removed ads and ad groups in their account reports.

Tip of the hat to Kirk Williams for bringing this to our attention.

The history of the format. Google has previously said that approximately 40% of product searches are for broad terms. Showcase Shopping ads, which were first introduced for search in 2016 as a multi-image Shopping format, were intended to provide retailers with a way to “showcase” a curated group of products, and mostly surfaced for broad, non-branded searches, like “summer dresses” (in the example above). 

Showcase Shopping ads in the Google Search UI.
The flow for Showcase Shopping ads when they were introduced in 2016.

In 2018, Google added video to Showcase Shopping ads in search. The following year, the format was extended to Google Images, the Discover feed and YouTube feed. And, in March 2020, Showcase Shopping ads became eligible to show in Gmail. Prior to that, Smart Shopping campaigns were the only way to get Shopping ads into Gmail.

Why we care. After April 1, Showcase Shopping ads will be included in Product Shopping ad groups. “I would just suggest monitoring Shopping ads for a few weeks after the change, since it is possible advertisers could see an influx of top-of-funnel placements (since Showcase ads tended to be top-of-funnel),” said Kirk Williams, owner of ZATO Marketing.

As the change rolls out, advertisers that were reliant on Showcase ads may have to revisit their strategies. “We did see it drive sales and so we’re losing out on that,” said Duane Brown, founder of PPC marketing agency Take Some Risk, “It means we need to see if we can get more sales from somewhere else in ad accounts.”

The removal of Showcase ads may also leave a gap for some advertisers. “Looking forward, the one thing that is not clear is whether Smart Shopping campaigns will now cover the placements previously covered only by Showcase ads,” Williams said, adding that he hopes Google will provide further clarification in the weeks to come.


About The Author

George Nguyen is an editor for Search Engine Land, covering organic search, podcasting and e-commerce. His background is in journalism and content marketing. Prior to entering the industry, he worked as a radio personality, writer, podcast host and public school teacher.

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