Google Is Bringing Shoppable Ads to Images Results

Company announces at Shoptalk 2 new capabilities for retailers

Shopping is becoming more visual on Google Images. Google
Headshot of Ann-Marie Alcántara

Taking a page out of other companies’ playbooks, Google is bringing shoppable ads to search results on Google Images.

Similar to such ads on Pinterest and Instagram, Google’s ads will let retailers tag several products on an ad. When users hover over them, they’ll see the price and brand. Google is also debuting “showcase shopping ads,” a format that uses more eye-catching imagery, on Google Images. Daniel Alegre, president, retail shopping and payments at Google, said the new features are about helping retailers connect with consumers in an era when there are so many touch points along the path to purchase.

“We realized that no two journeys are alike, and we think a lot about funnel,” Alegre said during a keynote at Shoptalk, a retail conference in Las Vegas. “The reality is it’s really not like a funnel. No journey is exactly alike. With so many choices and awareness, awareness is about being there when the consumer is looking for you.”

Shoppable ads are a logical fit for Google. Alegre said 50 percent of online shoppers thought about buying an item after seeing images of it. The feature is currently in testing mode with certain retailers under searches like “home office ideas.”

“We know that people use images and leverage images to a tremendous extent,” Alegre said. “They use it to shop.”

Google’s not alone in turning its search results into a more shoppable experience. Earlier this week, Pinterest announced that shopping results are rolling out to the top of search pages. Instagram has rolled out several shopping tools for brands as well, from shopping tags in Stories to a section where users can save tagged products in Stories or posts. If these moves are any indication, every social platform is looking at how to monetize search at a point when a consumer is thinking about buying something.

“In 2019, understanding the future of retail really isn’t about wrapping your head around new innovations like 5G or AR, VR,” Alegre said. “It really is about understanding how all these things are really fitting together and build helpful experiences to put your brand front and center.”

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@itstheannmarie Ann-Marie Alcántara is a tech reporter for Adweek, focusing on direct-to-consumer brands and ecommerce.