Google Shopping Vs Google Ads

Google Shopping, formerly Google Product Listing Ads (PLA), and Google Ads (previously Google AdWords) search and display ads are both excellent ways to draw more traffic and conversions to your site. Clients often ask us about the similarities and differences between the Google Shopping vs Google Ads, as well as which one we would recommend as an optimal solution for their site.

See below to learn more about Google Shopping vs Google Ads and which is best for you:

What is Google Shopping?

  • Google Shopping (formerly Google Product Listing Ads or PLAs) allows website owners to set their desired cost per click in order to display their product listing ads at the top of Google’s search results. This moderates your bids for individual products, product groups, categories, and your daily budget.
  • Google Shopping Ads feature product pictures. Ads ads do not.
  • No need to setup text ads or bid on any keywords.
  • Mainly tailored towards eCommerce sites that have a product feed and carry a large volume of products.

What are Google Ads?

  • Google Ads (formerly AdWords) allow website owners to bid on specific keywords in order to display their ads at the top of Google’s search results.
  • More commonly used for both eCommerce sites and brick and mortar businesses.
  • Geared towards sites without a very large volume of products.
  • Allows for more control over advertisement messaging, sale information, branding, etc.

Google Shopping Vs Google Ads


Which one should you use?

It depends on your situation. Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding:

  • Google Shopping is better for sites with a large volume of products. For example, if your site sells 1,000 products, you would ideally have one ad for each product, with the landing page for each product being the product details page. Then you would want Google Shopping vs Google Ads. Setting up the same scenario in Google Ads is complicated and more time-consuming to manage.
  • Google Shopping pay per click (PPC) ads usually lead to much higher click-through rates. While traffic and revenue increase, more clicks means spending more ad budget. They are also generally less expensive per click, but there is more competition. Prior to 2012, Google Shopping ads were completely free.
  • Google Ads pay per click (PPC) ads are better for branding, messaging, and promotions.

Google Shopping Tips:

If you’ve made the decision to use Google Shopping Ads for your eCommerce PPC, then these tips should help you:

Top 3 Best Practices for Google Shopping Campaigns.

  • Maintain feeds and product data quality.
  • Optimize for unique product categories.
  • Prepare and optimize for big events.


Quality of your product feed is important, so ensure that its free of errors. If your data feed doesn’t match your website, then Google will not show your product ads.

Become a “Google Trusted Store” to rank higher and increase click-through rates.

Use a unique product image (avoid stock photos on eBay, Amazon, etc.), make sure your images are high-quality, and free of watermarks.

Google Merchant Center and Google Ads accounts are required. However, a standard Google Ads text ad campaign is not required to use Google Shopping.


Our team of search specialists is certified and experienced in Google Shopping, Google Ads, and Google Analytics. Contact Us today to get started with a Pay Per Click campaign that works for you.