Will Google Showcase Shopping ads impact on SEO?

While doing a quick analysis of one of our clients SERPs in Google incognito, we noticed a new ad replacing the 1st PPC ad spot on desktop.

New ad in Google searches on desktop

After clicking on this ad pack, it opens a list of products for that brand.

List of products from brand in Google search

It appears these new ads have been rolled out by Google. They’re called Showcase Shopping ads and according to the AdWords help centre:

“Showcase Shopping ads let you group together a selection of related products and present them together to introduce your brand or business.”

These new ads are now available for shopping campaigns in the new AdWords API. When we review Google’s search engine results from a mobile device, the Showcase Shopping ads become more prominent.

Google's Showcase Shopping ads on mobile device

However, after clicking on the B&Q Showcase ad on a mobile browser it takes you to a very different result and experience than it does on desktop.

B&Q's Google showcase ad on mobile device

As you can see from the screenshot, the Showcase Shopping ad is almost a landing page for the brand within the Google Search result (the URL is still Google.com). The company’s logo is at the top and the page links back to the corporate website at the top and bottom. As well as the branding, the brand’s products are displayed to users.

Interestingly, there is no mention of sponsorship within the result when you click on the Showcase ad and when I viewed it on my iPhone the ad feels almost organic. However, when I checked the source code it became clear that someone somewhere is paying Google for this space.

Source code

This new Google Showcase Shopping ad feels very much like a Facebook mobile Canvas advert. As Facebook is one of Google’s biggest competitors, it’s no surprise they’re trying to rival the social giant’s ad experience.

Facebook mobile Canvas advert

Image source: http://marketingland.com/

From an SEO point of view, what’s alarming is on a mobile device the organic results are even further down the page, as we can see in the instance of the “kitchens” search query.


Organic results for “kitchens” search query Not only does the new ad push organic further down the page, but Google is now rolling out more immersive mobile ad experiences above the fold, rather than just one more search ad.

This is more than likely to impact on ecommerce sites organic click-through rate as this ad type is adopted by more and more companies.

Currently, we’re not seeing Showcase Shopping ads in Google UK for all of our client’s non-branded keywords. However, this might change over the coming months as more ecommerce companies implement Showcase Shopping ads.

From an SEO point of view, we’d recommend the following actions if you’re in ecommerce:

  • Monitor the SERPs for non-brand keywords (particular highly competitive keywords)
  • Monitor the click-through rate (CTR) of your non-branded keywords if you do see the ads
  • Alert your PPC team to this change (if they don’t already know)
  • Work with your PPC team to help identify the keywords which begin to show this new ad type.

The last time we spotted Google doing something similar it cost our client 100k organic visits per month, you can read about that here.

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