Is Google Shopping DEAD?

Mar 14, 2023

As you know, Google has been implementing a series of changes to its platform while AI tools like ChatGPT and Bard are rising. This has raised some concerns about the future of Google Shopping and whether it is still a viable option for businesses.

The good news is Google Shopping is not dead yet!

However, it is essential to understand Google's direction and how it will impact your business in the long term. That's why I have created a video that discusses the future of Google Shopping over the next 2-3 years.

In my personal discussions with Google, I have asked this exact question, and it is becoming clear that Google shopping will exist as an available campaign type that you can still use for years ahead.

It is also very clear that over the next 2-3 years, Performance Max & Video Campaigns will become the two dominant campaign types replacing Google Search & Shopping for the number 1 &  number 2 spots that they have held since Google Ads launched.

This is because users' Google search behaviours are currently undergoing massive disruption. 

This disruption is being caused by ChatGPT & Google’s very own Bard. Another critical reason why Performance Max & Video campaigns will be the dominant campaigns very soon is that Google is focussing much of its future growth in Ad revenue to come from YT.

YT’s ad revenue now provides 11.35% of Google’s global revenue. Google is continuing to strategically grow this channel adding more pain to Meta’s Facebook platform, which, first, had to deal with Apple no longer sharing data since the release of iOS14…

The monetisation of shorts by Google in February 2023 will enable a significant increase in YT spending. Therefore, I believe that Google’s strategy is correct by monetising Shorts because:

  • Google will be able to entice more short-form creators to focus more on YT rather than FB & IG
  • Users will follow their favourite creators away from FB & IG and over to YT

Content creators will focus their efforts on platforms that will pay them more money, which is entirely understandable. But, as a creator, why would you continue focusing on a platform that is unprepared to share ad revenue profits with you?

I have also seen this shift with one large advertiser I was working with on their Google Ads campaign, who informed me that this year they will be moving 30% of their TV & Radio budgets over to YT.

Now let’s get back to how this affects Google Shopping campaigns, and it all comes down to Google strategically moving away from a very strong focus on keyword targeting.

Since its inception, Google’s focus has been to allow advertisers to target specific keyword searches when people are at the exact point of being ready to buy. 

Google has been on a journey for several years now - remember, it was 2018 (5 years ago) that they changed their name from Google Adwords - to Google Ads. 

This significant rebranding made it clear that Google was going after the full advertising journey from people at all stages of the funnel, top - middle & bottom.

Up until that point, Google’s main focus was very much bottom-of-the-funnel strategies. 

It was also in 2018 when Smart Shopping was launched, with these campaigns having inbuilt remarketing capabilities that would bid more aggressively to your remarketing audiences until you got that all-important conversion.

So this allowed users to have a shopping campaign that was less than 100% based on keyword targeting.

Then, as we all know, last year, Google killed off Smart Shopping in favour of Performance Max. Unlike Smart Shopping, Performance Max would also include Discovery campaign functionality that targets users even before they are aware of your product or brand.

It can then use focussed search ads when people complete a search and then bid more aggressively in shopping - like smart shopping did - to your remarketing audiences. 

The reason why Google did not completely kill off Shopping campaigns is that there are some very large industries that still need the manual control that shopping campaigns allow, especially for industries like: pharmaceutical, health supplements and alcohol.

With the manual optimisation options just not available in Performance Max. That is at the moment anyway, because Google is set to release some new reporting options in Performance Max that I will sharing over the next couple of weeks.