Alphabet is launching shoppable ads on Google Images, a move that will allow shoppers to make purchases directly from their search results. The tech giant has found that 50% of online shoppers say images of a product have inspired a purchase, and this new functionality aims to reduce the friction between discovery and conversion.
The format will allow retailers to highlight multiple products available for sale in their sponsored ads among Google Images results. Shoppers can scroll through images and hover over any sponsored ad to see which items pictured are for sale, along with price, brand and other information.
The concept is currently being tested with select retailers on a small share of traffic, and is focused on broad queries like “home office ideas,” “shower tile designs” and “abstract art.” Google plans to roll out the feature to additional categories and retailers in the coming months.
Showcase Shopping ads also will be made available in Google Image searches. The program, which is used by thousands of retailers in 17 countries, lets retailers promote brands and products with a combination of imagery, descriptions and promotions.
Additionally, Google is expanding its Merchant Center platform to let retailers provide additional product data to be shared with shoppers. The tool is a portal for ads across all Google content, including Google Shopping and YouTube.
Alphabet isn’t the only company boosting the presence of shoppable ads on its media. Walmart debuted shoppable ads on its Vudu streaming platform at the end of 2018, letting customers either ask for more information or directly add the product being presented to their walmart.com cart. The ads appear on Movies On Us, the platform’s free streaming service.
Shoppable content holds particular potential on social media: 76% of consumers have purchased a product they saw in a brand’s social media post, according to Curalate. As many as 78% of retailers in the apparel, department store, big box and specialty sectors already have shoppable Instagram accounts, according to Gartner L2.