Product marketing drives demand and website traffic by launching a product and defining its position in a market. Effective product marketing continues after bringing a product to market—it requires maintaining brand awareness to drive sales throughout a product’s entire lifecycle. Maintaining profitability requires continually updating product marketing strategies, including creating shopping ads.

Retailers use shopping ads to promote online and local inventory and boost traffic to their e-commerce sites. Unlike traditional text ads, shopping ads appear in a visual format within a search engine results page, giving shoppers a clear understanding of what the product looks like and how it functions before they click on the ad. Improve your product marketing strategy by learning how to create effective shopping ads with Microsoft Advertising.
An overhead shot shows a woman sitting on the floor while using a laptop that rests on her lap. Different boxes lie around the floor.

What are shopping ads?

Shopping ads, also known as Product Ads, provide engaging retail experiences by showing products in an impactful, visual format. These visual ads include custom images, prices, descriptive titles, and the business’s name before a potential customer clicks on the ad and visits the product page. They also sometimes include additional information like a return policy, the average review rating, or special deals.

They can appear separately from text ads, but also concurrently with them, giving shoppers multiple opportunities to visit your e-commerce site. Shopping ads are displayed in several different places online, including at the top of a search engine results page, within a search engine’s dedicated shopping tab, and on search partners’ websites. Because of the multiple types of information shopping ads provide, they dominate search ads and result in better-qualified leads.

Two hands hold a cellphone while navigating through a sunglasses catalog.

How do shopping ads work?

Shopping Campaigns, which host shopping ads, run after product marketers create a feed and upload a catalog feed file. This file contains a list of products and details that define how they will display on the search engine results page.

Details about the product, including the title and brand name, ensure shoppers view only the most relevant results. Creating detailed and engaging titles leads to a better chance of the product appearing for relevant searches. Clear,
high-quality product images and accurate pricing are equally important to converting shoppers into buyers.

Types of shopping ads


Before you create shopping ads for your business, choose the types that best fit your product marketing plans.

  • General Product Ads appear as a vertical, rectangular ad that includes a product image, price, a descriptive product title, and business name. General Product Ads appear on search engine results pages, within a search engine’s shopping tab, and on search partners’ websites.

    Shoppers view your Product Ad after performing a search related to your product. For example, if a shopper searches for women’s sneakers, the search engine results page will deliver several related product ads for women’s sneakers from various shoe brands above the rest of the search engine results. Shoppers searching for more specific products, like women’s red high-top sneakers, will view a different, more precise range of Product Ads.
  • Local Inventory Ads look like General Product Ads but offer even more value by bridging the gap between online searches and in-store purchases. After searching for a product, potential customers near your brick-and-mortar store location see your ad with a notification indicating it’s available in-store. The ad leads them to a webpage with information about the product, including the store location and in-stock availability.

    These ads drive traffic to your e-commerce site while positively impacting your physical location. Shoppers may also purchase directly from your site and select same-day pick up at the physical location.
Two hands hold a smartphone while navigating through a catalog with items from apparel to technology. A wooden table and two iced coffees can be seen in the back.
Scaled-down cardboard boxes with carts on the front lie on top of a laptop computer next to a credit card.
  • Flyers include Flyer Extensions, sometimes called image extensions. They help businesses advertise their products visually within a text ad. Unlike ProductAds, Flyers operate as an extension to your text ads, in the Flyer Carousel search engine results page, or below mainline text ads. General Product Ads focus on a single product while Flyer Ads may highlight products, deals, or sales events. These visual ads give shoppers more information than a text ad and can help increase traffic from broad queries like weekly deals or sales.
  • Product Audiences use the format and information of your Product Ads to target a specific subset of shoppers. If a shopper visits your website but doesn’t purchase anything or adds products to their cart without checking out, Product Audiences remind them about it later by showing them your Product Ad. This hyper-targeted way of utilizing product ads reaches bottom-of-the-funnel shoppers to turn them into buyers.

Get started using shopping ads with Microsoft Advertising

Incorporating shopping ads into your product marketing plan drives better-qualified leads and increases your advertising reach. Create descriptive product titles based on keyword research and include high-quality product images to improve the performance of your product marketing strategy. Microsoft Advertising Shopping Campaigns are easy to create and include tools to measure the performance of your product ads.


If you already have shopping ads with another advertising network like Google, simply import existing ads with Microsoft Advertising. For more tips on optimizing your
e-commerce advertising strategy, explore ways to improve your Shopping Campaigns.