Shoppable Lightbox ads: introduction & best practices | Articles

A couple of months ago, Google announced the availability of Shoppable Lightbox ads in Belgium. This is a new way of feed-based advertising, so as Digital Marketing experts we were eager to test this out for you. Is this medium as effective and revenue-driving as Google Shopping? What filters can be used to pull the products from the feed? What targeting options are there? Those are only a handful of questions that can be answered with the help of this article, where I will highlight and evaluate the possibilities and best practices.

What is Shoppable Lightbox?

Shoppable Lightbox is the new brother in the Lightbox ad family. There is already Image and Video Lightbox that can be used to boost engagement with your audience in a very visual and fun way. Shoppable Lightbox can be used in the exact same way with the exception that you don’t have to upload visuals or videos yourself, but link and filter products from the Merchant Center. The main principle is that when the user hovers over the Lightbox ad for a couple of seconds, the ad expands and several interactions are being triggered. The user can engage with several images with each a headline and description line, videos, maps, and so on. Now with the addition of Shoppable Lightbox it is also possible to link with the Google Merchant Center and show products with their respective product image, title and price in this Lightbox ad.

This format is available on Desktop, Tablet as well as Mobile and use, as the other Lightbox ad formats, the Cost Per Engagement (CPE) pricing model. This means that you only pay when a user is interested enough, and hence hovers over the ad long enough to expand it. Every click that occurs after (a click on the CTA button, on a product image, …) is in other words completely free.

How to set it up?

There are two ways how to set up these Shoppable Lightbox ads. Either you can do it via Ready Lightbox in Adwords or you set it up via Custom Lightbox in DoubleClick. Currently, the setup needs to be done by Google internally, so there are some elements to bear in mind. Here some up- and downsides of both:

Ready Lightbox in Adwords:

  • Easy and quick setup

  • No minimum spend requirement

  • Send info to Google 5 working days before launch

  • Rather basic layout

Custom Lightbox in DoubleClick:

  • Long setup process and slow launch

  • Minimum budget requirement of € 30.000

  • Send info to Google 6 weeks before launch

  • Visually more attractive and more options

Which channel you opt for therefore depends on the means, goals and urgency of the campaign.

After choosing the channel you’ll need to think of what products you’ll want to show in this ad. Ideally a 12 - 30 products from the Google Merchant Center are featured with each there description, image and price pulled from the feed. As Google takes care of the setup, you’ll need to deliver them following elements when choosing for the Ready Lightbox ad in Adwords as we did:

  • What product filters do you want to use:

    • custom filter (based on nomenclature of Merchant Feed hierarchy)

    • product type: brand (custom labels are not yet possible, but workaround is to use Google Adwords labels)

  • Targeting: everything that’s available in the GDN

  • Start and end date

  • Landing page (if people click on something else than the product cards)

  • Max CPE

  • Message

  • Font & color

  • Static images (or videos): optional

Why should you start using Lightbox ads and what should you use it for?

First of all, your target audience will be more interested and considered more qualitative as they have to hover over the Lightbox ad first in order to expand it. Furthermore, the product feed asset allows people to browse information about and engage with your products in a very visual way. Your audience will therefore be provided with a deeper experience to learn about and understand your products.

These Shoppable Lightbox ads are interesting particularly in Belgium, since they give us the possibility to boost awareness and communicate about a certain product range. Promotional messages are as it happens no longer useable and merchant promotions not yet available here in Belgium for Shopping. In those Shoppable Lightbox ads we could highlight promotions for certain product ranges by adding static image banners that give more information about a promo code to use for example. Furthermore you could use this format to increase awareness about and interact with a new product range you offer on your webshop.

If you are not yet convinced after sharing with you the possibilities of these Shoppable Lightbox ads, there is always data at some point that will pull you over the line. According to Google figures, it should drive 4x more clicks and better cost efficiency for advertisers than standard Lightbox and rich media ads, with a 300% better ROI and a 3,9% expansion rate.

In a nutshell, Shoppable Lightbox ads are very promising what concerns the performances, offer a lot of possibilities, and could be part of your multichannel approach in reaching, engaging and making convert your online audience.

Author: Julie Pyck


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