Google’s New Ad Updates Tackle “Messy Middle” of E-Commerce

The search giant's new dynamic tools are aimed at encouraging faster conversions.

Need to Know

  • New features will be rolled out across Google Ads including an image extension beta test, personalized responsive search ads, and improved location services.
  • The tools are aimed at helping retailers increase conversions by eliminating the “messy middle” of the customer purchase journey.
  • New tools are now available to Google Ads users.


Following research focused on the “messy middle” of the customer journey—that is, the hurdles that stand between a customer looking at a product and deciding to buy it—Google has rolled out a number of new tools for advertisers that more accurately target consumers with relevant information on what they are looking to purchase.

On Thursday, Google revealed new adjustments being made to its Ads program resulting from the latest installment in its Decoding Decisions research project.

The changes include an image extensions beta feature, which allows retailers to add relevant images to advertisements that can be curated using machine learning. According to Google, 85% of shoppers say product information, including images, is important when making a purchasing decision; adding image extensions will encourage shoppers to take faster purchasing action by showing them dynamic visuals that are relevant to their product searches.

Additionally, retailers can now highlight time-sensitive deals and sales in Ads while also spotlighting features such as fast or free shipping. Plus, new location insertion services will enable retailers to display when products are available for curbside pickup.

The Google Ads improvements are the latest effort by the company to offer features to retailers that are suited to a post-COVID e-commerce environment. In June, Google launched promoted pins, which allow businesses to display more information—such as pick-up and shipping options and product availability—in square-shaped Maps pins that are themselves visually distinct from other location pins. The company also recently ditched merchant fees, making it more attractive for merchants to sell their products using Google Shopping.