Google’s Product Showcase Ads are the closest that brands and retailers ever come to competing head-to-head. This mostly agnostic ad format accounts for the majority share of advertising inventory and placement on both desktop and mobile search, according to Gartner L2’s Retailers & Marketplaces report. We took a look at who’s winning in this space.

Sectors such as personal care, home care, and consumer electronics see shopping ads overwhelmingly owned by retailers, as many brands in these verticals cede product search to retail partners, focusing instead on driving content to conversion points. On the other hand, verticals such as watches & jewelry and activewear see a more equitable split between brands and retailers. However, preference for DTC conversion means that brands in these verticals need to compete more aggressively to get ahead.

Google ads

This makes clear that brands must strive to better control the product assortment and keyword bidding of their retail partners in order to avoid cannibalizing sales and inflating bid costs. Watch and jewelry brands have been relatively successful at this, through controlling retailer assortment and price variance of their products, as retail partners are unlikely to bid against overlapping branded keywords.

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