Google Swirl ads: 8 campaigns from top brands

By Cristina Ferrandez

With people increasingly shopping online and many individuals still wary of entering physical stores due to the pandemic, brands need to answer one key question: how can they bring their products to life digitally? Enter Google Swirl ads. Introduced in beta in 2019, Google Swirl, an interactive ad format featuring 3D product models, was made available to everyone in 2020 and has already proven its superiority over other rich media campaigns. 

Designed for mobile but also available on desktop, Google Swirl ads allow customers to visualise a product as if it was right in front of them, neatly replicating in-store experiences. 

For users, Google Swirl ads are a great way to “try out” a product by turning a 3D model of it around and zooming in and out to get a glimpse of it from all sides and ensure they’re not missing any important details. On the other hand, for brands, Google Swirl ads make it possible to showcase a product’s unique features, new technology performance, or even display its functionality — things that make it easier for customers to connect to a product and encourage them to click “buy.” 

Still not sure how you can make use of Google Swirl ads? Here are eight brands that have already tried the new ad format — with great success. 

1. MG Motor

To bring customers’ attention to the launch of their new compact SUV, the MG Hector, in 2020 MG Motor decided to try out Google’s then still new 3D Swirl immersive display ad format. 

Since Google Swirl ads use digitally created 3D objects, MG Motors collaborated with Poplar Studio to build a 3D model of the Hector car. We were also trusted with the creative planning for the 2D ad. 

As users scrolled down web pages displaying the immersive ad, the 3D version of the Hector car rotated automatically. Users could further interact with the model by entering fullscreen,  zooming in and out of the ad, and turning the 3D model manually. 

Although the interactive element of the ad was, without a doubt, of utmost importance, we did not forget to also include the brand’s logo, pricing, and call-to-actions (CTAs) within the ad. For example, when a user clicked on the “KNOW MORE” CTA, they were brought to MG Motor’s site, where they could learn more about that specific car model.

Overall, the campaign was highly successful, resulting in 8x higher engagement when compared to other interactive ads. The ad saw 70% viewability, with potential customers spending 4,600 hours engaging with the 3D model. 

2. Nissan

Another car brand that has experimented with the Google Swirl ad format is Nissan. Nissan Spain used a Google Swirl campaign to prove to customers that the Qashqai, their compact crossover SUV, is no ordinary car. 

Not only did the campaign give users the opportunity to take a better look at the car, but it also highlighted the car’s exceptional new features, including its Lane Intervention, Lane Keep Assist, and Intelligent Cruise Control. To see these features in action otherwise, users would have had to go to their local Nissan dealership and ask to take the car out for a test drive. 

Overall, the campaign received an 8x higher engagement rate versus other interactive ad format benchmarks in the auto vertical. 

3. Urban Decay

Google Swirl ads also lend themselves nicely to makeup products. In 2021, we partnered with Urban Decay’s cosmetics brand to create a Google Swirl display ad for their new Cyber Palette. 

The resulting ad, which targeted audiences in multiple markets, including the US and Spain, featured a rotating eyeshadow palette that users could interact with to see the different colours and shades available up close. 

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Urban Decay’s ‘Cyber Palette’ Google Swirl campaign

A “Try It On” CTA linked the ad to Urban Decay’s website where users could virtually try on the palette via augmented reality, further encouraging them to complete the sale.

4. RADO Watches 

Between research and development, the RADO Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic watch by RADO Watches took years to create. So it’s little wonder that the Swiss-made luxury watches brand wanted to promote the new launch with a campaign that did it justice. 

To showcase the watch in the best possible way, RADO asked Poplar Studio to design a Google Swirl campaign. The idea was to get as close as possible to making users feel as if they were holding the watch physically in their hands. 

With the Google Swirl ad campaign, users could spin the RADO Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic watch around on their screen to look at it from all sides and angles, and they could also zoom in and out to see the tiniest of details that make the watch special. 

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RADO’s Google Swirl campaign

5. Belvedere Vodka

One of the best things about Google Swirl ad campaigns is that brands are not restricted to just displaying their products. They can add other interactive elements to ads or gamify the entire experience. 

Belvedere Vodka did this a few years ago during the holiday season. To promote their gift sets, the premium spirit brand developed a Google Swirl ad that replicated the experience of users picking out and viewing Belvedere’s gift set — Vodka bottle, martini glass, and gift bag — in store. Users could virtually add and take out products from the gift bag. 

The ad improved brand favorability 6.5x times and led to 4.9x higher purchase intent compared to benchmarks in the same niche.

6. Adidas

To highlight the redesign of their Ultra Boost 2019 shoe, the sportswear brand Adidas Latin America collaborated with a creative agency to create a Google Swirl campaign. 

The ad made it possible for users to see the shoes up close and personal — even flipping them upside down to look at the sole — without having to visit a physical Adidas store.

Evidently, Adidas customers found the ad incredibly helpful. The campaign led to a 4x times higher engagement rate versus rich media, with the average person viewing it for 11 seconds. Furthermore, the ad resulted in around 2.8x return on investment.

7. Purina 

The pet brand Purina did something a little different with its Google Swirl ad campaign for its natural pet food line Purina ONE. Rather than showcasing their products up close, Purina let pet owners play fetch with a 3D dog.

The goal was to show dog and cat owners how good pet food could positively impact a pet’s behaviour in just 28 days. By virtually interacting with an energetic dog who eats Purina ONE in the Google Swirl ad, users could more easily visualise the same behaviour in their own pets. 

Thanks to the interactive nature of the campaign, Purina saw a 6x increase in engagement compared to 2D ads. 

8. Guerlain

For perfume brands, it can be challenging to communicate the scents and emotions of fragrances, as well as the stories behind them, digitally. Ideally, you want customers to come into a physical store, handle the bottles, and smell the scents for themselves. 

So what do you do when you want to expand your reach? You turn to interactive ads, of course.

That’s precisely what the French-based perfume and cosmetics company Guerlain did. Their Google Swirl ad campaign exhibited their beautiful perfume bottles, which users could also rotate to learn about the key ingredients used. 

In the words of Jean-Denis Mariani, the Chief Digital Officer at Guerlain, Google Swirl allowed them to tell a more dynamic and vivid story about their products and give customers a new way to discover and interact with them. 

The campaign more than accomplished what it set out to do. In contrast to other rich media, the ad saw a 3x increase in user engagement rate, with the average person viewing the ad for around 15 seconds. The brand’s Global Head of Digital Media, Eve Uzan, noted that the increased engagement also translated into higher purchase intent and online sales. 

Getting started with Google Swirl ads

Although Google Swirl ads have been around and available to all for almost two years, most brands are still behind when it comes to utilising this interactive ad format. 

However, as the above examples show, Google Swirl ads are an easy way for retailers to grow brand awareness, promote their products, increase customer engagement, and, of course, boost sales. 

Want to get started with Google Swirl ads? We have an entire blog post that walks you through the process. 
You’ll notice that a critical element of Google Swirl ads is the 3D models of your products. For that, you’ll want to work with a creative agency that understands your needs and vision. Poplar Studio is one such agency, and we’d be happy to collaborate with you on bringing your products closer to your customers.

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