Five Quick Tips for Making the Most of Google’s Product Listing Ads (PLAs)

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According to Marin Software‘s findings, in the last year the click share of PLAs as a percent of total search clicks increased 210% as consumers increased their engagement with the ads, which appear as image results in Google Search and as product listings within Google Shopping.

Google transitioned Google Shopping to a commercial model in October 2012, and the bet appears to be paying off. Marin’s research reveals that advertisers increased their share of search budgets directed towards PLAs by nearly 600% in the last quarter of 2012.

Below are six quick tips for success with Google’s Product Listing Ads.

  1. Freshness of the Merchant Center feed is critical. PLAs aren’t “set it and forget it” campaigns. To be effective, retailers need to maintain their feed and continuously optimize their product targets. This means deploying granular targets and integrating an automated bidding solution.
  2. Image of the ad is important. As PLAs are imaged based a quality image and relevant image is key. If someone is searching for a certain make or model of a product, the image that appears needs to be of that make and model. General quality of image is important as well.
  3. Listing price will come into play much more with PLAs than standard text ads. Retailers will want to make sure the price that’s listed is competitive compared to the ads from other vendors and is accurate.
  4. Advertisers running both PLA and text ads have an opportunity to gain more real estate on the search engine results page. Advertisers should keep promotions and product messaging consistent across ad formats.
  5. Focus on the long-tail and expand it. PLAs appear most on long-tail search queries. Prioritize setting-up PLA Ads on more specific product searches, as oppose to generic search queries. You’re more likely to match the right image and creative with the query by focusing to this level of granularity. Also, use keyword expansion tools to identify new long-tail keywords and expand your PLA impressions.
  6. Understanding of this ad format is in its early days. Make sure you test creative, images and pricing in the beginning to get a better understanding of how this new ad format behaves for your brand and product compared to traditional text search. Continue to optimize the best performing combinations.

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