By Pere Munar, on 17 February 2021
Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) are becoming more and more popular. That’s because PLAs are visually appealing, informative and attract eager shoppers. Overall, Google Shopping Ads saw a 38% increase in spending in 2020. If you want to better understand what PLAs are and how to use them in your SEM strategy, we’ve created this quick guide to get you started.
What are Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs)?
Google Product Listing Ads are advertisements that appear in Google search when someone searches for a certain product. These ads appear at the very top of search results and include images, prices, reviews and more. PLAs are much more informative than regular Google Search Ads and help users to find products they may be interested in based on their search keywords. PLAs have been shown to achieve a higher click through and conversion rate than regular text based ads.
The information displayed in a PLA comes from your Merchant Center product data feed and they are typically PPC (Pay Per Click) ads, meaning you only pay for them when someone clicks on them. They are not displayed based on your keywords like regular Google Ads. PLAs can appear on Google Search, Google Shopping, Google Image Search, and on the Google Search Partner network.
Compare the impact of a traditional Google Ad, top center, to the Product Listing Ads at the right.
Google uses an auto enhancement feature for PLAs which adjusts your ad for the best results. This can include cropping images to focus on the product on offer. This feature can be turned off if you don’t want it. You can also enhance your Product Listing Ad with a review or a ‘special offer’.
A PLA is a type of Google Shopping Ad with Google Shopping Campaigns, which we’ll break down in more detail next.
Google Shopping Campaigns
Google Shopping Campaigns are designed to help brands share the products they offer online, but also locally. Based on the data you provide in Google Ads, these shopping campaigns then display what you offer in a much more dynamic and visual way. Shoppers then have a clear idea of what they’re clicking on based on price, look and description and can be considered qualified leads.
There are three options for advertising your store with Google Shopping Campaigns:
- Product Listing Ads - Created based on your data feed from the Google Merchant Center.
- Showcase Ads - Products are grouped together to present your brand to shoppers. Google recommends displaying all of your products and then narrowing down your advertised catalogue based on results.
- Local Inventory Ads - These ads use information from your local inventory data feed to drive visitors to your local shop.
Benefits of Google Product Listing Ads
Google PLAs are a convenient way for retailers to get their products in front of people who are actively shopping for similar products online. Their placement and visual nature make them attractive for shoppers. Here are a few of the benefits of using Google Product Listing Ads:
1. More Qualified Leads
People who click on your Product Listing Ads are high quality leads because they have enough information to consider making a purchase. Their search terms match your product description, they’ve seen your product and know its price, and now they have clicked through. This means that what you’re offering matches what they’re looking for and it’s within their budget. It’s safe to say these users are qualified, bottom of the funnel leads.
2. Appear at the Top of Searches
Everyone wants to be at the top of page one on Google. PLAs appear at the very top of Google search results and put your products in prime real estate for eager shoppers to see. And when they click your ad they’re taken directly to your website for the next step: making a purchase.
3. Advanced Reporting and Key Metrics
Google Shopping Campaign Ads like PLAs make it possible to easily drill down ad performance and how you’re faring compared to your competition. Filtering tools allow for quick insights into ad campaigns and how successful they’ve been.
4. Ratings and Reviews Integration
As mentioned, a PLA can be enhanced with reviews. Having reviews and ratings in your ad gives third party validation to your products and greatly increases the likelihood of a sale. Reviews boost sales by 18% on average and 88% of people consider online reviews as valid as personal recommendations. Google automatically gathers reviews from your site and other sources and compiles them for advertising. You need at least three single product reviews and 50 total reviews to have reviews included in your Product Listing Ads.
5. Builds a Wider Online Presence
Depending the search query, two of your Shopping ads can appear in the same results. Whatsmore, a text ad can also appear alongside Shopping ads as well. So within one set of search results you can double your impact. This widens your reach and establishes you as a prominent brand in your niche.
6. Product Focused
Instead of spending your time researching and testing keywords, Google does the work for you by using your Merchant Center product data to display your ads. All you need to do is provide a great product image, a solid description and a price, and Google ads will find the best matches to meet user searches.
7. Automated Ad Updates
Giving Google access to your shopping feed means that any changes you make will be made in a timely manner to your Product Listing Ads. This ensures that your ads on Google are providing valid, current information. It also means you don’t have to do it yourself.
Compared to regular Google Ads, Google Product Listing Ads provide ecommerce retailers with a much more dynamic and impactful set of tools to reach customers. With simple but eye-catching ads, brands can give upfront information about their products to active shoppers who are pre-qualified by the time they click an advertisement, therefore increasing click through and conversion rates. Give Google Product Ads a try and see if they can improve your search engine marketing results this year.