by Louise


Internet Marketing

Google AdWords Product Listing Ads: Gaining a Competitive Edge

Since they were launched in November 2011, Product Listing Ads (PLAs) have revolutionised ecommerce for online retailers by offering:

  • More traffic: higher CTRs compared with text ads has resulted in more traffic to retailer sites.
  • Better qualified leads: users can quickly see what products are available by looking at the images before clicking through to the product page. These users are therefore more likely to complete a purchase.
  • Easy setup/management: advertisers can manage their product inventory directly in AdWords and create product groups for specific items to manage.
  • Broader presence: multiple PLAs can be displayed at once, increasing reach for every search.

According to Adobe’s Digital Index of online advertising, retailers spent 47% more on Google’s shopping ads than they did a year ago.

With Christmas just a few weeks away – how can retailers win the battle across the increasingly competitive landscape? We have 5 top tips that will help gain a competitive edge.

  1. Dominate the Landscape
  2. Text ads and PLAs are more powerful when used together. A study conducted by Google shows that:
    People who see a brand’s PLAs and text ads are 75% more likely to search for that brand within 30 days than those who only saw text ads.
    People who see both text ads and PLAs are 90% more likely to visit the retailer’s website. They are also more likely to visit product pages, add items to their cart, and click on store locator buttons.
    People who see both text ads and PLAs are 83% more likely to make a purchase than those who only saw text ads.

    Launch your text ads and PLAs together to create more brand recognition, increased site engagement and drive more online sales.

  3. Automatic Product Updates
  4. Without automatic updates, items with mismatched price and availability will be disapproved which could result in you losing that sale to a competitor.
    Avoid inaccurate or stale product data by enabling automatic item updates in PLAs. This ensures that price and availability information is up-to-date, resulting in an improved user experience, more traffic to your product listings and higher conversion rates.

  5. Product Ratings
  6. Product ratings appear in the form of stars and review counts on PLAs across Google Search. This 5-star rating system and a count of total reviews, like so:

    These can be taken from multiple sources, including merchants, third-party aggregators, editorial sites and users.
    Google has seen an average click-through rate increase of 5% on PLAs with product ratings – additional clicks that you could have lost to your competitors.

  7. Merchant Promotions
  8. Give consumers a little something extra with Merchant Promotions by highlighting special offers in addition to what is displayed within PLAs:

    This can be in a variety of different ways, including monetary or percentage savings, free gifts, buy more to save more, and may or may not require a code for redemption.
    If competition is high and prices are equal, this is a great way to gain advantage over the other advertisers.

  9. Trusted Stores
  10. Reassure shoppers that you’re a safe and reliable place to shop by signing up for the Google Trusted Stores programme. By displaying the badge alongside the merchant name, consumers know they’ll get great customer service, on-time delivery and free purchase protection.
    Google Trusted Stores doesn’t stop there – once approved, merchants can display a badge on their website, and Google standard behind these stores by offering $1,000 of free purchase protection.


    According to Google, last Christmas 40% of shopping occurred online and this year Christmas sales are expected to grow by 5.7% – the largest year-on-year increase since 2011.
    If you sell online, PLAs are likely to be a large part of your marketing strategy. By following the above tips, you can ensure your PLAs remain prominent within a competitive landscape.


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