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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : September 12, 2013

Are product listings a good investment?

Over the past year we've seen more retailers - both major brands and small mom-and-pops - invest ad dollars in product listing ads. Similar to sponsored search, the ads are said to help retailers better engage in-market shoppers. But, do they?

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: Tell me about Google's Product Listings - what are they and why is this important for retailers?

Greg deHaaff, Senior Director of Product Management, Adchemy: Google Product Listing Ads, or PLAs, are a relatively new paid ad format that presents incredible opportunities for retailers to capture the attention of in-market consumers and to grow market share. PLAs allow retailers to show potential customers images of products and prices directly on Google's search result pages instead of text-only ads. In addition, PLAs enable retailers to bid for clicks using their own products instead of selecting and bidding on keywords, which are proxies for consumer queries. With more than one billion PLAs currently being promoted, any retailer looking to drive traffic to his or her website using paid search must take advantage of PLAs in order to stay competitive.

Kristina: What is the benefit of a PLA for a retailer or other brand?

Greg: PLAs are much more efficient for retailers. First, PLAs are proving that a picture is truly worth a thousand words - PLAs not only lead to higher click-through-rates, but also higher conversion rates. Second, by allowing retailers to bid on their own products instead of keywords, PLAs eliminate the need for retailers to guess which keywords consumers will enter into search engines. Instead, retailers simply submit their entire product catalog to Google via their Google Merchant Feed. Product features - such as title, color and size - as well as a Cost per Click bid determine which products are displayed when a consumer enters a search. The elimination of the "keyword guessing game" allows retailers to focus on their products.

Kristina: How can brands implement PLAs for the upcoming holiday shopping season?

Greg: Since PLAs are product-centric, the best way for retailers to prepare for the holiday season is to ensure they have an updated and comprehensive Merchant Feed. Retailers should make sure every product in their catalog is included in their Merchant Feed. Retailers should also populate as many fields as possible in the Merchant Feed, as more populated fields equal better matches and more matching opportunities.

More from Adchemy and Greg on Friday, including his top tips for an engaging PLA offering.

Tags: Adchemy, ecommerce tips, PLA tips, product listing ads, product listing tips

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