Two of Google's latest search advertising enhancements are aimed at helping marketers find prominent product placement where online shoppers are searching. Here’s how eCommerce companies can take advantage of Google’s PLA updates.
At the beginning of 2016, Google extended its successful product listing ads (PLAs) program to its mobile image search pages. During the same period of time, the company also increased the number of products displayed on its online search listings from 5 to 16, according to an article on Search Engine Land.
Designed to help Google's Merchant Center clients profile their offerings on its highest-value SERP real estate, these in-line shopping tools allow consumers to compare products and prices directly on the search page itself — helping them make more informed decisions on whether to click-through to the landing page for further exploration. As Google itself points out, PLAs give users a strong sense of a product before they commit to a click, improving their satisfaction with the search process. As a result, marketers get more-qualified leads — and an important edge over competitors' listings.
Product listing ads have gained tremendous popularity over the past several years, with traffic from mobile devices contributing heavily to an impressive click-through growth rate of 62%, year over year. And, considering the more-recent announcement that Google is doing away with its right-hand sidebar ads, PLAs may represent the best way to give your product listings an above-the-fold edge over your competition.
Of course, the PLA might not be picture-perfect for every ecommerce business's marketing plan. For example, compared to other paid search opportunities, these shopping campaigns put marketers at the mercy of its auction process — meaning your placements are subject to Google's judgment on which queries match your product the best. And remember: PLAs are pay-to-play; so ecommerce businesses that are not Merchant Center customers will need to work twice as hard to get their offerings ranked highly on relevant consumer searches.
Regardless of whether you decide to take advantage of any of Google's advertising opportunities, these factors emphasize the importance of optimizing your product data — on your site pages, as well as in your paid search campaigns. It's an ongoing challenge to get quality coverage on the most valuable search terms, which is why the specialists at Prove are constantly honing the techniques we use to help our clients maximize the impact of their search spend. Let us help you weigh the benefits and customize your campaigns to make a visible difference in the way customers discover your offerings.