Google Product Listing Adverts – A great addition to your paid search activity
Google announced product listing adverts towards the end of 2011 and they are proving a very valuable addition to paid search activity for retailers. They are also very easy to set up and implement as long as the retailer has their Google Merchant centre linked to Google AdWords.
To best describe what product listings are and how they work, who better to describe them than Google themselves, “Product Listing Ads are search ads that include richer product information – including product image, price, and merchant name – without requiring additional keywords or ad text. Whenever a user enters a search query relevant to an item in your Google Merchant Centre account, Google may automatically show the most relevant products along with the associated image, price and product name.”
The key advantage of product listing adverts is that they can appear alongside a text advert and take up more advertising space on the SERP’s page, if your client also takes the 1st organic listing then this is a great way to capture a lot of traffic on certain terms that could be valuable to the client. Product listing adverts also allow advertisers to promote all the brands within their merchant centre feed very quickly.
An example of product listing adverts within search results.
Below is quick set up guide for product listing adverts based upon Google advice and our experience of using them over a period of time.
- Firstly set up a new campaign for Product Listings
- Add a new ad group for each brand/product type
- Set up product extensions
- Add a ‘product listing ad’ found under the ‘ads’ tab in Adwords.
- There is an option when selecting the product listing advert to place a promotion which will also appear in your PLA advert alongside the brand the advert is created for.
- For each ad group use auto targets and click ‘add product target’, then choose one of the options depending on what field you want Google to use from the merchant centre feed.
- For our clients we use the brand then add the name of the brand in the box provided then ‘validate’.
- Once you click validate then Google will show you whether it will match any activity within your Google Merchant Centre.
- Product listings DO NOT use keywords, all the information for targeting Google uses is taken from auto targets and applied to the merchant centre feed.
- We found it took a day for the activity to start appearing on Google.
Based upon our experience we have added some best practice and insight points which have resulted in great performance for our clients.
Best Practices & Insight
- Set up a separate ad group for each product/brand category. This will provide more controls for bidding, offer copy and targeting.
- Unlike the more conventional paid text adverts, you have to be in the top 2 or 3 places to get any traffic, so bidding a bit more may be necessary for testing.
- Use negatives like you would with broad match search adverts.
- An interesting side benefit of product listing adverts is that once sufficient data has been accrued you can pull a search query report from the PLA campaign which can be an ace way of finding new keywords (and negatives) for your core AdWords campaigns.
- It is vital to keep up to date with changes to the Google Merchant Centre feed requirements.
- Increase bids after a few weeks for brands that have received no impressions as the market may be more competitive than brands that are receiving impressions.
All information provided by Google on product listing adverts can be found below here.