Getting Started With Google Product Listing Ads

Where are the top e-commerce retailers in the Asia-Pacific market getting their sales? According to Campaign, mobile purchases are dominating the marketplace. Regional online companies that take advantage of this trend will come out on top in the upcoming shopping periods. Retailers can make the most of mobile transactions by being part of the Google Shopping experience. Google product listing ads, or PLAs, are the foundation of this type of ecommerce marketing.

Getting Started With Google Product Listing Ads

Why Use Google Product Listing Ads?

When consumers do a Google search, they get a variety of results. At the top of the page are AdWords advertisements, which appear in listing form. Those don’t have a photo attached, but they dominate the area above the fold of the search results. Below those, a row of product images appears, highlighting various products. The rest of the page shows the websites that appear based on the organic SEO algorithm.

A picture is worth a thousand words. When it comes to ecommerce marketing, PLAs stand out because they have a different format. They provide a visual image that the viewer can often process more quickly than text. CNBC says that the sponsored ads at the top of the Google search results have pushed down unpaid search results. If you have an e-commerce business, avoiding the real estate at the top of the page could be devastating for your sales when the majority or your audience is using a mobile device.

Plus, your competition is probably using PLAs. CNBC also reported that product listing ads made up only eight percent of Google search ad spending in 2011. In the first quarter of 2017, 52 percent of all Google search ad spending went to PLAs.

Who Should Use Product Listing Ads?

Because they’re visually driven, PLAs are geared toward retailers that sell physical products. You’ll get the most out of these advertisements if:
• You sell more than 500 products.
• Your industry is not extremely competitive.
• You don’t have a limited marketing budget.
• You have a high-quality website.

First Things First: Setting Up Your Google Merchant Center

PLAs pull information from your Google Merchant account. If you don’t have one, set that up first. It will need to be linked to your AdWords account. Then, you can set up a PLA campaign. Keeping your Google Merchant Account product feeds up to date will ensure that the most relevant items show up in your PLAs.

Setting up a PLA campaign is fairly simple:
• In AdWords, click on New Campaign on the Campaigns tab.
• Select Search Network Only from the drop-down box.
• From the Campaign Type options, select Product Listing Ads.
• Specify the networks, devices, language and locations for your ads.
• Complete the Bidding and Budget section.
• Under extensions, check the box beside Product, and make sure that your Google Merchant account appears in the drop-down box.
• Click Save and Continue.

Creating An Ad Group

When you create your first ad group, All Products will be selected by default. This allows Google to access all of the items in your feed for applicable searches. Initially, putting in a competitive bid for the All Products group will help your items show up on relevant search results. This will give you data that you can use to create more targeted groups later.

You’ll use metrics from Google Analytics to evaluate which products are driving sales. As you begin to understand which products are drawing more traffic and converting customers, you can create more specific ads that only pull from certain product categories or groups. You can eventually make separate groups for:
• Specific brands
• Best sellers
• Specific price categories
• Seasonal products
• Gender
• Color
• Size
• Condition
• Category

Optimising Your Bids And Budget

Google always defaults to the highest bid set for a particular item. If a product appears in two different categories, such as brand or size, you’ll bid at the higher price. Therefore, you don’t want to separate your ad groups into too many categories. It can end up confusing you mentally and financially. Your budget will be spread thin, and you won’t get realistic metrics.

If you want your targeted groups to receive more traffic than your All Products group, you’ll need to bid higher for those ad groups. However, while you’re starting out, keep bids higher on the All Products group so that Google doesn’t neglect to show certain categories or items. This will help you get a better overall view of your metrics at first. The All Product group acts as a safety net to make sure that your entire inventory is being shown to your audience.

You can create a daily budget for each campaign. You’re charged when someone clicks on the ad. Although you set a maximum bid for each product target, Google only bids as much as is necessary to outdo the ad position beneath yours. Therefore, you don’t always bid at the highest set level.

When you’re starting out, feel free to bid aggressively. If your products don’t appear in search results, you won’t get data that you can evaluate to assess which products perform better. A strong start can help you build a better picture of your campaign so that you can hone in on the more profitable items down the road.

The Bottom Line

When consumers click on PLAs, they are often ready to make a purchase. Think of these ads as products in a shop. Text ads are comparable to a shop’s listing in the Yellow Pages. When someone sees a text ad, they might be aware that the business exists, but they’re not enticed to visit the business or make a purchase. Google Shopping uses PLAs to invite potential clients in the door so that they can begin browsing the inventory. With inventory at their fingertips, they’re much more likely to convert into paying customers.

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