Taking a Look at Rise of Google’s Product Listing Ads

Steve Burns Posted On - March 11, 2014

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Google’s Product Listing Ads format has gained huge popularity in recent period reaching record levels in July 2013.  This remarkable rise of product listing ads is mainly due to its heavy return on investment. One digital marketing technology company that helps retail clients bid on Product Listing Ads, has claimed on average it generates $9 in sales for every $1 spent.


The web giant launched paid Google Product Listing Ads in October 2012. Since after that, the click-through rate for PLAs during the year became about 47% higher than the click-through rate for text-based pay-per-click ads on Google. According to a report by the U.S. Internet Research team at Jefferies Equity Research, Product Listing Ads are being used by more retailers than ever in recent times. In Product Listing Ads, product images and prices from merchants are displayed prominently in the central area of a Google search results page. This has boosted the click through rate. Eventually high CTR of PLAs coupled with a 93 per cent year-over-year increase in click share indicates a shooting popularity of PLAs within online shoppers, as observed by Marin Software.

Reason behind the rising trend

Product listing ads have many advantages. It attracts more traffic and leads resulting to a much higher CTR compared to text ads. Sometimes it becomes double or triple than usual CTR.  Through PLAs you can improve the quality of your leads by directly displaying product information to increase probability of the shoppers to complete a purchase on your site.  It is also easy to manage the ads as PLAs use the product attributes defined in the Merchant Center data feed to show the ads on relevant searches instead of keywords. PLA s cover a broader reach as more than one can appear for a particular customer search and, if relevant, a Product Listing Ad and a text ad can also appear at the same time, doubly reaching the shoppers.


After the launching of PLAs by Google Inc in October 2012, during the fourth quarter U.S. online advertisers collectively spent 12% more year over year on paid search ads and online advertisers spent 618% more on PLAs than when they  launched in Q4 2012. Impressions were up 380% and clicks 312%, according to Ignition One, a digital marketing technology firm’s Q4 2013 digital marketing report.

Ignition one also added that during the week of Thanksgiving, PLAs accounted for 13% of all clicks on search ads on Google, and the click-through rate on PLA ads was 74% higher than on Google’s pay-per-click ads.

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