Walmart Leads The Way In Google Product Listing Ads

The good people over at AdGooroo has completed a study which has revealed that Google reports make life difficult for advertisers to monitor ad position or total Product Listing Ads (PLAs) impressions.

The completed study results showed the top 20 brands for US based PLAs from ad impressions during March to May 2013. I’m sure you are not suprised to see that the big name brands were right at the top with Walmart showing themselves at No.1 by quite a distance.


The results in the table above show how much the big players are dominating the space.

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Of Paid Google Shopping

Paid Google Shopping is now roughly a month and a half old but how has it shaped up since its full migration?


Product Listing Ads (PLAs) are now a completely paid for service and appear down the right side of the Google Search Page or below the advertisements above the normal search results.

Nothing else has changed a part from this with the ads linking to the retailers products on their website. When Google made this decision there was somewhat of a backlash in the US, especially from Bing with them setting up their own advertising campaign and website with the strapline of “Don’t Get Scroogled”.

Although this now means that retailers will have to pay more for their advertisement, this move does actually hold some advantages to both retailer and consumer alike.

Because retailers now have to pay for their ads it has massively reduced the amount of bad ads in the system with less products that are out of date, out of stock or not available at all at the advertised price, colour, size etc.


Google AdWords Phone Numbers In Ad Text No Longer Available

According to a recent policy update, if youinclude a phone number in your AdWords ad, you will now need to use the call extensions feature from April onwards.

If you don’t start using this new feature then Google will disapprove your ads.

Google’s official words are:

In the next few weeks, we will no longer allow phone numbers to be used in the ad text of new ads. Advertisers who would still like to promote phone numbers in their AdWords advertising can use the call extensions feature. We’re posting this alert now to provide adequate lead time to make ad changes.

In April 2013, we will begin to disapprove ads that were using phone numbers in their ad text before the March 2013 policy change.

An example of a currently running but will be disallowed in April ad is shown below:


In addition to this, Google will be removing the $1 charge for using a Google forwarding number on ads that appear on desktop searches, such as this one:



Google Shopping And Mobile Phone Users

I’ll be surprised if you know more than a handful of people, if anyone at all that doesn’t have a mobile phone these days. Of these, I would also take a bet at most of these being capable of connecting to the internet to surf the web, purchase products and do everything in between.

This, of course gives great opportunity for retailers to allow their products to be visible across multiple devices, at anytime and practically anywhere.

The recent Google Enhanced Campaigns have allowed retailers to reach this new breed of customers in the mobile and tablets world and Google has now announced that Product Listing Ads are eligible to appear on smartphones all around the world.

Below is a screenshot from a mobile phone, giving a couple of examples of what a user might see on their phone.


Transitioning To Google Product Listing Ads

GOOGLElogo_RGB-mdFebruary 13th 2013 was Google’s go live date for it’s new paid shopping results system. The system is based on its current Product Listing Ads and is to aid customer experience.

What this means however is that if you have free products listed inside Google then you will never to update your account to run paid campaigns, otherwise you will lose your products from within Google.

If you would like to read Google’s official page about this then please click here.

Thankfully, Google have made this process very easy, if you follow the next steps then you will be just fine:

1. Go to your Merchant Centre and inside you need to create a new AdWords account.

2. Decide on your budgets for spend and maximum CPC costs and set these inside your account.

3. Provide your billing information.

Google currently have promotional credit for a limited time, so it is worth finding out if you are eligible for this and applying.

Are Google Paid Ads A Good Thing?


After Google’s decision to turn off it’s free Product Listing Ads and turn it into a solely paid service, many advertisers have become concerned about how this will affect them.

Here at FeedProfessor though we believe that this is a blessing in disguise. Since October 2012, the paid ad listings have been active and therefore we already have a little insight into the affects it will have here in the UK.

If you think carefully about this, you will realise that actually this is a good way of ensuring the quality of the advertisements, if advertisers know that they will now be paying for what they post and will also remove some of the competition saturating the ads. This in reality brings about an improvement in the quality, accuracy and reliability of information that appears in Google Shopping searches.”

Kenshoo recently released data about the affects this has had and it has showed that the Product Listing Ads outweigh search ads over and over with the Click Through Rate being 73% higher in PLAs, conversion rates 35% higher, return on ad spend up 46% and the Cost Per Click being reduced by 36%.

We would therefore encourage you to start using the PLAs to your advantage as soon as possible.

Google Product Listing Ad Study

Last year Google decided to make its transition from free to paid listings. This caused a scramble among merchants causing them to increase their budgets for PLAs towards the end of 2012, below is some of the data to see how it has worked out.


Reading the above graphs and compiled data from Marin Software we can see that:

  • Towards the end of 2012 merchants budgets for Product Listing Advert budgets increased by 600%.
  • There was a 210% increase in search click through rates of Product Listing Ads.
  • There was a 60% increase in Impression share of Product Listing Ads.

From the information above and other data on the new Product Listing Ads system it would appear that they are definitely a route that should be seriously considered by all merchants, with this in mind, below are some things to remember when working with PLAs.

  • Keep your feeds fresh. Make sure that you don’t look at your feed once and then assume all will be ok for the rest of eternity. You must constantly update your feeds and refine them to meet your ever changing needs.
  • Always use high quality images that describe the image in as much detail as possible.
  • Keep up to date with your competitors and set your prices accordingly.

If you would like any advise on feeds then why not get in contact with us or leave a comment below.


New Google Shopping Program Policies


January 2013

There is no official announcement on the date from Google, however they have announced that they will be announcing new Google Shopping program policies sometime this month.

Please stay tuned to our blog to keep up to date on these announcements and other upcoming announcements from Google in relation to Product Listing Ads.