6 Techniques to Optimize Your AdWords Product Listing Ads That You Didn’t Know

White Shark Media

10 years ago

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Google Product Listing Ads, AKA (PLA), is a new type of advertising campaign that Google recently rolled out to complement the search and display campaigns.

Product listing ads campaigns are best for e-commerce websites. Their main advantage is that they show image ads of the actual products you are promoting, instead of just simple text ads or banner ads.

Start by Creating an Amazing Data Feed to Support Product Listing Ads

Before you create a PLA, you should take a good look at the products that are available for sale on your webpage. The point of doing this is to make sure you’re only including products worth spending your advertising budget on.

Once you have narrowed that list down, you can include them on your PLA’s data feed and upload them to your Merchant Center Account so they go live.

A clear example of products not worth advertising is low price items, because they don’t bring a high return on your investment.

Instead, you should focus your data feed on products that bring a better return.

Always take into consideration the approximate amount of clicks your campaign normally needs to receive before you get a conversion.

Include Your Bestsellers from Your Regular Search Campaigns to Optimize Product Listing Ads

If you’re already running a successful search campaign with conversion tracking properly installed and working, then you should definitely use that to your advantage.

By taking a look at the keywords that have historically converted well for your search campaign, you could get an idea as to what ad groups or additional auto targets you could create for your PLA campaigns as well.

If you run a search campaign for surfboards, you could see what models are selling best and use that data on your PLA campaign.

The advantages of using good selling products are that the PLA campaign can complement your search campaign for those items and increase your potential sales online.

Additionally, the advantage of creating separate ad groups and auto targets is the ability to control bids for those specific products.

Let’s say you have a high margin custom surf-board that provided you with a high return on investment. Given this, you could increase bids on this item as you could afford to pay for a higher Avg. CPC, since the potential return is also much higher.

On the other hand, if you have an economy line surf-board selling well, but on which you don’t want to pay a high CPC, then you could create a new ad group and auto target to control the ad group spent and budget.

Integrate Your Converting Search Campaign Keywords with Your Product Listing Ads

Now that we’re taking the time to look at your search campaigns, also remember to take a look at your search terms, especially the ones with conversions.

Keywords with conversions are useful, but looking at the actual search terms Google users typed on the search bar before finding your ad and converting could be even more important.

Depending on the match type you’re using on your search campaigns, the search term could be similar in the case of exact and phrase match, or could be very different if you’re using plain broad match.

Once you have found some pretty relevant search terms that had converted, you could use that data to create ad groups and additional auto targets for those products.

Add Negative Keywords to your PLA campaigns

As you must already know, PLA campaigns don’t require keywords to run, since the description lines and product information on the data feeds act as “keywords” for your PLA.

But even though you don’t have keywords, it doesn’t mean you should not take a look at your search terms.

Just go to the keyword tab and then click on details to find out what search terms people actually used before finding your PLA ads and clicking on them.

It’s important to identify search terms that are completely irrelevant to your PLA campaign, and then proceed to add them as campaign or ad group level negative keywords.

Just like in search campaign, adding negatives will prevent irrelevant searches, increase your CTR, and lower your overall cost per conversion. You will be doing all of these while saving your budget to drive in only relevant traffic to your PLA campaign.

Use Google Analytics data to improve your PLA

If you’re using Google Analytics and have installed e-commerce tracking, then you would be able to see actual sale figures from real sales that came as a result of your PLA campaign.

The great value of having this data available is that Analytics e-commerce tracking will provide you with the best-selling items if you have an ad group with over 2,000 items on your PLA’s data feed.

Once you have this data, you could decide to set some of these best-selling items with their own ad group to increase your bids and maximize potential sales.

Another option is to take underperforming items out of your current data feed to only utilize your advertising budget on items that are providing a good ROI for your business.

Create Different Ads to Perform A/B Testing

Similar to what you’ve been doing for search campaigns, you can create different ads for your PLA campaigns.

The format is different, as you will only have one description line but they work similarly to regular text ads.

As you can see on the image below, PLA ads are referred to as “Promotions”, and they will appear next to your image PLA ads.

You can also try offering free shipping and perhaps a coupon code, or special discount for online orders on some items. Let the ads run for a couple of weeks to gather enough data, and then determine which ones are more effective at generating conversions.

Remember that a good way to determine which ad is performing best is not just to take a look at total overall conversions in a given period of time, but, more importantly, to take a look at the ad’s conversion rate.

As a general rule, the ad with the highest conversion rate would be the most effective and the one you should leave active to increase your ROI.

Product Listing Ads Can Be Optimized – Forget about ‘Set-and-Forget’ Campaigns

PLA campaigns are still a relatively new Google product, but, in the case of e-commerce business, PLAs can be a powerful tool to help you boost your online sales.

Right now PLAs are becoming a new trend when it comes to online advertising, as image ads can be more relevant or enticing for potential clients to click on.

Also, it’s a good time to jump in as perhaps not all of your competitors are already using PLAs as part of their online marketing efforts, so having a PLA before they do will give you a head start and a competitive edge.

If you follow the tips provided in this guide you should be able to create, run and manage an effective PLA that in parallel with your search campaign could improve your ROI.

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