If you’ve ever looked up a certain product on Google – say, a coffee maker or a video game console, or a new mouse – then you may have noticed that a huge portion of the top listings on Google are highlighted Sponsored Ads – specifically, image and info-rich Product Listing Ads (also known as PLAs).
These PLAs are different from your regular AdWords sponsored ads – text-only ads, that is – in that they’re geared to take the person looking for a product immediately onto the product’s page, and off to the point where they get the product sold. Done and done. And more significantly – they’re doing a better job of it than anything else.
Here’s Where They Can Hurt You
The first significant fact is that PLAs take a huge amount of space on Google’s top page for product searches. The second significant fact is that they’ve got pictures in them –those draw in clicks and views more than simple blue-and-grey text. And finally, since they explicitly give people an easy and simple way to nab an item straight off of Google’s search results, most people who are looking for a product with the intent to buy it, will go for the PLAs. So, PLAs are attracting 60 to 70 percent of clicks in searches because:
- They’re big;
- They feature images;
- They provide people with an easy way to immediately buy something.
That leaves you and your organic, non-sponsored search results with the people who are still unsure about what to buy, or people who are simply looking for reviews, feature articles, or an expert opinion on coffee machines, computer mice, or whatever other product they’re searching for.
Why Did Google Do This?
From Google’s point-of-view, product-listing ads are amazing. Firstly, they work. Secondly, they work better than Amazon. And thirdly, they get us to change up the way we pay for clicks – potentially even leading us to paying more to get the right ads going.
Google’s competition with Amazon is an important point to highlight. As the Business Insider points out, Google’s market share for retail marketer’s paid-search campaigns increased by roughly a percentage point within a single quarter, while Google’s former CEO Larry Page himself said shortly after PLAs were unveiled, that “we’ve seen tremendous uptake from merchants and from users.”
As research firm RKG announced, PLAs drove 28 percent of Google’s non-brand paid search clicks in the final quarter of 2012. And things have been growing since.
What Does That Mean For You?
While it’s nice to know how PLAs impact organic search optimization for product searches, this information does have a silver lining – with it, you can strategically allocate your resources and make a lot more out of your marketing buck.
The key is to know at what stages of shopping you should target a customer. If you’re a product or service provider, your best bet is to look for affordable SEO services in Los Angeles– like those provided by SeoTuners – in order to promote your company and business’ name as a premier provider of product information and expertise. And when it comes to getting your product sold, transferring most of your PPC AdWords budget into Google’s PLAs is a wise decision.