Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs)

Google Product Listing Ads are ads shown to customers based only on the query they enter into Google.  These ads, as opposed to regular Google ads, include more product information like an image of the product, its price, and the name of the seller.  No extra keywords or text is required.  These ads are uploaded to a company’s Google Merchant Center.  When a search matches ads you’ve uploaded, Google pulls the most relevant product information and displays it.

Paying for PLAs

There are two different ways businesses can pay to use Google Product Listing Ads.  It costs nothing to create and upload an ad to the Google Merchant Center.  Once the ad is live and is appearing in search results, businesses can select one of two different pricing plans.  The first, charges the company every time someone clicks on the ad.  This cost per click model can become expensive if people accidently click on the ad or click and don’t purchase anything.  However, the cost per click is fairly low.

The other payment model, which is available only to select participating businesses in the United States, is called the conversion-focused cost per acquisition percentage basis.  This method is a little more complicated.  Businesses are charged when a user clicks through to their website and then purchases something.  Google then receives a percentage based on that purchase.  It’s like paying Google a commission.  Businesses must have already started a cost per click plan and show that they have a good conversion rate before Google will offer them this option.

Businesses can set a maximum cost per month for their cost per click ad, and Google will stop pulling results from the Merchant Center when that maximum is reached.  This allows businesses to better control their marketing budget.

Why Use Google PLA?

There are a number of reasons why Google’s Product Listing Ads are great for businesses.  These ads are more engaging than standard Google ads, and they’re more focused on those who are looking to buy a product.  The way Google positions these ads in search results actually helps many businesses, too, because they’re positioned above those of their competitors and major chains.  For example, bookstores that use Google PLA will have their ads placed above results from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  This makes it more likely that a user will visit their online bookstore and make a purchase since it will be the first relevant shop listed.