Creating Synergies between PLAs and Traditional Search Ads

Post by Jesse Stepniewski, Senior Media Manager

Product Listing Ads (PLAs) have become a major piece of the digital marketing mix. These ads appear on Google’s search engine results page (SERP) and are triggered from a relevant search query, similar to a paid search ad. PLAs are a popular ad choice because they are a product feed created and provided by the advertiser.

These rich ads allow advertisers to show a picture, price and promotion or special offer associated with a given product. While text ads can only include so much information due to character restrictions, PLAs provide a compelling product offer right on the SERP, alongside any text ads that are being served.


Frequent Questions: PLAs & Traditional Search Ads

As PLAs continue to grow in popularity, many questions arise around how to manage an overall search program:

  • How much budget does an advertiser allocate to PLAs versus traditional text ads?
  • Should an advertiser focus on certain categories with PLAs and others with text ads?
  • Should advertisers be simply looking at last click attribution performance to make these decisions?

These are all valid questions to address before mapping out a search strategy. Yet, one question that many marketers do not explore is the synergistic effects of showing both a text and a product listing ad at the same time.

Benefits of Double Serving

According to Google, “consumers who are exposed to a brand’s text ads and PLAs are much more likely to engage with that brand and complete more valuable actions than those who see only one ad.” In fact, the consumer is 90% more likely to visit the advertiser’s website.

Of course one could play devil’s advocate and say that more ads in the marketplace will lead to more visits, thus increase marketing costs. However, since both text ads and PLAs are charged based on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis as opposed to per-impression, it does not cost brands anything extra to serve both ads and effectively take up more space on the SERP.

Managing search with a fluid budget that allows the market to dictate budget allocation instead of using two predetermined budgets will allow advertisers to continually serve both ad types until their total budget is depleted (as opposed to going dark on either method when its individual budget runs out).

Driving the Sale Home

Getting the consumer to a brand’s website is only half the battle.  Advertisers also want consumers to complete specific actions once on-site. People exposed to both ad types are more likely to take valuable actions such as visit a product page (+77%) and then add a product to their cart (+73%).

Perhaps the most impressive statistic is in regards to the primary goal of most marketing campaigns; consumers exposed to both ad types are 83% more likely to make a purchase than if they had only been served a text ad. Considering advertisers do not need to spend any extra for a given search query and  are not competing against themselves and raising CPCs like in other SERP saturation techniques, the benefits are pretty substantial.

In the end, even if the customer does not visit a brand’s website and make a purchase, the advertiser has successfully completed a brand awareness play.  That consumer is now 75% more likely to search for the brand in the future.

For more information about Product Listing Ads, please contact your performance account team today.

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