Attention all you Ecommerce folks – the latest offering from Google AdWords should have you very excited. Though still in beta (currently available to select advertisers only), Google’s Product Listing Ads will be able help you get more bang for your PPC buck by integrating product listings from your Google Merchant center directly into an AdWords text ad on Google.com. The process is fairly simple, saving advertisers time in set up, and runs on a CPA (cost per acquisition) basis – not typical CPC – so you only pay Google when they deliver a sale. No word on a full release, but we’d bet that it will be available to all advertisers in the next couple of months.
How does it work?
When a searcher performs a query on Google, AdWords ads will be displayed to best correlate to that query. Say for example, you are searching for some flashy new rain boots (being in Portland, having a fashionable pair of rain boots is, sadly but kind of awesomely, pretty much a necessity).
Google will show ads from AdWords advertisers that are bidding on the word “rain boots”. This is the typical AdWords text ad.
Now, with Product Listing Ads, Google is also displaying ads that are generated from Google Merchant Center listings.
The Google Merchant Center – formerly Google Base – is where online stores can (and should because it’s free!) submit a feed of their store inventory including images, product page URLs, descriptions, prices and shipping information. Until now, products that were listed in the Google Merchant Center could be found by going to Google Product Search (“Shopping”) and were also displayed alongside Google’s organic results.
If an AdWords advertiser has a Google Merchant Account, the two accounts will be able to be linked to take advantage of Product Listing Ads. When the accounts are linked, Google is then able to match your business to searcher’s queries and show ads based on either the traditional AdWords ads you have configured or the new Product Listing Ads from your Merchant Account feed.
Going back to our search for those fabulous rain boots, we see that Google is also displaying ads that contain a product image, pricing information and product description. These are being pulled from the advertiser’s Google Merchant Accounts.
4 Reasons you should be excited about Product Listing Ads
- Save time. If you have a lot of products on your site, this can make running PPC for those products much less time consuming. Since Product Listing Ads pull their contents directly from your Merchant Feed, you don’t necessarily have to write individual text ads for every product, worry about keeping prices updated, etc. – it’s taken care of directly from your feed. Time will tell, however, if these Product Listing Ads are as effective at generating clicks and sales as typical AdWords text ads are.
- More qualified visitors. By having a product image and price integrated into the ads, the searcher may know better what they are getting when they versus a regular text ad which may not be as descriptive.
- It’s easy. If you already have a Merchant Center Account, it’s just about as easy as linking this to your AdWords Account to get ads running for every single unique product in your merchant feed. Remember, it’s still in beta, but keep your eyes peeled for a full release announcement.
- Get more exposure. If you don’t have a Merchant Center Account, it’s time to get one! Its an easy (and did I mention FREE) way to get your product listings fed directly into Google. This will benefit you not only in AdWords, but also in Google Product Search.
- Pay only for results. Right now, the Product Listings Ads are run on a cost-per-acquisition (CPA) basis – so you only pay Google when they drive you a sale. Your Merchant Feed results that appear in Google Product Search will still be 100% free – no charges for clicks or sales.
Even if you don’t currently have access to the Product Listing Ads beta, consider this a friendly nudge to get your products listed on the Google Merchant Center. That way, when you have access to Product Listing Ads, you will be ready to roll.