Using Google PLAs? It’s time to get granular

I hate the word granular. I spend half my life tweaking and fiddling with PPC campaigns across different platforms.

The word granular invariably means spending even more time setting up campaigns. The problem is, the only way to achieve, monitor and maintain success in PPC is by going granular. The same holds true for Google Product Listing Ads.

I first went granular with my bog standard AdWords search network text ads soon after starting out in PPC. I went granular with my Product Listing Ads at a much later stage however.

When I first setup Product Listing Ads (PLAs) I had to do so with the assistance of the official Google documentation and a few third party guides. It’s all a bit fiddly.

Most of these guides seemed to encourage large ad groups for one reason or another. Against my better judgement I just went along with it, wasting thousands of pounds in the process.

CPCs for Google Shopping ads have increased 53% year-on-year: report

The cost per click (CPC) of Google’s Product Listing Ads (PLAs) has increased by 53% year-on-year, reaching an all time high in June as the search engine finally completed the transition of shopping results to a commercial model.

Though PLAs are still cheaper than standard text paid search ads, it shows that Google has successfully managed to cause a massive increase in CPCs by changing how the ad formats work.

In fact, PLA CPCs have increased by 34% since January alone and costs are likely to continue rising despite a slight drop off in July, which is likely as a result of seasonality.

Google Product Listing Ads making the move to Europe

The arrival of Google Product Listing Ads (PLA) in the UK is a mixed blessing for the advertising world.  

While retailers will no longer benefit from the free traffic they were receiving from Google product search, it gives advertisers more granular control over product listings, bids and traffic, allowing them to work out what’s going where and when, and distribute budget as necessary.

Google Product Listing ads deliver higher CTR than search ads

Two new search studies have found that Google’s Product Listing Ads (PLA) far outperform standard text ads in terms of CTR and CPC.

PLAs appear in the top right of search results and feature additional product information such as an image and price.

They recently became more important as the search giant has said that US retailers will only appear in Google Shopping results if they are also paying for PLAs. The same model will be rolled out in Europe early next year.

If you want to read more information on how it all works, read our blog post on how to optimise products for Google Shopping and Product Listing Ads.