Google recently announced that their product search program will be replaced by Google shopping program. After the change (Fall 2012), Google merchant center products will not be displayed for FREE on the search results page. Google shopping will be a paid inclusion program like Google Adwords, which will be managed through Adwords by creating product listing ad (PLA) campaigns. These product listing ads will not compete with the Google text/display ads and will be displayed in a separate area clearly marked as shopping results (shown below).
Transitioning to Google Shopping
• If you have a merchant center/Google shopping account and you are getting traffic and conversions from this account, it is a good idea to create a PLA campaign. You can create the campaign through your merchant center account or from Adwords. Google is giving a limited time incentive to all advertisers who create PLA campaigns before August 15th, 2012. See details here.
• If you already have a PLA campaign in adwords, you don’t have to create a new campaign. Once you stop getting free traffic, you may have to increase your budget to get more traffic from this campaign.
• Cost per clicks for PLA campaigns can increase as more merchant center advertisers start creating these campaigns. Monitor your bids and budgets so your ads will continue to show.
PLA campaign Optimization tips
Here are a few tips for optimizing your PLA campaigns:
• Display products with high order value or high conversion rates. Use the product exclusion column in the shopping data feed to exclude or include products.
• Create different adgroups for different product categories so you can determine which categories are profitable.
• Create search friendly product names and categories because Google displays your product ads based on relevance to user’s search query and your bid price (PLA campaigns are not keyword-targeted).
• Add negative keywords to your PLA campaign to stop displaying your ads for irrelevant queries.
• Solicit genuine reviews from your customers over time so your rating will be displayed in your PLA listing, which can help increase your click through rates.
• You can opt into the Google trusted stores program so your ads will display a trusted stores badge, which can set your ad apart from your competitors.
Are you noticing any drop in your free google product search traffic yet? Do you have any other ideas for optimizing your PLA campaigns? Please let us know by leaving a comment below!