<< by on June 12th, 2013
For Ecommerce companies, PLAs, or Product Listing Ads, are essential if you are utilizing paid search efforts. Why not work smarter and not harder when trying to get the most relevant products in front of searchers who are most likely to result in a purchase, helping you improve purchase volume more cost-effectively. The four panelists in this information-packed session provide help when preparing, managing, and improving PLA efforts.
Ethan Batraski, VP, Product & Experience, Adchemy (@ethanjb)
Most PLA programs are typically time consuming, take a lot of work, and aren’t as efficient as they could be. So how can you go from a soap box racer to a formula one racer?
The PLA ecosystem is going through a maturity phase, where advertisers need to be smarter to compete with the growing arena. You need simplicity, control and the right campaign structure to be effective. Most advertisers have limited product coverage, multiple products per product target, and have unoptimized product feeds, which all create a limited reach and the potential for the wrong products showing. Among Ethan’s recommendations were the following:
- Merchant Feed: You want a comprehensive, complete, enriched, and optimized feed to be most effective
- Product Targets: You want your product targets to be the most granular level you want data reported. This also helps properly customize your promotional copy and more accurately show the correct products.
- Bidding: With PLAs, the more you bid, the more queries your products are exposed to.
Katherine Janca, Search Director, Mediacom
Katherine of Meidacom prepares us to rock it in Q4 with some tips about feed set- up, testing efforts, and a few extras to round things out.
Feed initial setup & requirements
Find and download your inventory management system, then be sure to format to the Google Merchant Center then upload to Google. You can fill gaps in house either manually or through macros, or even utilize partners like Channel Intelligence, Mercent, or Channel Advisor.
ABT (Always Be Testing)
Advertiser Name: Test your advertiser name to be sure it fits; 16 characters seems to be the cut off. Shorten it if your brand is too long to be read in your PLA.
Images: Be sure your images fit the query searched. If someone searches for a tablet, don’t show a tablet on a docking station that isn’t instantly recognizable as a tablet.
Title: Your title should be coherent and fall into AdWords policies, but you should continually test to see what works best. Try shorter titles so the whole thing is visible, it tends to increase click-through-rates.
Further Food For Thought
Description: While it’s not necessary to show PLAs, a description should still be considered especially when utilizing Google Shopping. You should include a description anyhow simply for users on your product page on your site so they can learn more to help decide whether to buy or not.
Promotional Text: You can add additional text for things like branding phrasing, coupon codes, etc.
Micah Heath, Head of Research & Development, TQE Marketing (@micaheath)
Micah talks about how to manage PLAs in the world of lacking information from Google.
Search Query Reports: These aren’t only for search text ads. This will help you find new terms to add and cut out irrelevant terms through negative keywords. You can even implement negative keyword sculpting just like search network text ad campaigns to ensure the right products show.
CTR: Utilize CTR reports to identify low CTR ad groups and make adjustments to increase, and look at high CTR ad groups to identify competitive advantages to further improve.
Conversion Rates: This can help you identify outliers and trends, helping predict and adapt for future efforts. Low conversion rates could point out issues with your site or product feed, whether it’s a poor process or there’s missing information.
Search Funnel Metrics: Figure out your click assisted conversions to help determine overall contribution.
Katie Cammilleri, Comparison Shopping Program Mgr, REI
Katie shares REI’s PLA evolution including hits, misses, learnings, etc. The keys to their initial success include the following:
- Activate all products target
- Identify top sellers and high spenders
- Implement product target strategy
After those efforts their ROAS increased over 250%.
One thing Katie says they focused on was Search Query Reports. Those reports really tell the story of what people are searching, and what you are showing for those queries. If you can get a handle on that and get it sorted out through adjustments and better organization and customized messaging, you’ll see a world of difference.