Google is continuing to improve the experience it provides its end users in all its various fronts, including ecommerce. For merchants and marketers, one of the most recent advances of note is the new Product Listing Ads on Google. In a nutshell, they are display type ads that not bid-based like text ads on AdWords, they show up on Google ad networks, and they rely on demand-side platforms (DSPs).
Product Listing Ads on Google
Google defines Product Listing Ads as AdWords ads with rich product info. Simple enough at first glance, but you need to have a finer understanding of the inner workings of this new development to effectively leverage its usefulness.
Product Listing Ads are basically ads that show more than just the double lines of text on typical AdWords textual ads; they include product images, merchant names, and item pricing. Like AdWords text ads, they show on relevant search queries in Google Search or any other related services (such as Google Images), with one major difference: relevance is not defined by keyword targeting and thus no keyword bidding will occur.
These Product Listing Ads will also be a prominent feature of the new Google Shopping, where Google Product Search will soon be replaced by a “purely commercial model” dependent on Product Listing Ads.
As mentioned earlier, these Product Listing Ads will occupy space in search results in relevant Google services and products, though they will not be replacing text ads. They will merely be reinforcing them, in a way, as Google stated they wanted to offer their end users more ecommerce options.
Product Listing Ads Versus Text Ads
Aside from rich product information like images, titles, and pricing, the other main different between Product Listing Ads and Text ads is the basis of relevance. Text ads on AdWords are heavily based on keyword bidding, while Product Listing Ads will rely on attributes that you define within your Google Merchant Center feed. Define your product targets there and Google will do the rest.
Of course, another major difference is that Product Listing Ads will rely more on DSPs, centralized platforms that allow advertising across multiple exchanges. Some of the most popular DSPs include Lucid Media, Invite Media, and of course, Merchant Center, though Google’s Merchant Center works mainly for Google-related exchanges.
So basically, just create a Merchant Center account or use your existing one and merge it to your AdWords account, then create Product Listing campaigns with defined product targets (indicating which products you wish to appear along with your text ads). Then specify in your AdWords Ad Extensions menu that you wish to extend your ads to show relevant product listings from Google Merchant Center (after this step, you can add specific product targets). Google decides which products to show, though you can use negative keywords to indicate which ones you explicitly do NOT want to show per campaign.
Google has comprehensive help and support files for more information on how to get on the program. In the meantime, it’s time to strategize how these new rich product listings can benefit your AdWords campaigns.