Do you sell direct to consumers online? Product listing ads may boost return on ad spend.
In October of 2012 Google Shopping transitioned from being a free service for online retailers to a paid model incorporated into Adwords. So what does this mean for adwords advertisers? In a nutshell product listing ads allow you to get images of your product directly on Google’s search results pages. Even better, these ads typically don’t cost more than traditional text ads and often cost LESS!
How well do they work?
We currently have three advertisers with us that have lower CPA’s on product listing ads than on their brand search! Every product is different so this may not translate to your site/product but its definitely worth a look.
Example Product Listing Ads
Getting Product Listings Live
First off, getting PLA’s live is NOT easy. Google requires advertisers to jump through hoops to integrate with their system. To get going you will need:
- an Adwords Account in good standing
- a Google Merchant Center account
- a Shopping Cart
- an SSL Certificate
- terms of service
- And the tricky part – An XML, TSV or CSV product datafeed that conforms to Google’s guidelines
One note of caution: If you sell hundreds or thousands of products on your online store – chances are one of these products will be forbidden from advertising on Adwords. Take great care to exclude controversial items for sale from your datafeed or you could see your account banned.
The latest AdWords data from Mountain View seems to point to disturbing fact that Google is fudging cost/conversion stats.
Adwords replied to the apparent distortion by saying that it “actually doesn’t count cost generated by clicks where we can’t track the cookies”.
Still could trusting Google AdWord’s “Cost/Conv” could be costing you…definitely something worth looking into.
Not sure if this is the first time Google has tested this or not with the new SERP layout but we recently noticed them testing the bing/yahoo style layout of ads on the top and bottom of the page. You can view a screenshot here:
For a while now webmasters have wondered why PPC spending generally mirrored a slight bump in rankings. Mounting evidence suggests Google is following closely the visitors to your site (think google toolbar, google analytics, doubleclick etc). As a result, buying traffic via pay per click can have an impact on organic rankings albeit indirectly.
PPC spending generally mirrors a slight bump in rankings
Over the years I’ve read countless webmasterworld/digital point threads questioning whether buying adwords contributed to organic search engine ranking success. I was skeptical that Google would so blatantly provide a pay for play way for website owners to buy their way to the top. Indeed it would be a disservice to their clients if their was a direct correlation between the two as smaller, interesting competitors in the search space would be crowded out by multinational corporations. An indirect, traffic-related metric however makes sense to this SEO as organic traffic is at least as good an indicator of noteworthiness as an editorially given third-party link. So is Google juicing adwords advertisers?
In November of 2008, QuadsZilla of SeoBlackHat stumbled onto an interesting correlation between bounce rate and Google traffic. In January of this year Rae Hoffman (aka sugarrae) wrote an interesting case study that confirms something most of us in the search game have believed for a while: Google is paying attention to traffic as a trust factor. This should come as no surprise to search engine marketers. Google rose to prominence by incorporating third party links into its algorithm. With the recent threat posed by sites like twitter and friendfeed – and their ability to shake up the interwebs with the stream of real time data provided by their userbase – it has become necessary for Google to augment their algorithm.
Relying solely on links is what causes Google to be monolithic and slow in noticing new trends. Indexing the web every second isn’t feasible – despite Larry Page’s recent musings. Traffic on the other hand is extremely easy for Google to gauge. Google can track visitors from a variety of platforms: Google Analytics, the Google Toolbar, DoubleClick, Adwords and more. While Google doesn’t have much in terms of real time offerings at the moment – it does have the tools in place to utilize traffic volume as a component of their search engine algorithm. Don’t believe me? Try buying keywords to pages that have a decent bounce rate, time on site etc. Follow your keyword rankings and find out for your self.
(PS After reading this think how using a 3rd party hosted ppc management company like Reach Local becomes less and less attractive as Google pays more and more attention to traffic)