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.
Here at Web-Op we have many conversations about improving landing pages for different campaigns we are managing. There is nothing we love more than seeing conversion rates increase. We often discuss the design, call to action, and message of the page. We review the page to ensure the message has clarity, rewrite the copy to focus on benefits rather than features, and add security registrations to make visitors feel nice and safe. Often, however, the real culprit for low conversion rates is lack of scent.
The ad a visitor clicks on needs to smell like the landing page you direct them to. Lack of scent can create confused visitors – and confused visitors rarely do what we want them to do.
So what makes good scent?
- Ad copy needs to match the landing page copy. Try to have the main heading of the page as close to the main heading of the ad as possible. The rest of the copy of the landing page should focus on a single purpose: the message of the ad copy.
- Ad design needs to match the design of the page.
If your ad copy and design match up you are maintaining scent.
Now, I know what you are thinking. “I have a lot of different ads in my campaign.” You have a couple of options here. You can create a new page for each ad or you can create one page that shows different messages for each ad by loading content dynamically using a PHP query string.
Here is a little piece of code Ryan Underdown has used recently to capture the right headline.
This will work with a url like www.website.com/?headline=This+Is+A+Headline
$headline = $_GET[“headline”];
$headline = str_replace(‘+’, ‘ ‘, $headline);
So if you are trying to increase conversion rate make sure you maintain scent.
Google reported earnings that beat the street yesterday, yet some are are pointing to lower CPC’s with a cautionary tone. As it turns out CPC’s are down about 8% year over year. I expect that to fall further – yet im still bullish on Google and so is everyone else apparently:
So Why Are CPC’s Down?
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.
Two scriptlets lifted from Jack – the first will randomly forward each visit to a split test variant if there is a “gclid” variable occurring in the URL query string. (e.g. http://www.domain.com/?gclid=2234823958729385 ). This is the standard way Google passes visitors to a site via adwords.
This second little scriptlet first checks for the existence of a cookie variable “BTDT”. If it doesnt find BTDT in any cookie contents it sets the cookie, checks to see if the visitor arrived from adwords and then forwards the visitor to a random split test variant. If its not an adwords visitor it does nothing. If it does find a cookie it does nothing.