Untapped Potential in Paid Media: Play Those PLAs


by Maggie Siddons

It’s Friday and you are quite ready for the weekend, a glass of Pinot, and some much needed downtime. Your zeal for the work week has winded down to just about zero and you’d rather run a marathon than prepare yourself for another meeting. This means procrastination. Ah, yes the lovely and entrancing mantra of putting important deliverables to the side while you do something completely irrelevant, but at this point exponentially more interesting.

Today it’s shopping. You go to Google and type in Hunter Rain Boots: you’ve been eyeing these beauties for a while but haven’t quite made the jump from your ratty, yet charming Target rubber boots. And then you realize, Google has once again infiltrated your mind and your search habits brought to you by product listing ads. Multiple vendors are advertising Hunter Rain Boots on Google and they turn up in your search just like they would on Amazon or any other eCommerce retailer. Suddenly, it’s ridiculously easy for you click and buy – just like that. You won’t even have the time to second guess your decision: and this is why it is the perfect marketing tool.

This is a vast untapped resource in paid media. Many brands and businesses have only scratched the surface of it’s potential. Retailers are still relying on basic forms of search engine marketing like banners and text ads: which is all well and good but if you’re overlooking PLA’s or “product listing ads” than you’re probably losing a sizeable amount of conversions.

According to Wordstream, “PLAs make it super-easy for people at the end of the funnel to go ahead and convert, because the ads show searchers exactly what they want and take them right to an e-commerce landing page so they can buy.” (How Product Listing Ads Are Stealing Your Conversions) Not only that, but managing these campaigns doesn’t involve keywords – just product related data making it an easy switch for any marketer. (Helpful tip: ensure your product feed is optimized for better control over PLA bidding and placement).

One of the respondents to the 2013 State of Search Marketing Report (SEMPO) stated, “Product Listing Ads (PLAs) – search queries are becoming more long-tail and PLAs have the opportunity to provide the customer with a better experience. Search marketers should be putting more than ~20-30% into PLAs.”

So the next time you search for a product you’ve been looking to purchase, recognize these ads and remember how incredibly valuable they are to you as consumer and as a marketer.


About Search Discovery

Search Discovery is a digital intelligence company that empowers organizations to make better, dynamic and transformative business decisions. We're focused on delivering results for our clients through digital analytics, SEO, digital media, and technology.


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