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.