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.