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.