In mid-2012 Google announced a new initiative to improve their shopping experience, so that shoppers (your customers) can easily research purchases, compare different products, their features and prices and then connect directly with merchants (you) to make their purchase.

As part of this new initiative, called Google Shopping, they have transitioned Google Product Search in the US to a commercial model built on Product Listing Ads. This transition was completed on 17 October 2012.

In the United Kingdom, Google will launch Google Shopping and Google Product Search will be discontinued. The transition of Google Shopping to a commercial experience will be complete in these by the end of Q2 2013.

Google believe that having a commercial relationship with merchants will encourage them to keep their product information fresh and up to date. Higher quality data – whether it’s accurate prices, the latest offers or product availability – should mean better shopping results for customers, which in turn should create higher quality traffic for merchants.

Organic web results on Google will not be affected by this transition.

So how does this affect me?

So if all of this is changing what do I need to do. What is changing to my existing Merchant Centre account and Product Search data feeds?

Your product feeds will continue to be uploaded through the Google Merchant Centre.

Advertisers who are using the Product Ads feed specification will need to bring their feeds into compliance with the new Google Shopping feed requirements.

In addition to an update to the international feed specifications, Google have also released a new set of Google Shopping program policies.

What is a Product Listing Advert and how do I start submitting them?

Product Listing Ads are adverts that include rich product information, such as product image, price and merchant name.

Whenever a user enters a search query on relevant to an item you are trying to sell, Google will automatically show the most relevant products along with the associated image, price and product name.

Product information for Product Listing Ads is submitted through data feeds managed through the Google Merchant Centre.

Create stand-alone shopping ads for your products

Product Listing Adverts are a unique advert format that allows you to include specific product information like an image, title, price, promotional message, and your store or business name. Product Listing Adverts appear in their own box on Google Search, separate from text ads.

With this format, you can manage your adverts and campaign in AdWords, while you’ll manage your product information through a Google Merchant Centre (Merchant Centre) account.

Benefits of Product Listing Ads

  • More traffic and leads: Many businesses experience significantly higher clickthrough rates (CTR) with Product Listing Ads compared to text ads shown in the same location for Google Shopping searches.
  • Better qualified leads: As a merchant, you can increase the quality of your leads by featuring product information directly in your ads to help shoppers make informed purchase decisions. This makes shoppers more likely to complete a purchase on your site.
  • Easy management: With product targeting, you won’t need to use keywords. Based on the product targets you set up, your Product Listing Ads are matched with the most relevant searches using information you provide in your Merchant Centre account.
  • Broader reach: More than one of your Product Listing Ads can appear for a given customer search, and if relevant, a Product Listing Ad and a text ad can also appear at the same time. This means your reach with shoppers for a single search could double.

How Product Listing Ads work

Product Listing Ads use your existing Merchant Centre product feed to decide how and where to show your ads, instead of keywords. Google will use the information in this product feed when they show your listings that are relevant to a customer’s search on Google Search and Google Shopping, so they recommend you always keep your product feed up-to-date. You’ll also set up product targets to control which products are shown with your ads for a given campaign.

Where and how Product Listing Ads appear

Product Listing Ads will show a set of relevant products for a given search. The products appear with additional information like a product image, price, and the merchant name, without the need for you to create unique ads for each product you sell. These ads may appear on Google Search and Google Shopping, which are part of the Search Network. Their appearance may change as Google experiment with the best display options for this format.

Product Listing Ads appear in their own box on Google Search, separate from text ads. They may appear at the same time as text ads, so that a single Google Search results page could show both Product Listing Ads and text ads.

How much Product Listing Ads cost

Google charge for clicks on your Product Listings Ads on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis. Since Product Listing Ads don’t use keywords, you’ll use attributes in your Merchant Centre product feed to define product targets. Then, you’ll set maximum cost-per-click (CPC) bids for your product targets using these attributes. Just like how bidding works for AdWords ad formats, you’ll only pay the minimum amount necessary to beat the ad position below yours and you’ll often pay less than your maximum bid.

Find out More

If you like to find out more about how Product Listings Adverts can benefit your business just get in touch with Clarke Website Design Ltd and we talk you through it.