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Summer Prep for a Very Merry PLA Christmas

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Hot dogs roasting on an open fire, sunburns nipping at your nose... Not quite the holiday song you're used to. But as retailers know all too well, it's never too early start planning for the holidays.

And with the recent changes and expansion of Google's Product Listing Ads (PLA) program, it's never too early to start preparing so you can merchandise your inventory like a rock star this holiday season. Here's a calendar that will help you get ready.

August: Get Your Reindeer in a Row

  • Clean up your Google Merchant Center feed. Fix all errors and warnings that you've been getting.
  • Lock any vendor decisions around supporting this program.
  • Test and confirm that all of your image and sitelinks work as expected.
  • Ensure that price and inventory in your feed updates as frequently as they do on your site.
  • Run Google Promotions Feed against your back to school items.

September: Conduct Your Tests Before the Rush

  • Add multiple images into the feed to conduct image tests. Stand out from the competition.
  • Align your titles and descriptions with user intent. Titles are not the place for SKU numbers, slashes, parentheses, etc.
  • Test.
  • Institute common naming for key attributes like brand, color, and sizes.
  • Run Google Promotions Feed against your back to school items.

October: Optimize for Goodness Sake!

  • Update campaign structures to increase granularity and drive more efficient bidding.
  • Review a year of PLA SQRs to get all relevant negatives into campaign.
  • Explore Bing Product Ads as a new and potentially lucrative shopping channel.
  • Use recent PLA results to drive other channel strategies, including SEO product titles and SEM creative.

November: Down to the Wire

  • Update all product target bids based on past performance.
  • Determine how much to spend on PLA as a share of your overall budget.
  • Implement promotional text for every single product target in campaign.
  • Choose products that you want to show on critical queries and implement the bidding and negative strategies to help them serve.
  • Implement promotions feed for all of your Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers.

December: It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, and You're Ready to Rock!

  • Increase the frequency of your feed updates to Google Merchant Center.
  • Monitor bids and budgets daily to ensure you are online in all key product categories.
  • Watch competitor prices and copy on key queries carefully. Attempt to stand out where possible.
  • Consistently update promotional messages based on performance.

January: You Made It! Time to Breathe

Congrats! You just dominated the holidays for this critical channel. Take some time to analyze and reflect on your PLA program as a whole. It's never too early to start planning for next Christmas!


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