Google Tests New Design With 16 Product Listing Ads; Which Brands Benefit Most?

Google may be testing a new way to display Product Listing Ads (PLA) by allowing users to expand the results from a few products to many, right in the search results. This feature was spotted by the Rimm-Kaufman Group.

Here's what a standard PLA can look like:

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Image Credit: RKG

RKG pointed out that when clicking on the newly featured arrow at the bottom of the PLA area, it expanded the results from five products to 16.

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Image Credit: RKG

This presents a huge opportunity for advertisers taking advantage of PLAs. But who will win?

In an attempt to better understand PLA performance, AdGooroo conducted a study, citing that Google reports make it difficult for advertisers to monitor ad position or total PLA impressions.

So from March 2013 to May 2013, AdGooroo uncovered the Top 20 brands for U.S.-based PLAs from ad impressions. Not surprisingly, the big-name brands were aggressively targeting potential shoppers through PLAs with Walmart holding the No. 1 position, according to the study.

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AdGooroo estimated in the three-month study that PLAs made up nearly 6 percent of all AdWords PPC ad impressions. Of the Top 20 brands AdGooroo examined, it found some were more dedicated to PLAs than others.

"Eight of the Top 20 advertisers actually had more PLA impressions than text ad impressions during the period. Most of these PLA devotees are smaller, relative newcomers like Etsy and soap.com, suggesting that PLAs may be a viable alternative to text ads for smaller players to gain visibility and clicks. At the same time, two large, traditional retail brands, Staples and Toys R Us, also managed to display more PLA than traditional PPC text ads."

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AdGoroo drilled down further by showing what percentage of total AdWords ads were PLAs by category:

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If you're new to PLAs and interested in learning more, check out this article on how to maximize return with PLAs.

About the author

Jessica Lee is a marketer specializing in web content strategy and B2B/B2C writing. Since 2005, Jessica has been in the business of content and communications, with the past several years focused on the web marketing space.

Prior to launching her consulting business, bizbuzzcontent, Jessica was responsible for content strategy, development and marketing for Bruce Clay Inc. – a global SEO firm, where she served small businesses and Fortune 500 clients. Jessica's background also includes positions in traditional marketing, communications, broadcasting and publishing.

Jessica has a bachelor's in communications and public relations from San Diego State University. She also contributed to the book “Search Engine Optimization All-in-One For Dummies” 2nd edition.