Product Listing Ads (PLA) is one of the important features of Google Shopping program. PLA campaign is set on the Adwords and contains product targets, unlike the keywords based campaign.
In PLA, you have to link your product targets with Google Merchant Center (GMC).The product feed has many parameters. Product ID, image URL, price, availability, etc. are some of them.
Since PLA thrives on Pay-Per-Click (PPC) mechanism you have to follow best PLA practices to get resounding results.
What are they? Here are the 14 proven, best PLA practices.
- Identify the best seller products in your inventory
You have hundreds of products stacked up in your inventory.
Some are high value, some are low value. Some of them are fast-selling (the best sellers) while some move slowly.
You have to decide what to include and what to exclude from you product data feed. If you place zero or low priced products in PLA campaign you will likely to lose money.
You have listed one product at $4 with a profit margin of $0.75. On average 20 clicks happen on the product at the cost of $0.50 per click. You end up paying $10 for listing that product.
You lose money advertising a low or zero priced product.
Do your maths right before you list that product.
That is too taxing.
The best way forward is to go back to Google Analytics historical data of 6 months or more and track the star seller products.
Research and identify the bestselling products and create new ad groups for them.
- Do not create single Ad Group for your all your products
You have identified your best selling products that you want to list. Next create the Ad group. Do not commit the mistake that most merchants do – club all the products in one Ad group. This is because they select the default “All products” settings. Do not do that, because by doing this you have the same bid for every single product on your data feed.
- Setup different Ad Groups for a PLA
Create different, unique ad groups for your different bestselling items. If you have two different products create two different ad groups for them.
This enables you to set-up special price based ads and advertize unique features of the products. When you create a new ad group you give it a name, and use that name as a category of the product like Men Cross Country Running Shoes.
Add a promotional line to the product that highlights it unique characteristics. Or something like free shipping or discount coupons. Look above in two different screenshots the two different product Ads, both belong to Dell. One PLA is about Laptop and other one is about Laptop accessories.
- Use product targets to create auto target for the Ad groups
You need product target to run your PLA campaign. Create product target for active product feed to your Google Merchant Center account. Select as many product targets for any particular ad group.
The drawback is that you will have the same promotions and bids for each product, included on the ad group.
It is good practice to include products in your inventory that have almost same price and features. Try to lump such products together in one single AD group to get more effective PLA campaign results.
- Set-up a bid for the Ad Group
Once you create Ad group, you set-up a bid for that group. The bid price of the Ad group should depend on the price of the product targets chosen.
If the products in the group have a higher margin you can afford to bid higher. If the margin is low then the bid price should be low.
This practice gives you better control over the pricing of your different ad groups. Your PLA campaign gets more competitive without hurting profitability.
- Use negative keywords to your advantage
You do not need keywords for your Product Ad Listing like in keyword-based campaigns. Instead need, list of ‘Negative Keywords’ to protect your ads from irrelevant search and clicks, which erode profitability.
Such clicks cost you without getting any useful and converting traffic in return.
A strong list of negative keywords filters out useless traffic to your PLA. You narrow down your campaign to the right audience and improve its performance.
The examples of the negative keywords are ‘feedback’, ‘specification’, ‘hire’, etc.
Keep researching on the negative keywords and add them to your list. You will soon improve your campaign’s quality score and lower the CPC.
- Create the right product filters
You have many products and to better manage your budget for each line of products, you have to set up different PLA campaigns. Suppose your web store sells Laptops and its accessories. Then you will create one PLA campaign for Laptops and other for accessories.
In your Laptop PLA, you will exclude product ads of accessories. The accessories PLA will not have Laptop in it. If you fail to do that you will only get irrelevant clicks, high CPC cost, low campaign score and poor conversions.
So set the right product filters for your different PLA campaigns.
- Monitor your campaign closely and run it efficiently
The PLA rankings are always, close-fought. Hence, keep a tight vigil over your PLA campaign. There is somebody who will try to outbid you. Keep an eye on your PLA performance and be quick to react to any changes that can hurt your rankings.
There will some ads that get more response from users than others. Respond accordingly. Increase bids across, items that sell more with desired returns and reduce where performance is poor.
Keep this flexibility in mind during the PLA campaign. Doing so you will optimize your PLA budget towards good performing items.
- Tweak your content perfect
Pictures and text speak about your offerings. It is good practice to keep tweaking the content, now and then, if your product listings are seasonal. You can include the season or brand name inside the title to match up with search queries. Do not follow this strategy if your product listing is of the generic type and not affected by the season or festival.
- Track activity patterns and optimize accordingly
Keep track of your campaign metrics. There may be a day in a week or an hour in a day where your PLA campaign appears to dive down or shoot up. You can set up ad scheduler and bid modifier accordingly and optimize the campaign further.
- Keep your prices competitive
Competitive pricing creates its own traffic conversion funnel.
Google puts you into direct competition with others who sell similar product by listing the prices. Higher prices will drive away traffic. So keep you price competitive to keep your PLA campaign running and performing well.
- Collect and create a bank of user reviews.
Buyers trust a product with higher star ratings more than the product with lesser one. So collect user rating for your product listing. In price-tie, your higher star ratings and greater numbers of positive reviews will tip the scales in your favor.
- Create a catchall target
Product feeds are usually large. Any modification in the product classifications can render product(s) unsearchable to the search queries. This happens when there is no Catchall target within the PLA campaign.
Make it a practice to include catchall target within your campaign so that Google is able to match the search queries relevant to your products in your feed.
- Constantly monitor queries that are being matched to targets
You can see which search queries are matched to your PLA. Add more keywords to your ‘ negative keyword’ list and include exact labels to your product Ads.
All this helps you to optimize your PLA according to the trending search queries. In this way, you remain ahead in the search results
Use the all the above best practices to your advantage and turn your PLA campaign into a money spinner machine for your business.