As Product Listing Ads (PLAs) take up more real estate on the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP), simultaneously reducing the number of text ads appearing on a SERP, controlling which products from a feed appear for which queries becomes ever more important. Text ads are matched to queries in a relatively straightforward process, and while text ads for individual products can be matched to as many queries as the search marketer considers worthwhile, PLAs typically appear for only one set of queries per product, matched mostly to the product’s title in the product feed.
PLAs Can Be Tricky For Small Brands
Brands who have their own eCommerce presence are starting to face a difficult situation due to the increase in PLA presence. Text ad impressions are decreasing in favor of PLAs, but PLAs make it very difficult for products to show up for more than one set of queries. Moreover, many brands lose the battle for clicks when their PLAs do appear because their retailers are also advertising the brands’ products, and the retailers can show a discounted price whereas the brand usually has to show full price.
Choose Your Battles
Brands can overcome this situation and increase impressions, clicks, and revenue from PLAs by modifying their product feeds to choose their battles. The key is to find queries that have high search volume and are relevant to a product but have minimal or no PLAs from retailers. Heretical as it may seem, we have seen instances in which a brand has improved results by removing the brand name from a product’s title in the feed.
How to use PLAs to your Advantage
Here’s an example. Let’s say a brand’s name is Cool Girl and that it sells Aloe Vera Lip Balm. The title in the product feed would most likely be something like: “Cool Girl Aloe Vera Lip Balm.” This title is quite accurate, but it would result in a PLA for the product showing almost exclusively for searches that include the brand name. However, all the brand’s retailers most probably use the same title in their feeds, and their prices are probably lower, resulting in a loss of clicks to the retailers. Now what if the owner of the feed removed “Cool Girl” from the title and replaced it with a high search volume keyword? This would cede the auction for brand queries to the retailers, but it would also enter the PLA into significantly more auctions than when the brand was in the title. Further, it would effectively change the PLA from a brand ad into a non-brand ad, allowing Cool Girl to use PLAs to gain new customers.
We have adopted this approach to PLAs for a number of our clients, and the results have been uniformly positive. For instance, one beauty brand saw impressions and clicks increase 316% and 251% respectively, while revenue increased 41%, almost entirely from new customers. If the new customers have even half the lifetime value of current customers, this strategy change represents a significant long term win.
Let Path Interactive partner with your business and deliver an effective Paid Search Management campaign today. For a free consultation, express form or call 800-680-4304.