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Video: Product Listing Ads Growing vs Text Ads

Product Listing Ads saw considerable growth in 2013, particularly in the fourth quarter. With click-through rates up and conversion rates much improved, PLAs present a great opportunity for our retail clients. These improvements were due in part to a lot of experimentation and changing of the SERP. At this point Google will show PLAs just about anywhere (alone above organic results, above or below text ads above organic, etc.) whereas before they were confined to the right rail. Watch the video for more analysis of our recent findings.

Download the full Q4 2013 Digital Marketing Report for more insight on display, paid search, SEO, social and more.


Paul Koch: Hi Paul Koch, Director of Paid Search here at RKG. Today I want to talk a little bit about our Q4 2013 Digital Marketing Report. If you haven't done so, please download it. There's lots of great material about paid search, SEO, display marketing, really the nuts and bolts of display marketing.

I want to focus particularly about product listing ads, or PLA's. 2013 was really a year of tremendous growth for PLA's and we saw this culminate in the fourth quarter. If we look at comparisons to total paid search for product listing ads, we see about 23% of traffic was coming from PLA's.

This is really good, but if peel that back a little bit comparatively to non-brand text ads, it really changes the dynamic of it. We see about 30% or so of total traffic has brand intent. If we peel those text ads away from brand, the comparison to non-brand is much more accurate when we're comparing PLA's to non-brand text ads. So if you compare PLA's to non-brand text ads, 43% of traffic was coming through PLA's. Really a huge driver of growth in the fourth quarter.

When we look at performance of PLA's compared to their non-brand text ad counterparts, we see that click-through rate is much improved and conversion rate is much improved. This leads to a lot of growth and potential for our clients, particularly in the retail base.

Another thing to note is the comparison of cost per click for PLA's. We saw in the fourth quarter the first time that PLA's outpaced their non-brand text ad counterparts. A big component of this is as Google continues to monetize product listing ads. And we saw in 2013, particularly in the fourth quarter, a lot of experimentation and changing of the SERP. Product listing ads moved from the right rail into the left side of the page, both below and above those other text ad listings. And this really drove and helped drive up those click-through rates. We expect a lot of that experimentation and that testing to continue on Google's part as they continue to monetize that product and be able to get as much out of it as possible.

We think it's important to leverage that in 2014 and get the most that you can out of product listing ads. Thank you very much. Thank you for joining me and please stay tuned for more RKG videos.

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