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Google’s PLA Drives Most of Adwords Click in Q4 :


Google’s PLA (product listing ads), which was launched in 2012, is continuing to drive more and more traffic to e-retailers, and SEM Media Group is taking note. In 2014-Q4, PLAs drove 56 percent of non-brand click and 30 percent of overall Google search advertising clicks, according to RKG.

“Google has shown a greater preference and placement for PLAs in 2014,” says SEM Media Group President, Phil Thow, “even to the point of placing PLAs above organic listings instead of putting them off to the right-hand side of Google’s search result, the “typical” home for paid search ads. PLAs, therefore, are here to stay and are dictating the pay-to-play strategy of digital marketing.”

Click-through rates are also on the rise. In Q4, the rates on Google’s PLAs were 130 percent higher, and conversation rates were 30 percent higher too, than non-brand text ads.

PLAs are only relevant for websites that have physical products to sell. In SEM Media Group’s case, the agency specializes in representing automotive parts dealers. Of course, different industries have different expectations and outcomes for securing search traffic with PLAs. For instance, apparel-related websites generate the lowest percentage of their non-brand Google click from PLAs, but electronics, healthy and beauty, and home and garden retailers get the majority of their non-brand Google clicks via PLAs.

The other search engine now hosting a similar PLA format is Bing Ad’s nascent product ads. It, too, realized a strong growth in 2014-Q4. Product ads drove seven percent of non-brand clicks in that quarter, doubling from the previous quarter. Now, product ads on the Yahoo Bing Network account for 14 percent of clicks.

“In this visual online world we are becoming accustomed to,” explains Phil Thow, “especially with social networks and photo-centric sites like Pinterest and Tumblr, it makes sense that more people shop with their eyes, and to a lesser degree, with any specific store loyalty. To be relevant in today’s e-commerce landscape, as we tell our clients at SEM Media Group, one has to go where the business is, and right now the business seems to be in PLAs and enhanced digital marketing campaigns.”

Businesses that have physical products to market should strongly consider the value of PLAs, and SEM Media Group can field questions from retailers interested in learning how to utilize this growing trend.