Last Minute Google Shopping: Best Practices In PLAs

Congratulations! You’re now fully entrenched in the holiday shopping season. Of course, we know the majority of marketing campaigns were locked down in August (right?), but this doesn’t mean you don’t have any wiggle room to make last minute adjustments, especially if you’re not yet seeing the results you anticipated.


One area where you can make small changes and yield big results is in your Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs), Let’s take a closer look at how you can improve your returns from Google Shopping this holiday season with the following seven ways to boost PLA results.

1. Ensure Your Promotional Copy Is Specific

This may seem like a no-brainer; however, in this context we’re talking about very specific word choices. It remains true that the more specific the words are, the higher the likelihood of conversion.

For example, instead of using generic terms such as “holiday” and “free shipping,” consider revising the copy to read, “Free Shipping Day December 18, 2013,” or “Guaranteed to Arrive by December 23.”

Keep in mind that your PLAs and paid search ads also appear in Google searches, so be sure that your offers and pricing are consistent wherever they appear online.

2. Write Killer Product Titles

Investing a little extra time in writing engaging titles for your product feed can make a big difference.

Each headline should be current, accurate, and follow the recommended guideline of a 70-character limit. As you know, PLA titles can be truncated after 15-20 characters, so you want to be sure to have compelling copy up front.

3. Don’t Skimp On Your Data Feed

You already know how important it is to have fresh, fully optimized data feeds. For the holiday season, however, you may want to get even more granular with your feed descriptions.

The primary reason is that Google Shopping cloaks your Quality Score (QS). As you may know, a higher QS results in your ads being shown more frequently and higher on a page.

Since you don’t have transparency into your QS, you’ll want to make sure that the product attributes in your feed are detailed and relevant. This includes titles, descriptions, and images that portray your products with accuracy and specificity. This is the best way available today to ensure higher QS results without having a clear view into your score.

Since this process can be somewhat time consuming, consider streamlining it by using an automated feed provider. As you narrow your choice of partners, here are three criteria that should be at the top of your list.

  • A powerful data analytics engine
  • Support for upwards of millions of product feeds that can be delivered through a single online source
  • The ability to provide the most current product information across a variety of sources such as comparison-shopping sites, coupon portals, blogs, and loyalty programs

As a last best practice regarding your feed, remember to always submit changes to your feed to Google. This will alert them that your feed has been updated, therefore helping to improve the placement of your PLAs.

4. Carefully Evaluate Your Campaign Structure

Take a closer look at the way you’ve set up your PLA campaigns, and think about how you can further optimize them by building an ad group for each brand, category and product.

Another targeting method for the season would be to group any products specific to a sale or promotion into their own ad group and then optimize for that group. This will allow you to utilize specific copy while also enabling the ads to show as often as possible because you’re boosting your bids for the specific group.

For example, there may be a couple of categories or products in your feed that you are offering for Free Shipping Day. While you may not normally bid aggressively on these products, you’ll want to make sure they show as often as possible with specific promotional copy around Free Shipping Day.

5. Obsess Over Optimizations

This is the time of the year that you need to keep a very close eye on your bid optimizations for both good and bad ad groups.

Don’t be surprised to find that you may need to make more frequent adjustments to your budget in order to keep up with the competitive nature of e-commerce during the holiday season. The last thing you want to discover after the fact is that you missed out on potential sales because your budget fell short and, therefore, your PLAs went offline.

Checking how your budget is pacing more frequently throughout the day, increasing the frequency at which you pull your search query reports (SQR) and regularly adding poor performing search terms to the SQR will help you avoid capping out during these precious few weeks.

6. Track ROI

Since more spend doesn’t always mean better results, avoid buying into the myth that increasing your bids will automatically boost results.

Before you invest too much of your budget on your bids, you may want to identify those negative terms that result in unprofitable clicks. This way, you can take the proper actions to block them. You’ll want to revisit that list of negative terms and use it to help guide your budgeting decision making process.

7. Opt In To Mobile

There’s no denying the continued growth of mobile; experts at eMarketer predict that mobile devices will boost holiday commerce sales growth in the U.S.

Mobile will not overtake desktop sales this holiday season. Still, let’s not lose sight of the significant role mobile plays in assisting conversions. For these reasons, be sure to support mobile so that your products are easily found and displayed on mobile devices. This includes making sure your PLAs show up on mobile. While desktop and tablets are grouped together, you need to manually go in and set your mobile bids.

And one last piece of advice when it comes to making adjustments to your search campaigns and PLAs: don’t fix it if it’s not broken.

(Stock image via Used under license.)

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Affiliate Marketing | Channel: Retail | Display Advertising Column | Google: Shopping | Top News


About The Author: As Chief Operating Officer, Liane Dietrich is responsible for the planning and execution of Rakuten LinkShare's vision to deliver world class online marketing solutions. Since joining Rakuten LinkShare in 2003, Liane has contributed to the company's success in the areas of service delivery, strategic direction and international expansion in her roles as Director, Vice President and Managing Director in Chicago, New York, and London.

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