Automated Extensions in Google PLAs to Replace Promotional Text

By Tinuiti Team

Google Announces “Free Shipping” Automated Extensions in PLAs

According to an announcement from Google, as of September 2015,  promotional text will be replaced by automated extensions within Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs).

Based on initial results, Google has found shoppers prefer new automated extensions over promotional text and advertisers are getting better click through rates with it too.

Promotional text, an optional message added to ad groups in AdWords, was an initial effort by Google to provide shoppers with relevant information and help retailers differentiate their products on the shopping platform.

Google noticed many retailers use promotional text to highlight special offers or free shipping, so as of September the latest system will automatically update the extensions for shopping ads.



What are Automated Extensions?

The new automated extensions will be displayed alongside shopping ads (PLAs) at no additional work or cost. Google will use existing information (provided in the Merchant Center settings and data feed) to automatically show “free shipping” and price drop information in a “consistent and digestible way for shoppers”.

jason-bell“This is a very welcome change due to the simple fact that the action of requiring customers to hover over the Ad to see this text made the visibility of this promotional text very low,” Jason Bell, Senior Account Analyst at CPC Strategy said.

“Much like the Google Merchant Promotions, Product Reviews & Google Trusted Stores, I feel the highlighting of free shipping or a recent price drop automatically occurring on the ad without a requisite first step (hovering) would support Google’s findings of an increased CTR or at the very least the visibility and ability to stand out among competitors.”

“At the end of the day price is king and free shipping is close behind it so focusing on pointing these value adds out helps communicate value through a Google Shopping ad and this new format is much more visible than the promo text of old.”

What if I’m currently using promotional text?

 For retailers or marketers already using promotional text, no additional action is required. According to Google, those ads won’t be affected and will continue to reach shoppers on Google. 

For several months, Google has been testing various content displays to highlight the price drop information including “value alert” and “percent off”. It is still unclear how Google will reflect these changes but retailers and marketers should be on the lookout for additional testing in the coming months.

If retailers want to highlight other offers (aside from free shipping & sales prices) they can continue to leverage the following additional shopping extensions including:


Note: Availability of this extension may vary by country. Retailers can find more information on automated extensions in Google’s help center or by emailing [email protected]

Do you think automated extensions will have an impact on your PLAs? Comment in the section below.


Additional Google Shopping Resources:


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