Getting Started With Google Product Listing Ads

What Are Product Listing Ads And Should You Use Them?



Thanks for checking out this book on Google Shopping. At more than 100 pages, this resource draws from 10 years of Google Shopping data feed and CPC management experience from CPC Strategy Google Shopping veterans. You’ll find it’s the most comprehensive resource on the subject online.

Quick definitions of Google Shopping and Product Listing Ads


We use the terms “Google Shopping” and “Product Listing Ads” interchangeably throughout the book. They mean the same thing – Google’s paid shopping ads program, which consists of the Google Shopping data feed, the Google Merchant Center dashboard and the Product Listing Ads campaign section of Google Adwords.


What are Product Listing Ads?


Product Listing Ads are cost per click (CPC) ads which online merchants purchase through AdWords. These ads appear on Google Search pages to the left, and top of results. Product Listing Ads are most distinguishable in that they: 1) Feature a product image, and 2) Are tailored towards products and product categories (vs. keywords) In the snip below, the ads for baseball bats which have images are Product Listing Ads. You’ll notice those ads have prominent product images:

If you click on the individual Product Listing Ads, Google brings you to the sellers site, whereas “Shop for yellow baseball bat on Google” will bring you to the Google Shopping comparison page which is relevant for that search.

Sellers can also sell using AdWords ads, which are text ads (they don’t have images), are are keyword based. The AdWords ads are also often highlighted by light background color:


AdWords ads are a good option for online merchants, and like Product Listing Ads are managed within the AdWords login. This guide will focus on Product Listing Ads which we’ve seen have had significant impact on ecommerce campaigns. Before you start on either product, be sure to understand the differences between AdWords and Product Listing Ads.

Should You List Products On Google Shopping?


Deciding whether to list on Google Shopping can be a difficult.


Consider these main variables when deciding whether to list on Google Shopping:


1. How many products do you sell?

If you sell under 500 products, you may have trouble getting visibility on Google Shopping.

2. What is your product category? Is it competitive?

If you sell products in categories like automotive, baby supplies, tools, or furniture and you’re not listing on Google Shopping, you’re likely missing out on significant revenue. If you sell more competitive products such as Apparell, or items which get a lot of clicks (e.g intimate apparel) you may have more difficulty getting your Product Listing Ads campaign to get to that sweet spot.

3. How much can you spend on Google?

Bids and daily budget are going to vary significantly for every merchant. However, if you want to get profitable on Google Shopping and you don’t want your ads coming down at some point during the day, you should be ready to spend a minimum of $1,000.

4. How much do you need to sell to make a profit on Google? (What’s the ROI you need?)

If you have really strict margins, you may have difficulty on Google Shopping, or you may need to consider a lower daily budget. Like everything else, this is going to vary widely based on your products, competitions and your margins.

5. What Is The Quality Of Your Site?

Google emphasizes site quality and links as part of its algorithm to determine site and merchant quality. Even more so recently with Penguin 2.0 (A webspam Google algorithm). If you have a site which is still rough around the edges it may affect your performance on Google Shopping.

Reasons to List Your Products on Google Shopping Using Product Listing Ads


Google Shopping dominates for online merchants. Every sales quarter, we compile merchant data to rank the shopping channels based on traffic, revenue, conversion rate and similar variables. Google Shopping consistently generates the most traffic and profit for online sellers.

This last quarter, between Q4 2012 and Q1 2013 Google’s traffic increased 87%, following the holiday season (See the Paid Google graph to the left). Google-shopping-traffic-2013 For that same time period (q1 2013), Google had the highest revenue, and conversion rate among the other paid shopping channels. Not to mention the lowest cost of sale (COS), and the highest ranked merchant tools. Even paid, Google Shopping is by far the best performer among the paid shopping channels for online merchants.

Reasons NOT to List Your Products on Google Shopping Using Product Listing Ads


Some merchants realistically aren’t a good fit for Google Shopping. Maybe your site is brand new, or maybe you only sell one product.


You may not want to list on Google Shopping if:


  • You sell less than 500 products.
  • You sell products in a highly competitive category.
  •  You can only spend a limited amount on your PLA campaign (e.g less than $1000).
  • Your site quality isn’t quite up to snuff.


Realistically, you should be listing on Google Shopping. Google the #1 search site for many online shoppers, as well as a top shopping source. If you’re not listing on Google Shopping because you don’t understand how Product Listing Ads work, or you’re having issues getting the campaign set up, you’re in the right place.

So lets get started.

You can check out the Table of Contents here or click on one of the chapters below to get started, or just keep on clicking the next button below to take you step by step through the entire guide.

We hope you enjoy, and if you have any questions about the Product Listing Ads Guide for Agencies, whether it’s something we didn’t cover or something specific to your Google Shopping campaign that you have a question about, just drop us a line in any form on the pages throughout the site, describe your issue, and we’ll help you out within 24 business hours.