Google’s Product Listing Ads have become a leading way to capture attention and convert sales for holiday gift searchers. As the season kicks into high gear, merchants should take advantage of the opportunity to fine tune their PLA offerings on the fly to maximize relevancy and sales.
For 2014, paid search is the top area for increased investment for merchants, and PLAs specifically are the #3 priority for increased spending, with 74% of merchants telling technology researcher Forrester they’re upping their investment.
Specifically during the holiday season, in the fourth quarter of 2013 investment in PLAs soared 80% year over year. Close to a quarter of total holiday search spend was allocated to PLAs, and that number is forecast to jump to 33% for the 2014 holiday season, according to Marin Software.
And these investments pay off in engagement: Marin Software reported that click-through rates for PLAs soared 20.5% year over year in the 2013 holiday season, compared with just a 4.6% click-through rate increase for text-based search ads.
The action item
While PLAs offer a ripe opportunity to reach shoppers beyond the eCommerce site, budget-conscious merchants must focus their activities to spotlight the most relevant products for the holidays — and use early results to shape late-season bids. They should:
- Take advantage of a winning streak with multi-touchpoint messaging. Merchants should up bids on top sellers or take advantage of serendipitous PR buzz — and be sure to message in-store availability, if relevant, within the ad copy so that shoppers heading out into the fray know the products are available nearby.
- Ensure PLA-promoted content is mobile-friendly. Merchants can specify distinct PLA landing pages for searchers on mobile devices, and even those who don’t must ensure that landing pages are mobile-friendly. And merchants should tweak their mobile templates to incorporate holiday offers in central content at the product page level, lest they’re overlooked in the global header.
- Put promotions front and center. Listings with the “special offer” tag are especially effective at capturing clicks, so if merchants offer free shipping with a promo code or free accessories or gifts with purchase, they should highlight those offers in the listing format, while at the same time staying within Google’s parameters for allowable offer content.
MarketLive merchant Delia’s includes its free shipping offer with promo code in its PLAs, thereby communicating to shoppers who are hungry to avoid delivery charges during the holiday season.
Watch for the final tip on the blog early next week, and read up on winning strategies in MarketLive’s holiday whitepapers.