January 10, 2014, 2:31 PM

The rise of Google’s Product Listing Ads

The click-through rate in 2013 for PLAs was 47% higher than for Google pay-per-click text ads, a digital marketing firm says. Google introduced its paid Product Listing Ads in 2012.

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Google Inc.’s Product Listings Ads ad unit gained traction quickly in 2013, according to digital marketing technology firm IgnitionOne Inc. The firm says the click-through rate for PLAs during the year was about 47% higher than the click-through rate for text-based pay-per-click ads on Google. It says the click-through rate for PLAs during the year averaged 2.8%, while the pay-per-click average was 1.9%.

Google introduced paid Product Listing Ads in October 2012. Product Listing Ads feature product images and prices from merchants prominently in the central area of a Google search results page. They replaced free comparison shopping listings.

During the fourth quarter—during which U.S. online advertisers collectively spent 12% more year over year on paid search ads—online advertisers spent 618% more on PLAs than when they  launched in Q4 2012. Impressions were up 380% and clicks 312%, according to IgnitionOne’s Q4 2013 Digital Marketing Report. “It has been over a year since PLAs were introduced to digital marketers and this quarter has proved that the ad product has come into its own,” says Roger Barnette, president of IgnitionOne.

During the week of Thanksgiving, PLAs accounted for 13% of all clicks on search ads on Google, and the click-through rate on PLA ads was 74% higher than on Google’s pay-per-click ads, IgnitionOne says.

Google Inc. remains the dominant engine for search ads, claiming 77.3% of advertiser search spending in the fourth quarter versus 22.7% for Microsoft Corp.’s Yahoo/Bing, according to IgnitionOne.

Marketers continue to increase their spending on paid search ads served to mobile devices. IgnitionOne says spending for ads served to smartphones rose 253% year over year in Q4; spending on ads served to tablet computers rose 82%. The IgnitionOne report does not report dollar figures. To learn how much top e-retailers spend on search marketing, buy Internet Retailer’s 2013 Search Marketing Guide.

 

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