Product Listing Ads, fairly new additions to the tools available to AdWords customers in the UK, are very simple ‘adverts’ which consist of a picture of your product, an optional marketing message and the price. The information Google uses to create these adverts comes directly from your Google Product feed, with the exception of the marketing message. These adverts are then shown at the top of Google’s standard advertising space on the right of any applicable page of search results.
They are very simple to set up and do not require any keywords or complex campaign builds. Google automatically searches your inventory for any terms that match the users search query. The only real effort required is managing which of your products you want to display. As this is an AdWords governed activity, cost per click charges do apply (with cost per acquisition models available in the future) so it is unlikely that you would want to display your entire inventory on a CPC basis. The products you choose to display can be chosen at a very basic level within AdWords, but to have more control over exactly which products to display requires certain information to be submitted within your Product Feed itself.
Tracking sales and therefore calculating RoI for these is more complicated because you need to insert an ‘adtype’ dynamic parameter into your URLs so that you can track conversions through Google Analytics. However, the CPA bidding option that should be available in the UK soon is very attractive as there is only one piece of conversion code to enter into your site at checkout and your RoI is guaranteed. So despite the most attractive aspect of these not being available yet, they are still worth gearing up for ready for their imminent release.
Also you need to consider the use of Labels and Groups and how these are programmable within your product listing submission to Google’s Merchant Centre. These are customisable fields within your listing that allow you to choose and show selected products within your adverts. For the merchant seeking a better return on investment from more relevant display and targeting, this may be one of the strategies well worth considering in early 2012 for building out your Google Adwords campaigns.