SVP, Marketing

Drive Success with PLA (Shopping) Ads

UPDATED June 3, 2020

Search marketers know that there are some fundamental differences between text ads and Product Listing Ads (PLAs)—also sometimes referred to as shopping ads—with regards to landing pages, reporting, and the mechanics of bidding on keywords versus setting budgets for products.

While these differences may leave some advertisers scratching their heads, the keys to making more money using PLAs are actually quite straightforward, intuitive, and simple to explain:

  • Enhance your product feed to be the best it can be
  • Have the right account structure
  • Use data to allocate budget to products driving the best ROI

For this post, I am going to dig into how you can better allocate budget to improve ROI on PLA marketing. When using Google and Bing PLA ads, the amount of information shared by these platforms is more than sufficient for marketers to allocate budget to products driving the best ROI. In raw form from the search engines, however, this data is chaotic in structure. The real challenge is organizing the data so that it’s useful and, more importantly, actionable. While leveraging automation was once a strategic decision to get a leg up on the competition, today effective organization of big data is a necessity.

At Rise, we built Connex® so that we can spend our time making adjustments to our product groupings and bidding based on what opportunities the data shows. Below is one of my favorite PLA reports. At the Product Title level, this report shows me every product that this brand has spent money on year-to-date (YTD) where the ROAS was less than $1.

Armed with this information, there are typically a couple of next steps we could take:

  • Look at the ROAS of the product grouping where this item is currently housed to see if there is a large variance between the overall performance of that product group and this specific product. As a reminder, with PLAs, bids and budgets are set at the product grouping level.
  • If I find that a poor-performing product is living in an otherwise high-performing product group, I will likely remove the poor-performing product and put it into a separate product group with a reduced bid; or I may choose not to bid on the product at all.
  • While taking these steps is not rocket science, it can be difficult to do this effectively at scale.

Paid Search ROAS in Connex

The actions that can be taken from my next favorite report tend to be a little more fun. This view shows me the ROAS of all products that are performing above the brand’s goal of $1.50 but are not capturing all of the available impression share. Now, I can re-deploy the wasted spend that was identified in my first report and increase bids and budgets to make more money from the rockstar products.

Wasted spend report in Connex

This key to making more money from PLA ads is already in marketers’ hands as the data to make these decisions is living in your Google Merchant Center and Bing Merchant Center accounts. Wasting substantial amounts of spend on poor-performing products using PLAs is avoidable! The million-dollar question is, “do you have a plan to activate on this information to stop wasting and start scaling?”

If you’d like to learn more about how to make more money in your PLA program, contact Rise today.

04/08/2019 at 02:38