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Digital Marketing News & Best Practices - Adlucent Search Pros(e)

Google Shopping: How A Unified Approach To Paid Search Benefits Retailers

Posted by Adlucent Admin on June 14, 2012

Following the recent announcement that Google Product Search is transitioning to a commercial model based on Product Listing Ads (PLAs), there is a debate regarding which technology partner has the experience to manage them best: the search provider that handles PLAs or the feed management company that runs comparison shopping engines.

Google1 Source: Google

We contend that Google PLAs can be most effectively managed by paid search agencies because they understand the customer intent-driven nature of PLAs and can realize valuable synergies between traditional PPC advertising and product ads. Furthermore, we believe that the transition to a commercial model for Google Shopping is good for retailers because it will leverage these synergies to yield a more efficient online advertising presence.


PLAs are a paid search format, not a comparison shopping format. Managing PLAs successfully isn’t simply about making a retailer’s product catalog accessible for customers to compare; rather, it’s about understanding which products are likely to succeed and promoting these items to capture the customers’ attention.

  • PLAs – and soon Google Shopping – are managed in AdWords. Paid search agencies have developed software (like Adlucent’s Deep Search platform) and best practices to address this system efficiently and drive decisive action on paid search advertisements.
  • PLAs appear in the Google search engine results page (SERP), not just in the context of an insulated comparison shopping engine. Paid search agencies like Adlucent understand and appreciate the challenges of optimizing performance in the competitive search engine space in ways that feed management companies do not. PPC companies have expertise in improving click-through rate (CTR) and Quality Score (QS), which are important factors in the success of product ads like PLAs, just as for text ads. They also possess the advanced bid management capabilities needed to navigate the rough terrain of the paid search landscape.
  • In Google Search, PLAs include a line of promotional text in addition to product information. Like the content of Google text ads, this promotion line is – if carefully managed – a powerful opportunity to differentiate the ad and attract attention. Search companies know how to tailor this material for maximum impact.

Thus, PLAs align with search agencies’ ability to optimize ads to harness customer intent for efficient revenue growth. Yet the advantage that skill set provides is magnified further still when PPC and PLA campaign management is combined.


By combining the learnings from text ads and Product Listing Ads, we can derive insights faster than is possible by managing either independently. Understanding which products succeed in paid search helps us to predict which are likely to flourish as PLAs. The reverse is also true, and this mutually beneficial relationship offers a significant advantage to retailers that consolidate PPC and PLA management with one provider.

  • Unified performance reporting for text ads and PLAs highlights opportunities for growth where either format is relatively deficient. For example, if a set of keywords representing a particular product is performing exceptionally well, this should cue the advertiser to promote that item more heavily through PLAs – and vice versa. If the two formats are managed separately, this knowledge goes unused and the opportunity is lost.
  • Paid search agencies manage millions of search queries through their PPC campaigns, giving them access to a wealth of information about how customers search when looking for a product online. This query history provides a deep understanding of how to optimize feed attributes (such as a product’s title and description) to attract the most qualified customers.
  • By using attribution to observe the effect of upstream clicks on PLAs, search agencies can leverage their PPC campaigns to funnel traffic to PLAs. In addition, PLAs can serve as a driver for text ads. However, managing the two separately, ignorant of their effect on one another, can lead to faulty attribution and produce uninformed decisions that constrict potentially valuable traffic sources. Thus, to avoid such inadvisable actions, PLAs and text ads should be managed collectively.

All the advantages highlighted above evaporate if PLA management is segregated from the rest of paid search. Agencies like Adlucent are ideally suited to execute an integrated paid search strategy that shares shopping intelligence between formats to strengthen overall performance.

Google2 Source: Google

By consolidating their approach to PPC and PLAs, retailers reap the rewards of an advertising campaign that feeds on itself – learning and growing faster than is otherwise possible. They also save time and money by entrusting their marketing program to relatively fewer vendors. Paid search agencies like Adlucent have developed the right tools to efficiently manage both of these ad formats to achieve their maximum effect.


The Google Shopping transition only serves to amplify the benefits of co-managing PLAs and text ads; every insight is doubly enlightening, every action doubly impactful. Online retailers should embrace the change and seek the experience of a paid search agency to help them take their online advertising to the next level.

Want more info on how Adlucent manages PLAs? Drop us a note and we’ll follow up with you shortly.

Topics: Analytics, online retailing, paid search, ppc


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