Retailers Poised to Increase Investment in Google’s PLAs for Upcoming Holiday Season

Search king Google is known for constantly tweaking its product line for marketers. In the past year, Google has been transitioning to the product listing onlinesearchad (PLA) model for paid search. The format allows marketers to present rich information to online searchers including price, image and merchant name, instead of just text, and the software behind the system doesn’t require the marketer to add more keywords or text. A new Marin study finds that consumers are clicking on the PLAs at a high rate and this trend may encourage marketers to invest more in this form of paid search advertising.

Since November 2012, consumers have been showing their preferences for PLAs over standard text ads. During the summer, the click rate on PLAs has been 21% higher than on older formats. Marin researchers note that the number of PLAs served in relation to the number of standard text ads served continues to grow. They believe that in the next 3 months, PLAs served will grow exponentially in relation to standard ads. Researchers point out that as consumers become more familiar with PLAs, the click rate is likely to increase.

Until recently, marketers were enjoying a lower cost per click (CPC) for PLAs than what they paid for standard text ads. This cost advantage is likely to disappear during the upcoming season. More retailers are seeing the benefits of the format and are entering the marketplace to compete for top positions on the search results page. The rising costs are unlikely to deter marketers. Marin researchers note that some marketers are allocating up to 50% of their paid search budgets to the PLA format and they expect to this amount increase during the busy holiday season.

If you use paid search, have you experimented with Google's PLAs?

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.