Last month, we hosted a webinar that was chock-full of best practices to power up your Product Listing Ads (PLA) practice. Joining us on that webinar was Zach Morrison, Vice President at Elite SEM. Zach represented the marketer point-of-view, sharing tips and experiences that his team at Elite SEM has collected while working with PLAs. We’re excited to now feature an excerpt of Zach’s perspective on PLAs, as shared in the Kenshoo Guide to Google Product Listing Ads.  If you enjoy this piece, be sure to download a copy of the full guide. You can also get more PLAY from PLA by watching a recording of our webinar or viewing the slides presented

zach_morrison Recently, I was conversing with a colleague from a well-known retail company. He told me that 13 years ago, his family disagreed on opening an e-commerce store. Because of that dispute, the family split up the business between their e-commerce and brick-and-mortar operations.

The notion that an e-commerce business’s sales would earn more than a 50-year old brick-and-mortar business would have been dismissed 13 years ago. Times have changed. Today, the e-commerce entity’s yearly revenue greatly surpasses the offline retail operation.

In 2000, Google launched the AdWords program in which advertisers would pay monthly for management of text ads campaigns which were keyword-driven. In time though, it became obvious that the results from Google Ads utilization would lead to something much bigger.

Fast forward to today: product listing ads have sprung into pole position within Google SERP, just as e-commerce did in the retail world.

When PLAs were initially offered a few years back, Elite SEM was an early adopter of the beta format, recognizing that it would be the future for e-commerce brands. During that period, the results were astounding, and Elite SEM held on for the day that Google made PLAs the center of attention for e-commerce searches. Then, once Google Shopping transformed to a commercial product in 2012, PLAs became a prominent player in the Google SERP.

During the first quarter of the new Google Shopping with PLA (Q4 2012), Elite SEM’s clients saw over 35 percent of non-branded clicks come from PLAs. These clicks yielded a higher engagement rate from both a CTR and Conversion Rate than traditional text ads.

Google has committed to commerce development, between the growing prominence of PLA placement and the acquisition of Channel Intelligence. It’s only practical to foresee PLAs leading Google into next paradigm of e-commerce.

Elite SEM expects PLAs to become more robust, allowing for the more sophisticated marketers using Kenshoo to deliver even better performance for PLA campaigns. As always, keeping up with product development and the ever-changing technology environment is paramount. As these practices continue to evolve, we must to do the same.