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A Detailed Guide to Using Product Listing Ads

: 09th Sep 2021         : Lovetto Nazareth

A Detailed Guide to Using Product Listing Ads

Table of Content

Marketers use numerous different types of ads to reach out to their potential customers. These ad types vary on the basis of a number of factors such as presence or absence of visuals, size, and placement, etc. We all know that there is no such thing as one size fits all. Using an ad type largely depends on what business you’re in and what is your product or offering.

One of the many ad types that are out there is product listing ads, also known as PLA. Product listing ads have been around for quite some time now but have recently caught the eye of marketers and business owners alike.

What are product listing ads used for?

Well, the name says it all. This ad type is used by businesses to highlight their products and reach a wider audience. In this blog, we will talk about product listing ads in detail, explain what they are, how to use them, and whether or not you should be using them depending on your business type.

Starting with the basics, let me explain what do we mean when we say PLA ads.

What are product listing ads?

PLA ads appear on top of the search engine result pages, or sometimes on the upper right and left side of the pages when someone searches for relevant products. The differentiating factors that set PLA apart from normal search ads are the image, a clickable link, along with the owner’s information including brand name, pricing, etc.

One thing that you should keep in mind is that the ads appearing after you click on the shopping link on the SERPs are not PLA ads. PLA mainly refers to the ads that appear on top of the SERPs when a user searches for a product.

How do product listing ads work?

Product listing ads are pay per click ads, and you only get charged once someone clicks the ads either through the product image or the link. Keep in mind that when someone clicks on the shopping link, it would lead to a comparison between various products and won’t lead to your product page.

These ads are set up through search engine ad areas such as Google Ads or Bing Ads, just like other PPC or CPC ads. However, what differentiates PLA here is the fact that, unlike other ad types, PLA gets data from the product information you provide and not from the keywords. Your PLA google ads will be shown according to the relevance of your product information with the search query.

Search engines show the most relevant products, following the same method of drawing information from the product data. Other factors that determine the ranking of your PLA ads are relevance, landing page quality, and the bid amount.

Key Tips to Optimize Your PLA Campaigns

If your product offering is not completely relevant to the search query, your ad might show up but right on the fringes. If your landing page is too slow or has spam links spread all over it, or if it uses clickbait to lure in people, your ad might not even show up.

One of the most significant factors is the ad bid. You will have to outbid one of the top five bids to show up in the top position. Otherwise, it won’t come up when someone searches for a relevant product.

Now the question is, who should and who shouldn’t use product listing ads?

Should you use product listing ads?

We’ll get into it in detail but if you are an e-tailer or a retailer who sells products, product listing ads are definitely something that you should try out. The reason is that these ads are shown only to the people actively looking for products. Moreover, these ads show vital information such as pricing, and description upfront. All of these increases the chance of getting qualified leads, and eventually conversions.

Let’s discuss some key factors to help you decide whether PLA is something that you should try.

Who are Product listing ads perfect for?

Your sales volume.

If your company’s sales volume is somewhere less than five hundred units a month, you might have a hard time getting something out of PLA.


If your niche has a lot of competition and your brand is not dominant enough, you will have a hard time getting sales from PLA but if you have your market share and your brand is competitive enough, PLA is a great tool for you to gain more sales.


The idea is to outbid your competitors. That’s the only way to show up when users search. If your budget is low and you don’t want to spend money, you will not be able to get the benefits.

Landing page or website quality.

If your landing page or your linked website is slow or needs work, your PLA ads won’t perform that well. More significantly, if your website is not mobile friendly, you will definitely have a tough time reaching the top. The reason is that most of the search queries are imitated through mobile devices nowadays and search engines are keen on providing the best possible mobile buying experience.

So, work on your website or landing page first before investing in product listing ads so that you don’t waste time and money trying to make to most of it.

How to get started with product listing ads?

You will have to first analyze if you meet the criteria mentioned above. If yes, then Google ads is a perfect place to start. It has a pretty dominant PLA ad space. Now, you should know that setting up PLA ads is not exactly the same as setting up other CPC ads, but it can be set up from the same ads framework.

These are the simple steps to set up PLA ads.

1. Set up Merchant Center account

You will have to fill in the business information within the merchant account. It includes business name, website URL, business address, and contact information as well. You can also set up primary and secondary access for users who can access the account.

2. Claim your URL by verifying

Verifying a URL essentially means proving that you are the website owner. Google only allows authorized people to see the markers that it adds. You will have to choose one of the four verification methods and once you’re verified, you can then get an exclusive right to use Merchant Center.

3. Add required product data

On this page, you will have to enter all the required details about the product. These details are attributes of your product that Google requires in order to understand what it is and to whom should it be shown.

Apart from these required attributes, there are some suggested ones as well. These suggested attributes are additional details that help the search engine to understand it better and hyper target the audience, ultimately increasing the conversion rates.

You will have to make sure that the data you provided is as accurate as possible. If you don’t fill in the suggested fields, there is a chance that your products are shown less frequently to the audience. Details such as pricing, availability of the products, and shipping, etc. need to be fresh and accurate.

This data is uploaded using two ways mainly. One is to upload it via a feed, which is a file containing all the information and the other is to upload it via a Google API.

Once all these steps are done, you are all set to start your product listing ads and get the rewards that await you. These steps are quite simple. However, it gets trickier when it comes to deciding the targeting, budget allocation, etc.

This is it for today’s blog. I hope you enjoyed reading it and that you’ve learned a thing or two about product listing ads (PLA). If you have any comments or queries, reach out to me and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

If you want to make the most out of PLA campaigns, you might want to take on board an expert advertising agency. Not only for PLA ads but also for PPC management, social media advertising, or even product listing ads. Prism Digital, the best advertising agency in Dubai, is all set to take care of all your advertising worries from setting up PPC campaigns to managing social media advertising. Prism Digital has what it takes to make your brand take the center stage. See you on the other side.

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