Merkle data revealed recently that product listing ad traffic found on third-party online stores and YouTube, plus image search has started to surge in Q4. Product listing ads run by Google are also beginning to make headway in these sectors as well.
Some of you may remember that in September 2014, Google made an announcement that it had gone into partnerships with several e-commerce and retail sites to start showing PLAs (Product Listing Ads) on third-party retailer sites, as part of a brand new program named AdSense for Shopping. On the surface, this seems like new ground for Google, but in real terms is just the revamp under a new title of Amazon Product Ads, which ceased in the autumn of 2015. This helped retail outlets advertise goods and services on Amazon, and had links from each advert to the relevant online stores.
After an initial high, it was not clear what direction AdSense for Shopping was taking. The most recent Merkle marketing report highlights the fact that it was looking good at the beginning of August last year, and this was probably due to ads being shown through several new partners that included Target and Kohl’s.
The gradual rollout of ads on YouTube looks like it has been an important contributory factor in the rise of ad visibility in product listings. For anybody that opted into Search Partners; shopping campaigns became eligible to be shown in cards running alongside videos that have contextual relevance, on smartphones, tablets, and desktops.
Merkle picked-up on the fact that Google has started to show PLAs with image search, though, this at the moment is very limited. For statistical analysis, third-party, retail sites, YouTube and PLAs are all part of the network for Search Partners when it comes to AdWords reporting.
Even though the overall share in traffic from PLAs on Search Partners increased in August on all devices, the surge that was biggest was recorded on smartphones and tablets. From December, 12 per cent of PLA tablet clicks were from Search Partners. This represented an increase of just under three per cent in January 2015. The Search Partner share on smartphones rose by just 0.2 per cent in January to level out at 7.1 per cent in December.
Conversion rates on phones from PLA were 48 per cent below Google.com web search results. PLA clicks from Search Partner had 33 per cent and 35 per cent smaller rates of conversion on tablets and desktops, respectively.
Looking at data taken broadly across all devices, PLAs accounted overall for 38 per cent of retailer’s ad click Google searches in Q4. This is up 30 per cent up on the same period of the previous year. Mobile PLA spend went up by 208 per cent over the previous year. This was largely due to larger PLA formats being introduced on smartphones.