Product Listing Ads: Google Testing Carousels

Google is always thinking up new ways to improve user experiences. The latest from Google is the display of carousel results for product listings ads on desktop. Carousel results are the ones that appear horizontally at the top of the search engines when you run a query. Initially, carousel results were for local searches, but now product listings ads (PLA) get them too.

Scrolling Carousel Results

Carousel results for PLAs were available for mobile, but now Google is making them possible for desktop users too. The new feature is also scrollable. In the display of the results, there is an arrow on the right side of PLAs, which facilitates scrolling. Once a user scrolls through to the end, the arrow shifts to the left side of the block, allowing you to go back and forth. The scroll function is one of the features that Google is testing on the layout.

Ratings for “Top” Products

Another test besides the carousel is ratings for the “best” and “top” products. These tests started in 2014 and launched on March 9. When a user searches for “top” or “best” products, Google displays products with ranks or numbers. For instance, if you are searching for ‘top waffle makers’, the results will show up in a scrollable carousel and have ranks, like 1, 2, 3, 4. The same happens on mobile, but the ranks are in a different style of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and so on.

For particular products to get ranking on carousels, they first undergo selection. Google gets the products that are top-rated and then lets them bid against each other. The highest bidding PLA gets the best ad position. An important point to take from this is that a product may be number one on the carousel but may not necessary have the best ratings.

Impact of PLAs and Scrolling Carousels

When Google started product ratings in 2014, it said that they were a way of increasing CTR for PLAs. The impact that carousels on desktops will have is that merchants with PLAs on carousels can expect more traffic. When users search for the best or top products, they want specific results, and Google provides that. Most users look at the first products they see on the carousel. It makes their purchasing decisions easier. Scrolling through carousels also offers more options to pick from.

Product listing ads have been very effective in providing users with the results they want. It is one of the ways that advertiser target a particular audience by showcasing exact products. The use of images in PLAs offers an advantage over text ads because people like it when they see what they are buying. By providing information about pricing, size, colour and availability in PLAs, it makes the job easier for already interested buyers. Having scrollable PLA carousel results on desktops opens a new platform for merchants.


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