Google Ditches PLAs, Focus on Optimizing for Google Shopping


If there’s one thing you can say about Google, it’s that they certainly like to keep things moving. With the recent phasing out of Product Listing Ads (PLAs), Google is trying to focus more on a deeper and more integrated Google Shopping experience.

In a recent study, it was found that Google Shopping feeds outperformed PLAs through increased revenue, ROI, and order volume.

Perhaps the biggest change from PLA that is concerning merchants is the limit on Custom Labels. Retailers are now allowed a maximum of 5 Custom Labels that are designed to make segmenting and organizing products easier.

To keep your business ahead of the game, it’s a good idea to plan out your custom label plan before you launch your new shopping campaign. One possible label idea is ‘Category-Based’ labels. Category labels make it easier for search engines and customers to delve deeper into your products. Another tactic, ‘Best Sellers/Most Popular’ labels, allows you to showcase your best-selling/highest profit material in your feed. The ‘High/Low Profit Margin Product’ labels let you exclude from your feed products that aren’t performing well, and highlight those that are. Or you could try ‘Sales Status’ labels, which put seasonal and promotional content into their own custom labels and are easier for ad group creation and promotion.

Managing and maintaining a quality data feed is important in the success of your Google Shopping listings. Some qualities of good data feed management are distinguishing product photos and searchable titles and names. Distinguishing product photos set your apart from the competition. Using an interesting photo with different product views will grab the viewer’s attention as they go through the listings. Easily searchable titles and names will increase the chances of a sale. Names like “Tahiti Red” or catalog number product names don’t do well in product searches, as shoppers are more likely to search for “Dark Red Women’s Shirt” and the chances of someone searching for ‘Tahiti Red Women’s Blouse’ or ‘RDSHRTXXS’ are slim to none.

While keeping your Google Shopping feed clean and optimized is extremely valuable, it’s also important to not forget some of the core points that help e-commerce sites rank better such as: scrutinizing your Ad Networks to make sure you’re targeting the right sites for your ads so that they can make the biggest impact, Mobile Responsive Design to make mobile visitors more likely to stay on your site instead of going to a competitor with a better mobile site design, and Testing Date/Time to make sure your ads are reaching the right audiences at the right time.

There’s no “one size fits all” approach to optimizing your Google Shopping data feed, so the best way to find out the right strategy for you is to try them out.