Advertisers Clicking Buy Button on Google Shopping Ads

Units’ share of search budgets up 600 percent in Q4, per Marin Software

Two weeks ago Adobe published findings showing that Google’s Product Listing Ads are doing well among retailers. Now Marin Software is backing those claims with findings across all of its customers, not just retailers.

Marin manages more than $4 billion in online ad spend for its clients, and during the fourth quarter of last year, the company saw the share of search budgets going to PLAs jump nearly 600 percent. That’s good news for Google as it looks to cut off an increasingly aggressive Amazon.

Product Listing Ads are “Google’s attempt to tie itself closer to retailers and in effect face off against Amazon. It’s a response to people who navigate directly to Amazon,” said Marin Software founder and CEO Chris Lien.

PLAs’ share of total search clicks has jumped by 210 percent, and the units’ impression share rose by 60 percent in the fourth quarter, according to Marin. That makes perfect sense. The shift of Google Shopping to a paid model oriented around PLAs alone should have boosted their presence and performance. Then consider that retailers and many other advertisers devote the bulk of their budgets toward the fourth quarter holiday shopping season. Plus in looking at Google’s search results pages, “it’s clear that Google has been increasing the visibility of these ads,” Marin Software vp of marketing Matt Lawson said. Nonetheless the results Marin has seen weren’t a given when the Google Shopping shift was announced last year.

“If you look back to last summer when [the move to paid-only listings in Google Shopping] was announced, there was concern as to whether or not retailers would invest at all and whether the [PLAs] would be comprehensive enough in results to make them interesting to consumers. This validates that the investment happened and consumers are still seeing value,” Lawson said.

PLAs notched a higher average clickthrough rate at a lower average cost-per-click, according to Marin, though specific numbers were unavailable. By comparison, Adobe saw that PLAs led to a 34 percent higher CTR than standard Google text ads and negligible difference in CPC.

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