Optimizing AdWords Product Listing Ads

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m kind of in love with AdWords Product Listing ads. Right now, you can get a pretty decent cost per conversion at a much lower CPC than what you’ll normally get on the search network. All it takes is a thorough data feed and a little ingenuity. But, due to the newness of the product, there aren’t a lot of levers you can pull to optimize your product listing ads. In this post, I’ll cover some of the things you can do to tweak your Product Listing Ad performance.

Before you get started, I’ll assume that you’ve done the following things:

  1. Your Product Listing Ads (PLAs) are in a separate campaign from your search and display network campaigns.
  2. Each product category in the PLAs is in a separate ad group within the campaign.
  3. Ensured that each of the entries in your data feed has accurate, up-to-date data.

If you didn’t do either of those, go back and start over.

Once you have a decent structure set up with quality data in the feed, let ‘er rip and gather some data. Once you have about a week or two of data, you can optimize based on the data you gathered. Your best tool for this is going to be the good old Search Query report out of AdWords. Search Query Reports – they’re not just for keywords anymore!

To run a search query report for your PLA campaign, go through the same path that you would for any other campaign:

1. Select your campaign and click on the “Keywords” tab.

Product Listing Ads Keywords Tab

2. Click on the “Keyword Details” drop-down and select “All” under the Search Terms header.

Product Listing Ads Search Query Report

Once you complete these two simple steps, you’ll have a wealth of keyword data. You can then use this keyword data to in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Adjusting your ad group level bids based on cost, conversion, and average position data you get in the search query report
  • Adding negative keywords to filter out queries that are driving cost, but not conversions.
  • Removing entries from your data feed that are not converting
  • Adding entries for under-served queries that are converting, but do not appear in your product feeds.

There’s a lot you can do with this data, so be sure to run your search query reports frequently!

Aside from the search query reports, you can also do some data optimization within your feeds. Look for your most popular terms in your search query report and do some searches on Google Shopping for competitive analysis. Take a look at the information your competitors have in their ads. Do they have a nice picture? An attractive price point? A compelling description? If your PLA sucks in comparison, you probably need to fix the data in your feed. It’s easy to dismiss data feeds as being boring and tedious, but there really is a lot of opportunity to spice them up. Don’t just do a lot of bulk copy and paste – look at each individual entry to make sure it is as good as it can be for that particular product or keyword. If you can look a lot better than your lazy competition in the PLAs, you’re going to be much more likely to get that customer.

I’m sure there will be more developments in the PLA space as Google continues to improve this new product. Stay tuned for more updates on how to optimize your AdWords Product Listing Ads.

About Shawn Livengood

Shawn Livengood is a search engine marketing professional based in Austin, Texas. He has extensive experience managing pay-per-click ad campaigns for clients in various industries, from small home-based businesses to large international companies. You can connect with Shawn on Google+.
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