Product Listing Ads – Part 3: Auto Targets

In the third and final installment of our PLA series we cover auto targets and tactics for making the most of them.

Be sure to also watch part 1 covering product identifiers and part 2 about optimizing PLA titles and descriptions.


Todd Bowman: Once you've optimized your feed for Google and you've provided all the data that is available to you in the recommended and the required columns, what now?

Now, you have to create your campaigns and your auto targets on the AdWords side. When you create your auto targets, you want to start with the all products target. It's a catch-all. It's a safety net that grabs all the products and makes them eligible for PLAs.

From there, you want to get more granular and let the data tell you the way to go. You can use the six columns that are available to create a target, which are ID, Brand, Condition, Product Type, AdWords Labels, and AdWords Grouping. Of those six columns, you can choose three values from those to build your actual auto target.

One of the key things with these auto targets is, as you get more granular, find those top products that are performing and continue building targets off of them. That's the way you're going to let the data tell you the way to go.

The other thing that you want to do is find a way to be dynamic with your auto targets. If you have a product on sale, you want to push the bids on that target, so you want to have an on sale version of the target and a regular version of the target.

For instance, if I have mattresses that I'm trying to sell, I may have a Sealy mattresses auto target that would be the brand is Sealy, the AdWords label is mattresses, but then I would also have an additional target that is brand Sealy, labels mattresses, and then also in the labels would be on sale. This way I could push the bids for all my products that are on sale, and since everybody's looking for a deal when they're looking at Product Listing Ads, I can push the ones that have a lower price and get a higher conversion rate out of them.

Once you've created your initial auto targets, remember your job's not done. You need to continue building auto targets based on what the data is telling you so you're always updating your account. Same thing with keywords and ad groups and ad copy, that's the way you're going to utilize your auto targets.

The other thing that you want to do with Google is utilize their merchant promotions. If you have promotions that are eligible, add those on there. It provides an additional road to your ad that says you have a special offer, which has increased click-through rates by 7% for sellers that are utilizing the merchant promotions.

Now, earlier I mentioned Bing product ads. Bing product ads is something that's in beta right now. It's a small beta. Their hope is to launch Bing product ads to everybody in Q1 of 2014. The great thing about Bing product ads is everything that I've said about Google will be the same for Bing product ads.

Bing is actually setting their system up so that you can import all of your targets from your Google AdWords account and also your Google feed, and they will do the mapping for you, as they say that Google feeds provide more information and eventually Bing will be able to utilize that information with their feed specs.

So as you get ready for this, make sure that you have a Bing feed and you're continuing to run your Bing Shopping account, and be aware that down the road product listing ads will be coming to Bing as they call them product ads, but it will be the same thing as Google and the management will be just taking your Google account and importing it into Bing will probably be the easiest way to launch it.

As I mentioned, Product Listing Ads are continuing to grow. Bing is launching their version of product ads very soon, and that will also grow very quickly. Product Listing Ads in the past may have been something that you could just set one all products target and manage it that way and it worked fine. But now as it's becoming a bigger deal, you want to make sure that you're continuing to look at the data, build new auto targets, and bid those auto targets appropriately to drive a higher ROI through your PLA programs.

At RKG we understand the importance of PLAs. We are continuing to be innovative in how we manage these accounts.

Thank you very much for your time today. If you have any questions about Product Listing Ads, please reach out to RKG, and we will help you wherever we can to maximize your ROI on your Product Listing Ads account.