Getting Started With Google Product Listing Ads

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We express our thanks to you for showing interest in this book on Google Shopping. With more than 100 pages, this great resource was created by inputs from SEMConsultants Google Shopping Guys who have years of CPC management experience. On top of that, this source contains research-based content which was carefully.

developed by using 6 years of Google Shopping data feed. This makes it the most thorough ‘online’ resource on the ‘subject’!

Quick definitions of Google Shopping and Product Listing Ads

The terms Google Shopping and Product Listing Ads are used interchangeably throughout the Articles. Both refer to the same thing – Google’s paid shopping ad program. This program comprises of Google Merchant Center dashboard, Google Shopping Data feed and Google AdWords’ Product Listing Ads campaign section.

What Are Product Listing Ads?

Product Listing Ads are cost per click (CPC) ads by Google that appear on Google’s Search pages on the top and the left hand side of the results. These ads are for merchants who want to advertise their products, which they can purchase online through AdWords. The following are the features that make it easy to identify Product Listing Ads:

1) Every ad features a product image, and

2) The ads are shaped out for products and product categories, not keywords

In the screenshot below where results for ‘yellow baseball bat’ are shown, the ads which have images are Product Listing Ads. It is easily noticeable that these ads have prominent product images.

When you click on one of these Product Listing Ads, Google takes you to the seller’s website. But if you click on the “Shop for yellow baseball bat on Google” link as shown in the snip, you are taken to the comparison page on Google Shopping.

You can get more information on ‘How Product Listings Ads work’ here:

In addition to Product Listings Ads, merchants can also sell their products using AdWords ads which unlike PLAs don’t have any images, they are simple text ads, and are keyword based. Just like PLAs, AdWords ads’ text is also highlighted by light background color.


Just like Product Listing Ads, AdWords ads are also a great alternative for online merchants to sell their products, and the best part is that both of these can be managed through a single AdWords login. However, in this guide we are only focusing on PLAs which have been observed to have had the most significant impact on the e-commerce campaigns. It is advised that before starting with either of these Google products make sure that you know the differences between Product Listing Ads and AdWords.


Ad Program

Fees Click Thru Targeting
Product Listing Ads Cost Per Click (CPC) for each ad click.*This is moderated by what you choose to bid on ad groups (for products and product categories) and what your daily budget is. Merchant Site Individual Products and Product Groups (e.g. Coat X, Coats, Coats over $40)
AdWords Ads Cost Per Click (CPC) for each ad click.*This is moderated by what you choose to bid on keywords and what your daily budget is. Merchant Site Product Keywords (e.g “Mens Coat”, “Coat”, “Mens Blue Coat”)

Should You List Products On Google Shopping?

For a beginner, it might prove a difficult task to decide whether to list or not on Google Shopping, here are a few tips to help you out:

Consider these main variables when deciding whether to list on Google Shopping:

  1. How many products do you sell?

It is advised that one should go for Product Listing Ads only if you sell 500 or more products, otherwise you might find it difficult to gain visibility on Google Shopping.

  1. What is your product category? Is it competitive?

If you are selling products that fall in categories like baby supplies, tools, furniture, and automotives, you should definitely list on Google Shopping as there is not much competition in these categories and chances of earning significant revenue are higher. But if you are selling products like Apparel – which get a lot of clicks – or some other competitive product, it is highly likely that it will be difficult for you to earn more through your PLAs campaign.


  1. How much can you spend on Google?

Though daily budget and bids vary from merchant to merchant, yet if you don’t want your ads to come down during the day, be ready to spend at least $1000. It is a worthwhile investment as it highly increases the chances of more profits on Google Shopping.

  1.  How much do you need to sell to make a profit on Google? (What’s the ROI you need?)

If you have strict margins, it is possible that you might have to consider a low daily budget. However, it totally depends on factors like the product-type you are selling, competition and of course your margins.

  1. What Is The Quality Of Your Site?

As a part of its algorithm, Google determines the quality of the merchant on the basis of the merchant’s site quality and links. It gets clearer through the more recent Penguin 2.0 (A webspam Google algorithm).Therefore, if your website is not up to the standards, it is possible that your performance on Google Shopping will be affected.

Reasons To List Your Products On Google Shopping Using Product Listing Ads


Google Shopping dominates when it comes to generating bulk traffic and profit for online sellers. This becomes more evident with every sales quarter, when we put together merchant data for shopping channel rankings based on traffic, revenue, conversion rate and similar variables. During the Quarter Q4 2012 and Q1 2013 Google’s traffic rose by 87%  Untitled

In addition to the lowest cost of sale (COS) and the highest ranked merchant tools, during the same period (Q1 2013), Google observed the highest conversion rate against other paid shopping channels, and the highest revenue.


Even, Google Shopping beats all the paid shopping channels when it comes to performance.

Reasons NOT To List Your Products On Google Shopping Using Product Listing Ads


Some merchants who have a brand new site or are just selling one product aren’t considered good enough for Google Shopping.

You may not want to list on Google Shopping if:

— You sell less than 500 products.

— Your products fall in highly competitive category.

— If your PLAs campaign budget is less than $1000

— Your site quality isn’t up to Google’s Standards


So if you find yourself up to the mark, don’t wait long get your products listed on Google Shopping. This Guide is your step by step key to do so!


If you are confused and don’t understand how Product Listing Ads work, or you are facing problems while setting up the campaign, you can get all the help here.


Below are the table of contents, click on the chapters to get started or just move on to the topic that will help you to move on. Also, after every chapter there is a ‘next’ button that leads to the succeeding chapter.


If you have any query related to Product Listing Ads, you can drop us a message in any of the forms on the pages, and we will try to reach you within 24 business hours.


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