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PLA & generic queries

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# 1
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As most advertisers are seeing, my PLA campaigns are taking up more of my overall budget compared to Search. One problem I'm seeing though is that the products I sell are very specific, but the queries are very generic upper-funnel terms. This leads to quite a large disconnect from what the user typed to a very specific SKU/product landing page that they are directed to and I'm seeing this with very high bounce rates and low engagement.


If an advertiser is selling electronics, apparel or jewelry, PLA works great because the user can a) see and shop by comparing price & image and b) may know exactly which product they're looking for, and this can be confirmed by seeing product specific queries with model #s for example (ie: iphone 6 leather case). But for the commodity goods that I'm selling, such as dry wall, the image isn't doing much justice, and the users are typing in very generic terms such as 'decks', but are being served a specific SKU that is selected within my feed, the users are coming thru to the site and bouncing because the selection wasn't there. PLA can't be sent to a results page as well which is a problem.


So the question is, what are you seeing in your PLA search terms and if they're discovery keywords like I'm seeing where the user really isn't SKU specific, how are you tackling it as the industry is moving more towards Shopping and away from traditional search?

2 Expert replyverified_user

Re: PLA & generic queries

Community Manager
# 2
Community Manager
Hi Johnny,

I'm not sure who your question was originally intended for, but first off, I'll say that Shopping ads are not for everyone, or every industry. They make more sense for some industries than others, like you said. So I suppose my overall advice would be that if it's not bringing you a better ROI than a regular search campaign does, it is probably worth reallocating that budget.

That being said, one way to tackle the issue you mentioned of broad, research-based queries costing you clicks is to implement a more robust negative keyword strategy. You can use match types on negative keywords just like you can on positive keywords, so setting a negative keyword of exact match [deck] would prevent you from showing for searches which are so broad.

Perhaps that example is too limiting--I don't know how much traffic you usually see on a search like that--but it's something to try.

Hope this helps,
Marked as Best Answer.
Accepted by Mini-CM (Community Manager)
December 2015

Re: PLA & generic queries

Top Contributor
# 3
Top Contributor
there are likely at least three techniques to help tackle the issue:

(1) judicious and careful use of negative-words --
this may require reworking the campaign structure.

(2) optimizing all attributes submitted -- by either
removing irrelevant values or adding more relevant
values that allow google to better match the item,
in terms of relevance and quality, when short-tail
search-terms are being used.

(3) submitting more accurate or better quality images may sometimes help.

that said, product-listing-ads are simply
not a good fit for certain types of items --
as has already been indicated.

Re: PLA & generic queries

Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
# 4
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Thanks for both replies.

Sorry if I didn't explain my situation correctly. Negative keywords aren't necessarily the play here because it's not that I'm driving unqualified traffic - my account maintains very high quality scores and we maintain almost 70% impression share in a very important industry. It's more-less tied to the inherent problem that people are in a state of discovery but the way PLA functions is by serving a product display page.

First off, is it mandatory to have a PDP served as the destination? I've mentioned to my Google team and they are researching whether or not I can serve results pages so long as it adheres to the rules of displaying price points, images and descriptions.

I guess a question could be, if you were a travel advertiser, how would you use PLA if you had a feed of all your hotels in Europe listed as products, and a large volume of your queries came from terms such as "hotels in barcelona" - if users are typing in that query and clicking on your ad they're being served a single specific hotel, rather than being offered a selection. Or is this just inevitable with Google Shopping - that it will lead to less engagement than Google Search but may be worth doing because it's less competitive.

Re: PLA & generic queries

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 5
Top Contributor

first, you're welcome.

currently, google decides the format and display details of all
product-listing-ads, both outside and inside of google-shopping.

generally, the compare-prices feature is dynamic based on the
search-terms used, other options on google-shopping selected
by users, a user's search history over time, and the accuracy and
relevancy with respect to the physical item, of all data submitted --

including attributes not displayed, such as global-trade-data.

for example, longer-tail search-terms tend to show specific individual
items while shorter-tail, less specific, search-terms tend to show items
grouped under compare-prices with a representative summary of the group.

negative-words can sometimes help in this regard --
by stopping items from participating in the auctions
for shorter-tail search-terms and therefore less likely
to group such items within compare-prices.

however, searching for your own items does not necessarily show
what all others are seeing -- display details may change based on
a user's search history and other user-specific factors.

that said, google continuously updates and experiments with
product-listing-ad display, format, and groupings -- so such
details may change at any time.

product-listing-ads and google-shopping are mainly for fixed-price items
where the item-offer is for one, single, item or bundled-offer and the site's
link landing-page shows the one, single, for-sale item-offer with a single
matching price with a single add-to-cart button that exactly matches the
submitted item-offer details.

of course, google is the final arbiter of all policies.

there are certainly other campaign-types and ad-formats that exist
and might be a better fit -- depending on what is wanted in terms
of ad display details, the current website, and the business's goals,
objectives, and budget with respect to marketing and advertising.

Re: PLA & generic queries

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
@Celebird - awesome thorough update. Thanks for explaining how ad formats in the SERP work at auction.

Could you elaborate on your comment below:

for example, longer-tail search-terms tend to show specific individual
items while shorter-tail, less specific, search-terms tend to show items
grouped under compare-prices with a representative summary of the group.

Could you elaborate on how compare-pricing works? Or simply explaining the difference between long tail queries vs short tail queries (the queries I'm seeing) and how Google chooses amongst them.

Re: PLA & generic queries

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 7
Top Contributor

first, thank you.

generally, google will show ads that are relevant
with respect to a user's intent and context, based
on how a user searches and other algorithmic factors.

short-tail search-terms are simply shorter, usually more generic, words

that a person may use when searching -- short-tail search-terms are

typically used if a person does not quite know what specific product

or mechant they want.
e.g. drills

long-tail search-terms are simply longer, usually more specific, words or

phrases that a person may use when searching -- long-tail search-terms

are typically used if a person knows more exactly what specific merchant

or product they want.
e.g. used 12 volt hitachi peak driver drill

shorter-tail search-terms (queries) tend to show less relevant results
while the longer-tail search-terms tend to show more relevant results --

that said, the outcome in the auctions can still be greatly influenced

by the optimization techniques that were previously mentioned.

compare-prices is simply a dynamic feature that google has added under
google-shopping to group identical products sold by multiple merchants --
the groupings are based on how a user searches and the related, relevant,
attributes and values submitted by a merchant, for a specific physical item;
especially the manufacturer's global-trade-data (gtin, mpn, brand).


the compare-prices feature has so far not been available within
search-engine-results-pages -- but google may change how ads

are displayed, grouped, or formatted, or add or remove features,

at any time.