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After the launch of Product Listing Ads by Google last year marketers faced quite a few problems. As with other Google launches PLAs had a fairly steep learning curve. During this time countless mistakes were made by marketers. However, today sufficient time has passed and we are now able to crystallize the best practices in PLAs. Here are some common mistakes you may do in PLA and how to avoid them.

Same feed for PLA as other CSE

Comparison shopping engines are category driven and not content driven. In case Google does not notice valuable content in your ads it is less likely to be served. Instead of focusing on categorization by product and services make sure you have content with commonly searched terms.

Few product targets

Most marketers use a single product to represent a large product group. Since all the products in your portfolio have different characteristics, margins, and buyers, you either bid too high or too low. Google bots do not understand individual products and cannot differentiate between two similar products so they serve a product from your range that they feel best answers the query. Instead include as many products and brands as you can.

Not including negatives in PLA campaigns

This is similar to putting all your keywords in one bunch without including negatives. In such a case Google cannot match queries with your product and dishes out what it feels is relevant to the query.

Go over your SQR to identify bad matches and negatives. Decide products that can show for specific targets and also set up ad group level negatives to block products that don’t match from showing up.

Duplicate product descriptions and titles in feed

Having same descriptions and product titles confuses Google. Google thinks that it is the same product. To avoid this make titles and product descriptions as unique as possible.

Uncommon product names

As marketers you want to attract customers that do not know your product or brand. To avoid this add common search characteristics to your product name so that you can attract customers that do not know your product or brand.

One campaign and budget for all PLAs

This reduces flexibility and lessens productivity. Instead have separate PLAs for different products.

Product target overlap

When many products fall into several other product categories Google has no option but to dish out what it feels best. Refine your targeting strategy so that all your products fall in unique categories so that you get enough coverage.

Product and merchant promotions

Merchant promotions and product promotions promotes your products over your competitors. This feature is now in the beta testing stage so try it out, you won’t be sorry.

Lack of unique images

Most marketers use the same image that is supplied by the original manufactures. This results in the same image being available on several feeds, at times your competitors are also using the same image. Instead test several images and find out which one is unique and tells your story accurately. Use that image.

Unnecessary codes in product titles

Searchers are looking for product information and instead they get is a series of slashes, codes, and other symbols of encoded information. Clean up your feed. Google has a specific place for all such information. Place all such codes in that slot.

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