The latest product listing ad (PLA) test by Google is a real estate play: Google is testing an expandable view of PLAs that takes the total number of ads in view from five to 16. It was spotted by the folks at ChannelAdvisor.
In the screenshot above, you’ll see the arrow icon in the lower right corner of the PLA ad block. Click on that, and the block of PLAs pushes the ads in the right rail and the mainline ads and organic listings down the page to take over the width of the results page and show two full rows of PLAs, as shown in the screenshot below (both from ChannelAdvisor).
I haven’t been able to replicate this test myself, but it’s certainly a sign that Google’s trying to find ways to get more out of these ads that have proved so successful. While click-through rates for individual advertisers may go down with the added competition, the added real estate has the potential to boost overall click volume on these units.
It should come as no surprise that Google keeps playing with PLA real estate on mobile and desktop — brand product cards and carousels, not to mention the expansion to YouTube. In its third-quarter report, Merkle RKG reported that PLAs accounted for 60 percent of non-brand ad clicks across its US e-commerce advertisers. The click-through rate on PLAs was 90 percent higher than on text ads. Ad spend on PLAs/Product Ads across Google and Bing increased 39 percent, and clicks rose 47 percent year over year. That compares to just 9 percent spend growth and a meager one percent click growth for text ads among Merkle RKG’s ecommerce advertisers.
You can read ChannelAdvisor’s blog post about the test here.
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