Google PLAs: Testing scrollable carousel on desktop & numbered rankings for “best” products go live

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This week in Google PLAs, a new test launches, while one that was first spotted nearly two years ago rolls out across the SERPs.

Scrolling carousel on desktop

In what looks like the latest effort to bring desktop experience in line with that of mobile, Google is testing a scrollable carousel of product listing ads (PLAs) in the search results.

Spotted by Sushan Sharma, an arrow appears to the right of a PLA block that appears at the top of the mainline results. Once you finish scrolling, the arrow appears on the left side of the ad block.

google pla scrollable carousel

This treatment is similar to the scrollable PLA carousel that Google displays in mobile search results.

This, of course, is not the only test Google is running on PLA layouts on desktop. Earlier this year, an expandable variation that showed up to 16 ads was spotted by ChannelAdvisor.

Ranked PLAs for “top” and “best” products

Just yesterday, a test that first started in 2014 rolled out of testing. Now, when a search includes a qualifier like “top” or “best,” the product listing ads will most likely be numbered or ranked.

ranked numbered plas

Here’s what that looks like on mobile. Instead of numbers in gray circles, ads are ranked by 1st, 2nd and 3rd with bright blue flag icons — the same blue used in other page elements.

mobile plas ranked numbered

How does the ranking work? Google clarified on Twitter that on “best” product queries, first the top-rated products are selected to participate in the auction, where they then compete against each other for ad position. So the number one, or first ranked, ad isn’t necessarily the product with the best rating.

Google started incorporating ratings into PLAs in 2014. A quick refresher on what the company said at that time about ratings:

We believe these ratings will help differentiate products across google.com and google.com/shopping and will help merchants drive more qualified traffic through Product Listing Ads. In initial tests, product ratings also helped increase click-through-rates of Product Listing Ads.

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