Google’s decision to eliminate free product listings in favor of paid Product Listing Ads (PLAs) for Google Shopping has reverberated through the ecommerce world. One consequence: online marketplace Etsy has decided to pay for its U.S. sellers’ products to be listed in PLAs through the rest of the year.
The ecommerce company, known for facilitating the sale and purchase of handmade and vintage items, fears the impact Google’s change would have on traffic over the holiday season, and doesn’t believe sellers would place such ads themselves. In its blog post, Etsy said it would be spending more than $250,000 on the effort. Additionally, Etsy says buying the ads will enable it to gauge the effectiveness of PLAs for items sold on the marketplace. Sellers can opt out of being included, if they’d like.
“Since this is a large investment for Etsy, we’ll be looking at the data to evaluate whether these purchased ads are successful in driving sales and bringing new members to Etsy, ” wrote Etsy product manager Frank Harris.
Currently, Harris said, the bounce rate when people land on Etsy from off site ads is greater than 50 percent, so the company will be experimenting with landing pages that feature a greater number of products. The additional products — beyond the one the person clicked on the ad to reach — will be those deemed to be similar. They could come from the same seller or from others on the site.
The landing pages also feature a banner explaining what Etsy is, given that folks searching on Google may be expecting new, mass-produced products, rather than handmade or vintage ones.
Etsy clearly classified the PLA effort as an experiment, and didn’t make any promises about continuing the program in the new year. The company said it was optimistic, but would watch the results carefully.