Google Product Listing Ads are now being offered to all advertisers over the coming week. They are a way for advertisers to give Google a feed of products, have images of those products appear in the ads, and to pay on a cost-per-acquisition basis.
Google has been offering the ads since last year, in a closed beta test involving about 800 advertisers. Now, anyone will be able to take part in the program. Advertisers see the option appearing within their accounts, some beginning today and everyone should have it by the end of the week.
The company expanded how often they appeared toward the end of last year. The ads are especially notable in that they show images of products. In the example below, you can see “traditional” AdWords that lack images at the top, while the arrow points to the new format:
In a roundtable discussion with the press today at Google, where I’m currently at, Google provided an update about the ads. Some highlights:
- They’re designed to be purchased on a CPA basis, where you pay only when a product is actually sold. However, CPC (cost-per-click pricing) is allowed.
- They’re designed for merchants to put in a product feed, and Google will automatically use that to trigger the ads against keywords it determines.
- One CPA price for all products can be given, or advertisers can set different CPA pricing for different products.
- Advertisers can pay on a percentage basis (IE, Google might get, say, 5% of a sale — or 2% – or 20%, whatever you set) or set cost basis (Google might get $2 per sale, $5 per sale, $20 per sale, etc). Added: Google has contacted us to clarify that only percentage basis is available for CPA ads.
Important point: only “managed advertisers,” larger accounts with ad reps, can bid on a CPA basis. Otherwise, they have to pay on a CPC basis.
Postscript: Here’s the Google blog post and here’s a video that shows how Product Ads work: