The momentum of Google’s PLA program didn’t slow after the holidays. After seeing Google Product Listing Ad traffic jump 82% in Q1 over Q4, CPC Strategy followed up its latest quarterly review of top CSEs with a closer look.
The agency hadn’t been surprised to see the 87% increase in PLA traffic in Q4 over Q3 as Google’s pay-to-play program ramped during the holiday season. However, the huge traffic spike from Product Listing Ads that occurred after the holiday shopping rush did catch them by surprise. Bucking the typical trend of CSEs (and e-commerce in general), paid Google Shopping traffic nearly doubled in post-holiday Q1 compared to Q4.
Clicks from PLAs have soared in large part because their exposure has increased as Google has replaced the free Google Shopping placements with the paid ads. Similarly, in a separate study, Searchmetrics found that Google Shopping results appeared 20% of the time in January 2012 but dropped to 5%, by the end of the year.
CPC Strategy shows revenue growth from PLAs outpacing the cost increases, even as the service matures and more merchants are competing in the auctions. Median costs for PLAs among their client set increased 21% in Q1 over Q4, while median revenue increased 30% over the same period.