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How Much Should I Be Spending in PLA?


Ever since Google Shopping moved to a fully paid marketplace and lumped all of that traffic into the Product Listing Ads (PLA) program in Adwords, retail marketers have been wondering if they are getting as much traffic as they should from PLA.  We get this question quite a bit here at DataPop and I wanted to share what we've seen and heard from retail marketers of all types.

We have split the world into 4 key types of retailers for simplicity:

  • Well Known Brand, SEM Traffic Mostly Head/Brand Terms: PLA is 5-15% of Adwords spend
  • Unknown Brand, SEM Traffic Mostly Head Terms: PLA is 20-30% of AdWords spend
  • Unknown Brand, Long Tail Account: PLA is 30-50% of AdWords spend
  • Well Known Brand, Long Tail Account: PLA is 40-70% of AdWords spend

While the optimal level of spending should vary from marketer to marketer, the thing that should jump out at you is the huge levels of traffic that some retailers are seeing from PLA. Many are getting more than half of their Google traffic from PLA, less than 6 months after Google launched the program.  This shows how much retail marketers need to be focusing on this channel moving forward, as Google continues to optimize and expand distribution. Additionally, retailers should do their best to optimize their bids, budgets, and strategies across SEM and PLA as opposed to in silos.  That way they can guarantee that their AdWords spending is globally efficient, not just each channel independently.


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