How to Use Product Listing Ads to Drive E-Commerce Sales

Eleanor Hecks • June 18, 2024


Driving e-commerce sales can be challenging, especially with fierce competition and ever-changing consumer needs. Organic marketing often falls short of capturing buyers’ attention. That is why many turn to the power of product listing ads (PLAs).

When set up correctly, PLAs can boost visibility and drive more traffic to your online store. However, it’s important to understand how to execute them correctly to maximize e-commerce sales.

The Key Components of Product Listing Ads

PLAs are highly visual and information-rich advertisements that appear directly on search engine results pages. These ads display your product’s image, price and other essential details, making them effective in reaching your target audience.

The key components of a successful product listing ad include:

  • Product image
  • Product title
  • Price
  • Product description
  • Store name
  • Ratings and reviews

Setting Up Your First PLA

Following the right steps will make the process smoother when creating your first PLA.

1. Choose Your Platform

Know which platform you plan to use , such as Google Shopping or Facebook Marketplace. Google Shopping is popular due to its wide reach and integration with Google search results. If you decide to use Google, you’ll need a Google Ads and a Google Merchant account to get started.

2. Create a Product Feed

A product feed is a file that contains all the information about your products, such as images, titles and descriptions. Most e-commerce platforms can generate this feed automatically, so ensure it is accurate and up to date.

3. Set Your Budget and Bids 

Determine how much you’re willing to spend on your PLA campaigns. Set a daily or monthly budget, then decide on a bidding strategy. You can choose manual bidding — where you set the maximum CPC (cost per click) for your ads — or automated bidding so the platform can adjust bids based on performance goals.

4. Launch Your Campaign

Organize your products into ad groups by theme or product type. This will allow for better targeting and ad management.

Before you launch your ad, review the campaign to ensure all the information is accurate. Upon launch day, you will want to monitor its performance regularly to make necessary adjustments.

Making Your Product Listing Ads Stand Out

The e-commerce market is expected to grow on average by 9.3% each year. With such a competitive market, ensuring your PLAs capture your potential customer’s attention is crucial. Some strategies that work effectively involve:

  • Enhancing visual appeal: Use high-resolution images to display your product. A simple white background with good lighting typically does the trick. However, all images should have a consistent style to maintain a professional look, as 76.5% of consumers use photography to support their purchase decisions.
  • Using compelling product titles and descriptions: The titles and descriptions should contain keywords your customers will likely use during their search. Also, the descriptions should be highly detailed and highlight key features and benefits so they understand why your product is the best choice.
  • Adding a sense of urgency and exclusivity: Incorporating a sense of exclusivity or urgency psychologically persuades customers to buy for fear of missing out. Consider offering exclusive discounts or highlighting limited stock availability. You can also tag in the PLA to feature its sale and use phrases in the description like “Sale Ends Soon.”
  • Leveraging customer reviews and ratings: Show customer ratings and reviews in your ads. High ratings and positive reviews build trust and influence purchasing decisions.

Optimizing Product Listing Ads

Optimization is key to maximizing the results of your PLAs. Some strategies to get the most out of them include the following.

Keyword Research

Use tools like Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush to find high-performing keywords related to your productions. These ensure your PLAs appear in relevant search results. Once you identify them, include them in your product titles, descriptions and other relevant fields of your product feed.

Using Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are terms for which you do not want your ads to appear. Including these is essential for preventing the ad showing in irrelevant searches. You can add them to refine your targeting, but ensure you regularly update your list to maintain ad relevance and improve ROI.

Monitoring and Analyzing Performance

Analytics help you monitor the performance of your PLA campaigns. Use Google Analytics or other tools to monitor KPIs (key performance indicators) such as click-through rates, conversion rates, return on ad spend and cost per conversion. This data can help you understand where to make adjustments, such as optimizing bids, refining targeting or tweaking ad content.

Boost Your E-Commerce Sales with Optimized PLAs

PLAs offer a powerful way to capture attention and convert browsers into buyers. Once you set them up effectively, you can implement strategies that impact your e-commerce performance noticeably.

Start Selling on Google & Facebook


Eleanor Hecks

Eleanor is the editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She’s also a freelance web designer with a focus on customer experience. Eleanor lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.

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