Google is notorious for testing new features among bite-sized user segments. Just a few weeks ago, we spotted price comparisons within Product Listing Ads (PLAs). Lo and behold, Google recently dubbed the changes we spotted as “automated extensions for shopping ads.”
Automated extensions display information that shoppers find useful alongside your PLAs — such as free shipping costs or sale price figures. Sound familiar to promotional text (used to include additional ad copy in PLAs)?
The only difference is that automated extensions use existing information you’ve provided in your Merchant Center settings and data feed to display this info within your PLAs automatically. With promotional text ads, you had to manually enter the copy into AdWords.
Not only do these new extensions display in a digestible format for consumers and help differentiate your products, but they come at no additional work or cost for retailers. And the debut comes at an optimal time for retailers, as most are preparing to ramp up their holiday promotions soon.
Want one more piece of good news?
Google reported that automated extensions received better click-through-rates (CTRs) than promotional texts during testing. Score!
These results, coupled with Google’s belief that shoppers prefer the features of automated extensions over promotional text, have caused Google to make the decision to retire promotional text at the end of September 2015.
But no worries for those of you currently using promotional text — no additional action will be needed on your part. Your PLAs won’t be affected and will continue to reach shoppers searching on Google. However, if you want to highlight other offers aside from free shipping and sales prices, Google strongly encourages retailers to take advantage of its other shopping extensions — such as merchant programs, product ratings and trusted stores.
Blog post by Jordan Nowlin, social media and blog manager, ChannelAdvisor