Google is testing an unusual new Product Listing Ad (aka shopping ad) and it is the largest ad that has ever appeared in their search results. The PLA is a cross between a Knowledge Panel and a PLA and it completely dominates the right hand side of the search results for the searches it appears on.
It has the sponsored tag at the top, followed by the product name and the number of stars and reviews the product has. It also has a product image. Then it lists the stores that the product is currently available at through PLA listings. They also include details about the condition and pricing – note “refurbished” and “used” for the product condition for some listings, and the addition of “free shipping” and “no tax” since it reflects additional costs to the price listed.
The way Google lists the pricing in these makes it much more obvious which options are the less expensive ones, so advertisers will probably have to ensure they have the least expensive option if they take advantage of this new format.
Then comes elements you’d normally see in a knowledge panel – such as all the product specs. Then they add reviews at the end as well as listings of similar products, the reviews link leads to a page like this:
Here is how it appears within the search results so you can get a scope of the size in comparison to the regular AdWords and organic search results.
This appears to be in testing in the US. Here is how shopping ads normally appear for the same search:
They only seem to be triggered by very specific product searches. While searching for Keurig 2.0 brought up the PLA / knowledge panel, searching for just Keurig brought up the normal PLAs like this one:
I am sure advertisers will love these new PLAs, but from a user perspective, they certainly do dominate the search results. And regular AdWords advertisers would find it hard to compete with regular AdWords ads when one of these is displayed instead.
It is nice seeing Google testing out various formats to see what not only performs best for advertisers but offers a good user experience too. And these new PLAs do give users a ton of information that many would find useful, since it is in a knowledge panel style format that many searchers are familiar with. So it is really a cross between advertising and useful content to users.
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