March 25, 2019

New from Google Shopping: Comparison Listing Ads

The new Comparison Listing Ads (CLA) service from Google Shopping signals a potential change in PPC eCommerce advertising. What do you need to know?

Google have unveiled a new option for Google Shopping users in the CSS Program – sites offering Comparison Shopping Services in Europe.

Comparison Listing Ads will allow these sites to create full product listing pages on their own website and advertise them through a second carousel on general search pages. These pages will list every relevant product promoted by the agency.

Search users clicking through to these lists will be browsing products from only one site’s affiliate companies, making a profit for the site more likely.

Users will be able to toggle between the Product Listing Ad carousel and the Comparison Listing Ad carousel.

CLA ads must be associated with groups of products. Google recommend CLAs begin with large product sets (every product in a given category, which might be hundreds or even thousands), narrowing down to smaller groups based on results.

CLA and PLA auction bidding are separate.

What Does This Mean?

There are a few key takeaways from this new service for anyone currently using Google Shopping to promote their products.

On the one hand, Google have noted that CLAs will be prioritised if product groups are larger. (“The more ads you create and the more products they feature, the better the chances are for your ads to appear in response to many different types of queries.”)

On the other, as they also recommend starting with “hundreds or thousands” of products in a set and gradually transitioning to smaller groups, it’s far from clear how many products should be featured for best results.

CLAs can give a CSS almost a lock on a sale once someone’s clicked through to them – but with the CLA carousel behind the PLA carousel by default, what percentage of the audience will do that?

Lastly, CLAs represent a new option, and many sites will be preparing to trial them. This means that, at least for a while, competition on PLAs may be lower. If that happens, effective cost for PLA clicks may drop – with knock-on effects on which auctions you win.