Retailers Seeing 35% Higher Paid Conversions

A recent 2013 study featured on Search Engine Watch from MarketLive shows an increase in paid visits and conversion rate. The study shows an increase of 30% for paid ad visits with a 3% drop in organic visits.

As many e-commerce companies may know, Google has been testing their Product Listing Ad placement over the last several months in 2013. The Product Listing Ads first appeared in the top right of search results for product related keywords, sometimes blended with organic search results. Product Listing Ads (PLAs) are a link and image feed from Google Products. These listings were once free to all retailers. Google has since changed their policy to paid for PLAs. The example below shows just how much real estate now goes to paid or “sponsored” search listings.


Many product related searches that once returned organic text listings at the top, now display a list of PLAs under the top 2 Google pay per click sponsored search results. What this means for retailers is less “above the fold” real estate for organic search results. The PLAs push the top 10 (or 7) organic results further down the page, reducing the overall click through rate (CTR) of organic listings.


So what does this mean for SEO?

  • Less opportunity to drive organic visits as paid ads take up valuable page 1 clicks
  • Decreasing impact of “site links”, deep links for some sites
  • Keyword selection can be influenced by which keyword triggers different product ads

What does this mean for Advertisers?

  • Product advertising will become more competitive, likely drive higher bids
  • Search is becoming more of a pay to play marketing channel just like any other
  • Some advertisers may shift part of their ad spend to social

A More Balanced Strategy

Website owners that have relied on organic search as their primary (or only) means of acquiring customers are now forced to pay Google in order to compete with other websites. 2012 and 2013 has seen a greater focus on paid search for retailers. We do not expect this focus on paid results going away any time soon. It has become more important for retailers to create a paid search advertising and mobile advertising strategy. Without addressing mobile and paid search, many sites will continue to lose customers over time.

Google Product Listing Ads

Interested in starting Google product listing ads? Check out the video below.

Need Help?

If you are in the e-commerce business, now is the time to create a winning digital marketing strategy. Contact us today to learn how we can help.