Product listing ads on Google are a great way to increase sales for your business and get your ecommerce brand in front of new eyes. However, there are a few best practices to keep in mind to ensure that your product listing ads are effective.

We'll cover what product listing ads are, how they work, and best practices to create product listing ads that drive sales.

What are product listing ads?

Product listing ads, also known as Google Shopping Ads, are a type of online advertising that promote specific products. They're primarily known for appearing in Google search results. But they also appear in Google's shopping tab, on YouTube, on the Google Display network, and partners' websites in the Google search network.

Google product listing ads are a way for companies to promote their products to shoppers who are likely to purchase the product.

They are an effective way to increase sales and revenue.

Product listing ads usually include:

  • A product image

  • The product's name

  • Price

  • The name of the retail brand selling the item

  • Ad extensions like product ratings, price drops, shipping annotations, and more.

How product listing ads work

Product listing ads are a great way to introduce shoppers to products they're likely interested in based on their search query.

They're displayed on a search engine results page (SERP) as a carousel of several ads near the top of the page. They're effective because they show up in searches where the shopper has a high intent to purchase.

It's a pretty straightforward process to launch Google Shopping Ads. You'll start by uploading your product data feed into your Google Merchant Center. Then, create shopping campaigns in Google Ads. Set your ad budget and determine where you want your ads to appear. Then launch your ad!

Check out this full guide to setting up product listing ads, but read on for best practices.

Best practices for product listing ads

Follow these best practices to get the most out of product listing ads.

1. Use high-quality images

Images are essential to any product listing ad, as they help shoppers understand what the product looks like. Use high-quality images that are clear and show off your product well.

2. Use descriptive and keyword-rich titles

Your ad's title should be descriptive to attract shoppers and also include relevant keywords. This will help ensure that your ad is shown to shoppers who are looking for products like yours.

3. Use ad extensions

Ad extensions offer additional information on your product listing ads that can incentivize a purchase or make your product stand out.

Extensions can be:

  • Special offers: Discounts, gifts, or offers for free shipping that customers can take advantage of by clicking on the ad.

  • Reviews & ratings: Your average star rating for the product advertised.

  • Local inventory notices: Highlight real-time stock in your brick-and-mortar shops with labels like "in-store" or "pick-up today."

  • Price drop or sale annotations: Labels on ads to highlight a deal.

  • Shipping information: Labels that describe an aspect of your shipping policy -- like "free shipping." Or logistical information -- like how long it will take for a customer to receive an item.

  • Return policy: Highlight your return window.

4. Add negative keywords to your campaigns

Negative keywords prevent your ad from showing up in search results for irrelevant search terms or searches with low purchase intent. Add negative keywords to your product listing campaigns to help save money on users who likely won't convert.

For example, say you sell luxury bedding. You might want to add "cheap bedding" as a negative keyword. Then, you avoid advertising to shoppers who aren't going to open up their wallets for high-end linens.

As you gather data from your campaigns, it's worth adding more negative keywords when you identify search terms where shoppers aren't clicking on your ad -- or do click but don't convert.

5. Divide listings into product groups

Product groups are manually defined subsets of your product catalog. They're used by Google Ads to set the same bid across the products within each group.

You don't want to set the same bid structure across all your products because you likely have different conversion rates, margins, and prices across your store.

6. Set your bid budget based on your product's price, margins, and conversion rates.

You don't want to lose money on your ads, so set your bid budget strategically.

Consider your product's price, margins, and conversion rate to set your ad budget. Don't go past an ad spend where you'll break even. But use that as a benchmark. Consider your business goals and set your budget lower than your break-even number. Then, watch your ads' performance and adjust your budget based on the results.

7. Test, test, test!

When setting up Google Shopping Ad campaigns, you'll want to test every aspect of your ads for maximal impact.

Test which images you use, whether they include a person or are a plain studio shot featuring just the product. Try out different copy in your product titles, bidding strategies, targeting options, and ad extensions.

Only test one aspect of an ad at a time so you can isolate what's causing people to click and convert. To determine ad success, you'll want to look at things like click-through rate, conversion rate, cost-per-click (CPC), and return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) in your Google Analytics account.

Supplement your ads with a solid retention strategy

Product listing ads on Google are an effective way to get your brand in front of shoppers who are likely to buy. But it's still expensive to acquire new customers. So it's important to create an effective retention strategy to keep them coming back and get more out of your initial ad spend.

You can supplement your ads with a variety of different tactics, including email and SMS marketing, loyalty programs, and personalization strategies. Use these marketing tactics to keep customers coming back and balance high acquisition costs with a strong customer lifetime value.

Next, read up on how to improve customer loyalty with conversational marketing.