Google is in the process of testing a new search feature involving Product Listings Ads (PLAs). The change comes in the form of a small arrow located in the bottom right corner of the product display panel. Clicking on this arrow allows users to expand the PLA listings to a second row, causing the number of PLAs shown to go from 5 up to 16. This expansion of the PLA section at the top pushes down organic and paid listings.
One possible reason for this increased focus on PLAs is Google’s attempt to become a full service marketplace. The expanded PLA section offers more information and options, giving users the knowledge they need and saving them from having to click to another site.
Currently, the expanded PLA section is being tested and hasn’t been officially rolled out. If it is, it will result in several implications:
- PLAs will become more important on the whole. They will take up prime real estate as the top result in product searches, instead of paid ads or organic results.
- The expanded list feature has the opportunity to turn PLAs into one-click conversion mechanisms, giving users exactly what they need without having to scroll down through the rest of the results.
- For brands who find themselves ranking lower in organic and paid results, it will provide an opportunity to be viewed right at the top. However, the negative implication of this is that top ranking brands will have their organic and paid ads pushed down the page, and will no longer be the first thing a user sees after searching.
- It’s also important to note that the new layout will increase competition among PLAs. There will be 16 PLA results shown side by side, and differentiating your PLA may take time.
At this point in time, the changes to the Product Listing Ads section have not been implemented across the board. Brands and marketers should keep an eye on Google’s layout changes, and be prepared for the possible rollout by increasing the focus on current PLAs.
We will be keeping an eye on this and will update you as more information on a possible roll out becomes available.