As all digital marketers know, being on the first page, specifically in the first three listings, is like winning a Golden Ticket. Seriously, who clicks beyond the 1st or 2nd now-a-days? According to the most recent reports, 92% of all Google traffic stays on the first page and 4.8% continue on to the next page. To capitalize on the click trend, marketers added Paid Search into their strategies to increase their real-estate.
As Paid Search is a paid product, Google made room for the results by kicking out a few organic listings from the mix on the first page, making PPC even more essential for brands to utilize. As Google started including sitelink extensions, location listings, pictures, and other additions to the first results page, digital strategies became less dependent on basic organic-side tactics but more of an accumulation of additions
Once again, Google is further changing the dynamic with Product Listing Ads. Once a free program, PLAs are becoming one of the most important campaigns in a retailer’s search strategy. These ads are not only adding to a brand’s presence and driving conversions, but they are now showing above PPC ads in various instances. The reporting for PLAs in regular campaigns is not as extensive as that of PPC keywords and, without seeing an average position or rank type metric on the Google page in-comparison to other bidders in the space, marketers cannot truly see where and by how much they need to scale bids to achieve optimal results.
The PLA reporting conundrum is genius
Google used to be a search engine but now, as the analogy goes, Google is to a search engine as Amazon is to book store. Google is evolving into an engine that solves searcher’s questions with increasingly paid programs over natural results. If brands are not already incorporating paid programs into their mix, they are missing out on traffic and need to start as soon as possible to keep up with the curve. For those who are already involved in the space, the ramp up of PLAs, combined with interchanging paid ad formats on the top results page will, yet again, substantially change digital strategy for moving into 2014.