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Google Product Extensions Explained

June 2, 2010 1 comment

In November of 2009, Google made Product Extensions available to all US merchants.

…product extensions are a way for you to enrich your existing AdWords ads with more relevant and specific information. Product extensions allow you to use your existing Google Merchant Center account to highlight your products directly in your search ads. When your AdWords text ad appears, and your Google Merchant Center account contains products that are relevant to the searcher’s query, product extensions show the images, titles, and prices of your products in a plusbox under your ad.

There are two formats for Product Extensions, depending on the placement

Format 1: Top placement.  See it in action.

Format 2: Side placement.  See it in action.

This is a great opportunity for all merchants and Google as data  from Google and Rimm Kaufman Group has shown that Product Extensions increase click through rate (CTR).  With this new ad format, Google gets more clicks, which makes them more money, and the merchant gets more click throughs, which means more sales (assuming on site conversion remains constant – and no one has said anything to the contrary).

Product Extensions is an AdWords product which means that merchants are charged on a Cost Per Click (CPC) basis, as they would be for their normal AdWords ad.  A merchant is only charged when a searcher clicks through on a listing, not when a searcher clicks the + or – sign.

To get started with Product Extension ads, a merchants need to connect their AdWords and Google Merchant Center accounts.  This is done within Google Merchant Center.  Just click on Settings > AdWords and enter your AdWords Customer ID:

It might take 24hrs for the hookup to take effect.

What most merchants don’t realize, though, is that there are important ways to control and target the Extension ads

What’s more, product extensions give you the option to prefer which products are displayed when a user’s query triggers your ads. For example, you may sell dozens of laptop computers but you want to promote the newest or best selling inventory using product extensions when a user searches for ‘laptop computer’ on Google.com. By making a simple addition to your Merchant Center account, you can easily control the products that display for certain queries. Of course, you can always use automatic targeting, and let AdWords determine the most relevant products in your account to a user’s query.

This targeting takes place by adding attributes to the Google Merchant Center data feed.  We strongly encourage you to read the directions here.  Here are the accepted attributes:

-adwords_queryparam

-adwords_prefer_for_query

-adwords_redirect

The adwords_prefer_for_query is especially powerful as it allows a merchant to target the exact offer for a specific query.

Product Extensions, like Product Listing Ads, are part of Google’s Ad Formats initiative (video or text).

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