Google’s Product Listing Ads and location info from Maps are about to merge. The search engine has announced it will start allowing users to see close physical storefronts in their PLAs as well as ecommerce stores when searching for a specific product or service. So while the search used to deliver relevant ads for online listings, it will soon show a mix of nearby businesses and online stores selling the product.
While old online PLAs will act the same, local ones will take the user to a new storefront, which details the product, its availability, location, and store hours (think the info on Google Maps without reviews and ratings). The PLAs will be shown on all devices but are currently more prominent on smartphones. They are also currently in beta and only offered to a limited number of US retailers.
Changes for the marketer
More local PLAs mean smaller businesses will have a fighting chance when it comes to ad visibility. Although it is not completely certain whether local businesses will have priority over online stores, they are obviously going to push out some online-only spots. And as competition rises, Google will start raking in dollars from a segment of businesses that haven’t had a lot of ad spend – mom and pop stores.
Local businesses can update PLAs by uploading information to a local product feed in Google’s Merchant Center. Although the local ads are currently limited and the date of the full roll out is in question, store owners can prep with this list of information and requirements for local PLAs and submitting this form for participation in the program.
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