Product Listing Ads (PLAs) are a versatile ad format which uses the information in your existing Merchant Center product feed to create and display ads. PLAs include a picture of your product, its title, price, description, your business name and information, and an optional promotional message. These ads can appear on multiple mediums, including Google search partner websites, separate from text ads on Google Search, and on Google Shopping (Google).
Essentially, Google’s Product Listing Ads are now Shopping Campaigns. Originally, PLA campaigns functioned independently – but as of August 2014, Shopping campaigns now encompass PLAs entirely. Google retired its “AdWords grouping” and “AdWords labels” and introduced custom labels. With these new labels you can subdivide products within your campaign, using up to 5 labels per product. Shopping campaigns now include a bid simulator, which provides “more actionable insight into your PLAs” that can provide an estimate for how your clicks, costs, or impressions might be impacted by bid changes (Search Engine Watch). This bid simulator takes the mystery and guesswork out of the bidding process, making bid adjustments more efficient and increasing CTR.
A number of new features in Google Shopping campaigns are designed to make managing PLAs simpler and more effective. Shopping campaigns allow advertisers to control PLAs in mass by creating multiple ad groups within a campaign. PLAs allow for higher click through rates for e-commerce companies, better qualified leads, and direct connection between your Merchant Center data feed and AdWords. With Shopping campaigns, the potential for more than one of your PLAs to display for a given search creates broader reach.
For more information on Google Shopping campaigns, watch this tutorial video.