Google introduced automated extensions for shopping ads
Good news for e-commerce retailers using Product Listing Ads (PLAs). Google would now automatically select and feature ad extensions on shopping ads without any additional cost.

Google Adwords can now automatically find important information about your products and feature it to your potential buyers on Search Results. Like discounts, free shipping, special offers, combo discounts and more. These details would be collected automatically through your product feed data and featured along with the shopping ads as 'ad extensions'. The advertisers would have zero% involvement in setting up the extensions as everything would be automatic.

Reason behind this major change

Google highlighted that a promotional copy in the ads deliver better results. It has a direct impact on the click through rate of any advertisement campaign. While most of the advertisers were missing out on the opportunity by not adding extensions manually, Google decided automate it. These changes would help the advertisers to make their ads more effective without any extra effort or investment. Google has always been advocating the inclusion of 'bells & whistles' in the form of extensions to grab the attention of prospective buyers. So this update makes a lot of sense.

The other main reasons for this change could be Google's attempt to make shopping ads more dominant compared with organic and text Adwords listings. Which would naturally mean more advertisement revenue for Google.

Drawbacks of Automated extensions for shopping ads

While having an automated update for extension is a win-win situation for everyone, there are downsides of this feature that advertisers must be aware of.

First of all, it is not clear how Google would determine which ads will display the automatically selected extensions. If all of the ads show these extensions the Search Results might look cluttered and overwhelm the user with so much of information to compare and click. It is certain that Google would never want to confuse their users like this.

The main disadvantage of this feature would be for the smaller retailers who are not able to offer discounts, free shipping, or any such advantages to their buyers. With so many other market leaders showing flashy messages, they might lose the opportunity of getting enough clicks on their ads and therefore fewer sales.

How to stand out among all these attractive advertisements

The best way to compete with big players is to understand and follow what they are doing. If it is not possible to offer similar advantages to your customers like free shipping, you must think about revising your product price. Design attractive combo offers to increase your profit margin and then provide free shipping or discounted price. Another pricing strategy could be to adjust your pricing regularly and create illusion of having price drops on popular products during peak shopping periods.

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