The latest ad format to be added to Google AdWords is called a Product Listing Ad. This new ad type will be of particular use to online retailers who have a Google Merchant Center account.
In addition to traditional sponsored links, users will soon be able to view lists of targeted products, retailers offering those products, their prices and a product image when they search for shopping related terms on Google.
The best part of this ad format is that it is based on a Cost-Per-Action (CPA) pricing model. This means that the merchant only has to pay Google when a user clicks on his ad and completes a purchase on the site.
Product Listing Ads will be especially useful to merchants selling a large variety of products. Advertisers don’t actually need to create any additional ad text or keywords.
Whenever a user enters a search query relevant to an item in an advertiser’s Google Merchant Center account, Google will automatically show the most relevant products along with the associated image, price and product name.
While this new system would make it very easy for merchants to advertise all their products on Google, it could also take control away from the advertiser. Google has not currently specified any details about how participating retailers will be able to specify CPA bids or exclude certain products from being included in Listing Ads.
The service is in beta at present, but will gradually be made available to more and more advertisers. The launch has been timed to gain popularity very quickly, with the approach of the holiday shopping season.