PPC Buzz of the Week – Friday 1/22/10

For another week we’re going to focus on a single PPC topic, with this one coming up as a result of some interesting statistics surrounding one of our ecommerce PPC clients. This ecommerce client has been using the new Google Product PlusBox, or Product Extensions depending on who you ask, feature for AdWords ads with some rather surprising results.

We first blogged about the Product PlusBox feature in a PPC Buzz post back in August 2009, but this feature was still in beta at that time. Since then, Google Product PlusBox has come out of beta testing and is available to all AdWords advertisers. That being said, this DragonSearch client has been using the Product PlusBox feature for a few months now and just recently we’ve begun to notice not many searchers are viewing the extension.

For reference, in order to view the product extension a user must hit the “+” sign under the AdWords ad where it states “Show Products from ….” as displayed below. Please note this is not our client.

For our particular client, we examined the time period of December 1, 2009 until January 20, 2010 to determine the effectiveness these product extensions could be having on our client’s performance. This is what we discovered:

In addition, here’s some clarification on what all of these statistics mean:

Impressions – The number of times an ad displayed; regardless of if it includes a Product PlusBox or not

PlusBox Impressions – The number of times an ad containing a Product PlusBox displayed

PlusBox Show Rate – The percentage of overall impressions in which a Product PlusBox was included in the ad

PlusBox Expansions – The number of times the PlusBox was expanded to display the products

PlusBox Expansion Rate – The percentage of ads containing a PlusBox which had the PlusBox expanded. Simply PlusBox Expansions divided by PlusBox Impressions.

Overall Clicks – The number of clicks on an ad; regardless of if it included a Product PlusBox or not

Headline Clicks when ad Showed a PlusBox – The number of times the ad headline was clicked when an ad had the PlusBox feature

Headline Clicks after PlusBox Expansion – The number of times the ad headline was clicked after the user had expanded the PlusBox to display the products

Offer Clicks – The number of clicks on a product(s) within the PlusBox after it had expanded

Overall Click Through Rate – The percentage of overall impressions that resulted in clicks; regardless of if the ad included a PlusBox or not

Headline CTR when Ad Showed a PlusBox – The percentage of ads containing a PlusBox that resulted in a click on the ad’s headline. Simply headline clicks when ad showed a PlusBox divided by PlusBox Impressions.

CTR when PlusBox was Expanded – The percentage of ads which had the PlusBox expanded that resulted in a click; regardless of if the click was on the headline or product offer. Simply headline clicks after PlusBox expansion + Offer Clicks divided by PlusBox Expansions.

Looking at the statistics, it’s hard to believe that a Product PlusBox was only expanded 219 times out of 67,000 possible opportunities.

Is this a result of the feature not being very prominent in the ad itself, specifically being that it is at the very bottom of the entire ad, or the possibility searchers only pay attention to the headline of an ad most of the time?

It’s probably a combination of both, but this data does lend itself to support the point of a strong headline either making or breaking the performance of an ad(s).  Without a good headline, it doesn’t matter how many features you include within a paid search ad including the Product PlusBox.

Despite this low number of expansions, this data does not mean an advertiser should not use the Product PlusBox feature. In actuality, they should definitely use it given the chance. To support this encouragement, look at the statistic for “Headline CTR when Ad Showed a PlusBox” in comparison to “CTR when PlusBox Expanded”. When searchers saw the products being offered by expanding the PlusBox, click through rate increased drastically by over 12% compared to the click through rate of all ads displaying a PlusBox regardless of if the feature was expanded or not.

Simply put searchers that expand the PlusBox take the time read your paid search ad, know what they are looking for, and are more likely to convert on your site. This is your money making demographic. Now it’s your job to figure out their characteristics and tailor to their needs.

Until next week…Keep on Searching!

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