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Google’s Search Revenues Shift

Nearly seven in 10 marketers say PLAs perform better than paid search ads

April 17, 2014

Marketers are finding more success with Google’s Product Listing Ads (PLAs) than other types of paid search. In Q1 2014 data from Kenshoo, 69% of search marketing professionals worldwide rated the performance of PLAs as at least slightly better than paid search, with more than one-quarter of that group saying they were much better.

Performance of Product Listing Ads (PLAs) in Relation to Paid Search According to Search Marketing Professionals Worldwide, Q1 2014 (% of total)

The search giant is seeing a shift in revenue sources as a result of this success: 62% of marketing professionals worldwide had taken money from existing paid search budgets and put this toward PLAs instead.

Primary Source for Product Listing Ads (PLAs) Budget According to Search Marketing Professionals Worldwide, Q1 2014 (% of total)

That most marketers are simply moving ad dollars from regular paid search to PLAs is likely why IgnitionOne cited Google’s Enhanced Campaigns, not PLAs, as the main driver of the 8% year-over-year increase in US paid search ad spending in Q1 2014.

US Paid Search Ad Spending Growth, Q2 2013-Q2 2014 (% change vs. same period of prior year among impressions served by IgnitionOne)

While PLAs are drawing more attention, IgnitionOne noted that these won’t be replacing traditional paid search ads anytime soon, with both driving growth in the overall paid search spending space. In addition, paid search ads will likely improve their performance in the coming years, as Kenshoo found that 65% of marketers were using data collected from PLAs to better inform other paid search and cross-channel strategies.


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