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There’s been a lot of speculation over when Google will be taking its new-look Product Listing Ads live in the UK, well, it’s started already – as can be seen from the screen grab below taken yesterday.  Now that the biggest landmark dates are approaching, we thought it would be useful to give you the lowdown on these, and specifically, the changes which are in the pipeline.

January 2013

Google announces revised Shopping program policies.

Feb 04 2013

Google starts testing in the live environment in the UK.

Google Product Listing Ad February 2013
Google Testing New Format PLA’s


February 13 2013

Official launch day for the raft of changes. Google promises “visually cleaner results for shopping queries”, along with some new commercial formats, with products displayed in a single unit. Enhanced search capabilities will include filters to separate out products by brand or price. Larger images are also promised so that you’ll get a better idea of any product’s main features.

These new paid-for listing formats will be labelled as “Sponsored” and appear in the space currently occupied by AdWords ads.

Google Shopping Goes Global

February 15 2013

Discounts may be available for businesses advertising their products using the new format.

Whereas companies have until now been getting traffic referred to them for free, these visits will now be charged for. But as a trade-off and an incentive to persuade businesses to adopt the new format, they’re being offered a promotional credit of £75 to be applied to their Merchant Centre accounts, provided their account has been open since before December 1 2012.

The credit can be spent on Product Listing Ads placed between February 15 and June 30.

Apply for the credit

Further information – including troubleshooting information to help ensure that you receive the credit you are entitled to.

March 2013

At a date yet to be specified, Google Merchant Centre will issue revised specifications for product feeds. Advertisers need to get moving now, though, especially if they are going by reduced feed specifications for the purpose of showing product listing ads, because these will need to meet the same specs as for full feeds from March.

Summary of attribute requirements – March 2013

Making the migration to Google Product Listing Ads – advice on optimising Merchant Centre feeds for product listing ads.

Google Shopping: Building a better experience Google’s best practice guide includes advice on how to optimise your data. Read this before changing your feed.

April 12 2013

This is the final date for submitting applications for the £75 promotional credit.

By end of Q2  (approx 30th June)

The full changeover is expected to have been implemented – although there hasn’t been notification of an exact date.

Above all else, merchants need to be sure that their Product Listing Ads are ready to run as soon as possible. The discount is only to those merchants who create a Product Listing Ad campaign before 12 April 2013..

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Scott Reed

Commercial Director at Lakestar McCann

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