Google India introduces product ads, targets online retailers

Google has unveiled what seems like a winner for the search company — rich, targeted ads from online retailers next to search results.

The new service, called ‘Product Listing Ads’, is far more sophisticated and ‘compelling’ than the link-based ads that used to appear till now. Not only are these richer in information, but in a key addition, the ads will feature the picture of the product.

What may upset some is that the ads really appear more like results from its ‘image search’ feature and may be mistaken for genuine results.

However, there will be a small ‘sponsored’ tag on the top right of these ‘results’, helping the keen of eye distinguish the ads from actual search results.

It is, however, without doubt that the service will turn out to be a money spinner for the company as such a strategic placement (click on picture above) is likely to increase click-throughs. Many users are likely to click on a photograph than a ‘blue link’ of a website.

The move is likely to make life harder for some e-commerce companies that had ensured high ranking in Google’s ‘organic’ search features by tailoring their website to match search requirements. To maintain their traffic from Google Search, they will now have to pay to be listed in the ads category.

Another interesting move is that Google has disabled its original, non-paid product listing service — Google Shopping Search. As a result, many users who were using the Product Search feature to locate the cheapest vendor of a particular mobile phone or TV have now been left at the mercy of third-party websites whose search capabilities are much inferior to that of Google.

“Everyday, millions of shoppers use Google search as a starting point to research and discover products to purchase online and offline. To better serve these shoppers, Google India is introducing a new ad format in India called Product Listing Ads. This new format connects users to rich product-information such as product images, price and brands.

“Starting today, we’re excited to announce that Product Listing Ads will appear on shopping-related queries on This ad format will help users easily find and compare relevant products and prices — with clear product images and links to fine tune what they’re looking for,” Google India said.

Product queries account for a huge chunk of Google’s overall search volume.

“Product Listing Ads are a great opportunity for merchants to present their business and promote their products to interested shoppers as well,”

“With Product Listing Ads, merchants can increase the quality of their leads by showcasing what exactly is for sale and at what price, helping shoppers make informed purchase decisions,” it added.

For a given shopping-related search, the Product Listing Ads unit will feature listings from several advertisers. The unit could include two or more listings from the same merchant. Product Listing Ads may also show alongside text ads

Google said merchants won’t need to use keywords. “Product Listing Ads are matched with commercial searches using the information you provide in your Merchant Center account.”