Google’s Product Listing Ads (PLAs), may narrow the revenue gap between SMB’s and enterprise businesses as they are more focused on the product being sold, instead of the company selling it.

Even with a variety of tools, such as analytics, social media and email marketing, larger businesses still having an advantage over their smaller competition. They tend to have more resources, bigger marketing budgets and a larger staff, which enables them to create better websites, respond to customer concerns more quickly and have better advertisements.

Elizabeth Marsten is the director of Search Marketing at Portent and author of the e-book “Product Listing Ads for Everyone Else.” She spoke to CMSWire about PLAs and why they are a valuable resource for SMBs.

What are PLAS?

PLAs, which were launched about a year and a half ago, are ads that appear when someone searches for products on or Based on the item that is searched a customer will see pictures of the item, its price and the store name. When the ad is clicked the user will be redirected to the full ad and see a button that's linked to the company's official website.

Google wants the most unique experience they can give you when you shop," says Marsten.

As for businesses, in addition to posting their products, they can also use the service to track and monitor their progress with tools like Product Targets, which shows how far an item is from a pre-determined goal and the Auto Targets tab, which monitors group performance.

In order to use PLAs, a business needs to be signed up for both a Merchant Center account and an Adwords account, as tools from those services are used along with the PLA tools. Ads and campaigns are managed through Adwords and product information is managed through the Merchant Center.

The PLA Experience

As was mentioned, many small businesses often struggle with trying to compete against larger corporations. Says Marsten:

Larger companies have more resources and they have developers, but someone with 10 products can compete with them as long as they push their products accordingly [with Google PLAs], such as putting them into proper categories, having right name, having a good description and filling in all the right attributes to show Google what they have.”

In using PLAs, smaller businesses have the chance to become successful and profitable because unlike text ads, PLAs don’t use a keyword selection or bid aggregation to give one ad priority over another. It focuses more on the details and ad quality when presenting and ranking products.