Now that Christmas is fast approaching many retailers are increasing their AdWords media spend in order to try and attract as many targeted clicks as possible, and take advantage of those people searching for Christmas gifts.

The period leading up to Christmas can be the busiest time of the year for a lot of online stores and Google AdWords is obviously a great way to get your products in front of people that are searching for them, especially if you do not have the luxury of ranking highly in the organic search results for your chosen keywords.

With this in mind Google has taken it upon itself to improve its product ads feature to allow advertisers to include more images of the products they are selling within their ads.

Google claims that using the product ads extension leads “to more clicks, higher quality leads, and higher ROI for your search ads.  In fact, users are twice as likely to click on Product Listing Ads than on text ads in the same location for shopping queries.”

A couple of weeks ago Google announced the improvement that it has made to the feature; that it is allowing advertisers to display more products within one ad. So if your ad is positioned in the top ad section on the SERP you can now display up to 5 products at once.

So how do you set up product ads?

Firstly you must have a Google Merchant account with a product feed set up for the products that you would like to advertise.

Then you can link your AdWords account to your Google Merchant centre account within AdWords and create a campaign that you would like the products to show in. When in the selected campaign find the ‘Products’ link under ‘Ad Extensions’ and select the Google Merchant center account that contains your products and hit ‘Save’.

Then you can choose to just create a product listing or create one in connection to a text ad, by default Google will opt to show all products so if you would only like to advertise a targeted selection of products then you must ensure you set the product targeting options.

You can define groups of products to show by choosing attributes from your Google Merchant Centre feed such as brand or product type.

Google’s standalone product ads do not require any keywords or ad text to work, much like its dynamic ads so do be careful if you choose to use this feature. Also you must ensure that the data in your product feed in Google Merchant Centre is completely correct to give Google the best chance of automatically generating ads that are accurate.

Google’s argument for their success is that product ads are more eye catching and engaging so therefore receive a higher CTR than ads without product images. The clicks are also better quality as the user has been given more information about the product before clicking, so should be more likely to convert. As they say “a picture is worth a thousand words”, so allowing the user to see an image of the product before clicking the ad, should mean that they are interested in the product. Especially for items that cannot be described within the characters of a text ad such as clothing or swimwear for example.

Also, Google is allowing a select number of advertisers to pay for clicks on a CPA (cost-per-acquisition) basis which should hopefully be coming to the UK next year. This is a very interesting concept as advertisers will only pay for the click if it results in a sale.