Google has launched automatic item updates, a new feature to help prevent Product Listing Ads (PLAs) being disapproved because of pricing discrepancies.

Until now, it has been the responsibility of advertisers to ensure that their sites’ pricing microdata matched the prices on their PLAs. If Google wasn’t updated with the new price as soon as possible, it would often lead to that ad being disapproved because of the mismatched pricing information.

Automatic item updates promises to curb this problem, at least partially, by pro-actively updating pricing information if it detects a discrepancy. In other words, the onus is on Google, rather than retailers, to ensure ads match up with microdata.

This doesn’t mean disapproved ads are a thing of the past; advertisers who tested the new feature reported a “50% reduction in price-related item disapprovals”, according to Google’s announcement.

Google implied the new feature was being introduced to help advertisers cope with the upcoming holiday season, adding: “When shoppers find [your holiday] deals on Product Listing Ads (PLAs), they will expect the price and availability to match your website.

“Any changes to this information on your website will need to be reflected on Google Shopping as quickly as possible. To help you with this, we’re announcing automatic item updates.”

Google was also careful to point out that automatic item updates are not intended to replace a well-managed product feed. It wrote: “Accurate and frequent data feed updates are still critical to ensure great results for shoppers. […] To keep your items live during this holiday, you should always make sure to comply with our Google Shopping policies while participating in Google Shopping.”

For more information on automatic item updates and for help on implementing them on your own PLAs, visit the Inside AdWords blog.

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Oliver Pyper is senior online copywriter at ClickThrough Marketing. He writes on-page content, blogs, press releases and loads of other bits and pieces too numerous and brilliant to mention. He’s also responsible for Kate Bush: The Musical and a series of videos depicting a young man’s search for energy drinks in New York City. Drop him a line if you want to talk content solutions or Kate Bush.