Google Tests Ad Unit That Would Heat Up Competition With

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Google (GOOG) is testing a new ad unit through which advertisers can sell specific products directly from Google’s search results pages.

Google calls the units  “Google Product Ads.”

Unlike normal Google search ads, Google Product ads include pictures and “individual offers with product information directly in the ad itself.”

Instead of charging per click, Google will charge advertisers for Google Product Ads based on the amount of inventory vendors sell through the ad.

If the unit makes it out of beta, it will put Google in closer competition with Amazon (AMZN), which makes a nice buck listing third-party vendors’ products amongst its own.

Blogoscoped obtained the email Google sent advertisers asking them to participate in the beta test:

We are pleased to invite you to participate in an exciting beta program with the Google Affiliate Network to show product ads on Google. Product ads are paid product listings that appear when users search for products on Google. Through participation in the Google Affiliate Network product ads beta program, you can promote your products to users actively searching for your products and pay only when users make a purchase on your site.

This opportunity is a very tangible benefit of the integration of our affiliate platform into Google. Google is constantly experimenting with new features and visuals to improve ad effectiveness and advance the end user experience.

Google product ads will feature product specific information directly in the ad such as price and product image. During the beta program, Google will be testing to identify the most effective ad formats. Google product ads will complement standard text ads on and will run independently during the beta. All reports on the performance of Google product ads can be seen through your Google Affiliate Network account.

The Google product ads beta program relies on your Google Base feed. Minimum pricing is your standard publisher rate, plus the network fee. To maximise your competitiveness among advertisers participating in product ads, you are encouraged to increase the CPA rate for your product ads relationship.

Where would my product appear on Google?
Your product would appear as Sponsored Links on Google when users search for products that match the items in your feed. Beta testing is for US / English.

How much does it cost?
You specify the commission rate for conversions that take place via clicks on Google product ads. Minimum pricing is your standard publisher rate, plus the network fee. To maximise your competitiveness among advertisers participating in product ads, we recommend a higher commission with the Google product ads relationship.

How do I see reports during the beta testing?
Through your Google Affiliate Network account, you will see reports for Google similar to other tracking publisher reports. Please keep in mind that our initial experiments will be limited to a small percentage of traffic until our full launch.

Do product feeds need to be submitted through Google Base?
Yes, these ads use information from your Google Base product feed. Google Affiliate Network is integrating with Google Base to create product ads with trackable product links.

How do these ads compare with free product listings via Google Base?
Product ads appear as a Sponsored Links on the page and Google will use a variety of prominent placements and additional display options to optimise and drive targeted traffic to your product ads. You pay only for qualified conversions that take place through Google product ads. Product listings that appear in the search results will continue to be free.

How do these ads different from AdWords text ads?
Product ads represent individual offers with product information directly in the ad itself. Unlike keyword targeted text ads, product ads appear when the user’s query matches information provided in your product feed. During the beta, product ads are shown independently from text ads.

Can I add keywords to my ads?
No. Google categorizes and matches the items from your product feed to the user’s search query for you. Please make sure your product information is complete and accurate in your product feed to Google Base.

How are these ads ranked?
Ad Rank = Commission × Quality Score. The quality score takes into account the relevance of your product to the user’s query, conversion rate of the query and the matched product ad on Google, your account history, and other relevant factors.

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