Retail Boost Recap: How to Maximize Your SLA/PLA Campaign ROAS

Couldn’t make it to Catalyst and Bing’s Retail Boost event in Boston? No worries, we’re summarizing all of the event’s highlights on our blog through our Retail Boost Recap series.

Today we’re recapping our SLA/PLA panel and reviewing our expert panelists’ tips for maximizing return on ad spend (ROAS) on product listing ads. These tips will help you maximize your ROAS in no time!

The panel, moderated by Adam Barney, Senior Strategic Account Manager, Bing Ads, Microsoft, included:

  • Markus Rottmaier, CSO, Productsup
  • Mike Mulvenna, Strategic Account Manager, Microsoft
  • Scott Meslin, Search Marketing Specialist,

Throughout their discussion, our moderator and panelists made several key points:

Most of the Work on Your PLA Campaign Should Be Devoted to SetupRetail Boost

Investing enough time in properly setting up your PLA campaign is key to success. This might seem like a no brainer, but as any marketer knows, this doesn’t always happen in practice. So, be sure to allocate enough time so that your setup is as solid and thorough as possible. This will help avoid costly mistakes down the road that will hurt your ROAS — especially during critical and busy shopping seasons.

During setup, be sure to get as granular as possible with your landing page selection. It takes more time, but ensuring the best possible landing page selection will pay off big time. Doing this will help you avoid annoying your consumers by sending them to a landing page that doesn’t have the product they’re looking for, or which requires them to do a lot of digging to find what they want.

Be Agile and Flexible Throughout Your PLA Campaign

Even though setup is important, a PLA campaign — just like a traditional CPC campaign — can’t maximize ROAS without ongoing maintenance and adjustments. Although traditional CPC campaigns also require ongoing maintenance, this is even more important with a PLA campaign. Inventory levels can fluctuate quickly, so it’s important to have a process in place that prevents an ad sending shoppers to a product that is sold out or almost at that point.’s Meslin recommended creating a rule that ads will stop running if a product is reaching low inventory levels (for example, a shoe that is running out of sizes).

He also discussed increasing the frequency with which product feeds are updated. Meslin found that going from once-a-day updates to doing so every few hours helped achieve greater efficiency for

Microsoft’s Mulvenna also recommended labeling products with low inventory levels or decreasing bids on those products as another approach help stay on top of fluctuating product availability.

Optimize Your Feeds to Drive Performance

Titles are crucial to PLA performance, so make optimizing this area a top priority. There are some general best practices to keep in mind that will be relevant to most ads. For example, Mulvenna suggested frontloading important terms to demonstrate relevancy and encourage clicks.

Keep in mind however, you could be making incorrect assumptions about the specific optimizations  that will generate the best results. And there’s only one way to find out if your assumptions are right — test them! A/B testing product titles and descriptions will take the guess work out of feed optimization and ensure you have real data and evidence to support your choices.

Beyond basic optimization, always be sure that the prices and specials listed are up to date. Few things annoy consumers more than feeling like they’ve been misled about how much a product costs.

Bid to Maximize Profit

If your site offers multiple brands, be sure to focus on your priority brands when setting up your PLA campaigns to help maximize your ROAS.

And even if you’re running PLAs for a single brand, focusing on your best performing products and prioritizing those with the best profit margins will help boost your ROAS as well.

Utilize Insights From Your Search Engine Reps

Reps at search engines like Bing and Google have access to a plethora of data that can help your brand or site make informed decisions about your PLA campaign. How often are you engaging with these reps and asking for insights? If the answer is not that often, it’s time to start taking advantage of those resources a lot more frequently.

In Summary

Between feed optimization, inventory changes, strategic bidding, and more, PLAs require proper time and attention to truly drive results. A PLA with strong ROAS requires a prepared and attentive marketer with a strategic mindset. So as you prepare and manage your PLA campaign, be sure to consult our panel’s tips to help keep your ROAS strong throughout your campaigns. And feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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