Search Ads FAQs : A Guide for Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Level

 Search Ads: Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced Guide

Search monetization for e-retail websites is the next big thing that is yet to disrupt growing marketplaces. Retail searches help in driving customers to final purchases on eCommerce platforms like Flipkart and Amazon and help in generating the revenue streams at both topline and bottom-line.

One such product that is based on Search based monetisation is Flipkart’s Product Listing Ads (PLA). PLA are high-performance-driven Ads solutions that enable brands and sellers to showcase their product listings to customers at the peak of their purchase intent. The product is focused on catering to the advertising needs of long-tail sellers with a prime focus on sales conversion by leveraging platform data and the right user contextual targeting.

As the inventors of this format, we keep getting a lot of questions from monetisation, marketing and merchandising teams about how search ads in retail increase growth opportunities.

There are questions such as :

What are Search based Ads and how can eCommerce players enable this monetization stream from scratch on their platform? How are they more secure than demographic targeting or behavioural cohorts?  How does data flow from search queries to ad targeting?

Read on to find the answers to these questions.

Introduction to Search Ads for Beginners 


Q1.) What is a retail search query?

Retail searches are online search facilities to enable customers to find the right products on their platform. Retail searches work in a similar fashion as the search engine like Google, though retailers, depending on their platform capabilities, tend to use less complex algorithms. The common search terms are classified to show congruent results for a category.

There can be various approaches to showing the results for the search query. Some retailers tend to use the keywords specific searches and few follow the logic of showing the ads based on users’ intent and historical data of browsing and buying behaviour.

Q2.) How does Retail Search Work?

For growing marketplaces, where there are a potential hundred of sellers that are selling products in the same category, very few listings of these sellers have the luxury of coming in top result pages. Organically 

Retails search ads allow your products to be visible online so that they are easy to find and thus eventually drive better top of the funnel for sales.

Q.3.)Why to Invest In Paid Searches?

Retail searches in certain cases are taking the conventional investments on SEM on Google, Bing, etc. as the former part is showing ads that are targeted at the step of the shopping journey where the customer’s intent is the highest.

 While it is important to improve the organic ranking of your products in the page rankings, it is equally important to invest in advertising these products. This applies to both sellers and brands and across their portfolio of products that are fast selling, low selling and new launches.

 Paid retail search facilities such as one offered by Flipkart – Product Listing Ads (PLA) to its brands and sellers enable them to potentially guarantee a slot by placing the ad of the product near the top of the search query whenever a customer searches for relevant keywords. Most of all these ads work on the Cost per click (CPC) model and the advertiser is charged only and only when the customer clicks on its sponsored a

Intermediate level guide on Search Ads 


If you are able to optimize your product content, there are chances that you will achieve a higher ranking. The higher your ranking, the more visible your product will be to the potential customers and hence better chances of conversion leading to improved sales. It further also improves the brand’s presence in the online and offline market where these campaigns create both direct and indirect impacts on the customer’s awareness, consideration and eventually purchase funnels.

A significant amount of customers do research online before making a purchase online or in an actual physical store. The quantum further increases if they are buying an item that is high ASP. This means retail searches have an impact on not only online but offline sales as well.

Search Ads Vs Display Ads

Data Sharing:  What makes search queries-based targeting most effective? 

 Demographics help with long tail campaigns, i.e. if you are spreading brand awareness in order to pull a large set of likely buyers to a product or a brand, assemble the right set of people and focus campaigns on them. This way you are increasing awareness of your brands. In the long run, the target group that identifies with the ethos and logos of your brand will result in sales. But will it yield last-touch conversions? Recent data from Google shows that Search ads are actually outdoing display ads in terms of brand recall and brand awareness already. While conversions vary from case to case, a search query definitely guarantees a stronger buying intent of the end user. 
Search query targeting is also respectful of user privacy and a cookieless method of targeting. This means you ensure user privacy and do not compromise on RoAs.

Advanced tips for search advertising 


 In the marketplace ecosystem, sellers and ecosystem are primarily concerned about 2 factors:

  • Improve visibility of their listed products
  • Drive sales for these SKUs

Both these pain points can be solved by designing the campaign in the right fashion. Generally, it is seen that sellers do not question the floor price but are keen on arriving at the right benchmarks of winning bid range for their SKUs.

There are a few important things to keep in mind while creating the campaign:

  • SKU selection
  • CPC bid
  • Budget and duration of the campaign

Instead of putting all the budgets into a single campaign, it is advisable for Sellers and brands to bifurcate the product portfolio into 3 buckets, otherwise, there’s a chance that their top-selling SKUs will consume all the budgets, leaving slow-moving and new launches with little to no budgets for exploration and consumption.

  1. Top selling: These are for products that already feature in the top 2-3 pages. The motive of the campaign is to make sure it comes on the 1st page of the search queries and further keep on pushing the sale trajectory of these SKUs. Here, sellers don’t need that much aggressive bidding and the initial range of bids would serve the purpose.
  2. Slow-moving: Products that have potential but are not able to scale up due to some or the other reasons fall into this bucket. Here, advertisers need to go aggressive for 2-3 weeks and put bids on the higher side of the spectrum, and then closely monitor the sales to further optimize the campaign.
  3. New launches: For these sets of products, since products here will go more in an exploratory stage, we recommend putting bids on the higher side and keep checking to optimize it further.


  • There should be a minimum budget for every key listing set aside to make sure these SKUs get their fair share of visibility.
  • Monitoring campaigns on a daily/alternate day basis and even if advertisers see no attraction, then they should keep increasing the bid and check the break-even point based on their ROI and margins.

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