The ‘most important players’ of Google Shopping and AdWords have been revealed in a US study by Searchmetrics. journeys ahead when it comes to Google Shopping’s product listing ads (PLAs) - photo-based ads displayed in product search results - earning a visibility score of 7,591,817.

It’s a fair stretch ahead of closest rival (6,198,399), while leads the pelaton in third position with 2,289,424.

However, dominating the AdWords PPC ad space it’s online retail giant – boasting a visibility score of 9,381,59 – while and battle it out with respective scores of 6,577,132 and 6,366,023.

Primarily text-based and targeted at specific keywords, AdWords PPC ads are Google’s age-old and largest source of revenue, while PLAs are a relatively new addition, becoming the default way for appearing in Google’s Shopping offering in 2013.

Better value

However, PLAs – which include a product image, name and price together along with a link to the reseller – have seen a rapid adoption among advertisers, with Searchmetrics finding the number of ads displayed growing by 118% throughout 2014 alone.

While PLAs may be the more costly of the two, their higher clickthrough rate may go some way to explaining why retailers are currently favouring the format, according to Searchmetrics founder and CTO Marcus Tober.

“PLAs can pay off for retail advertisers, because the market is still relatively cheap at the moment, mainly due to the higher CTR com­pared with AdWords ads.”

Tober adds that the design of the ads, featuring imagery, is likely to stand out among consumers, as well as being better placed to catch the attention of consumers ready to part with cash.

“They are also likely to be more effective for retailers because Google shows them when it deems that a person is showing purchase intent – in other words they are performing product related searches.”

Each of the top ten sets, consisting of retail and e-commerce advertisers, can be viewed in full below: 

Top Ten Most Visible Sites In Google Shopping PLAs

        Advertiser                              PLA Visibility

1.                                 7,591,817
2.                          6,198,399
3.                           2,289,424
4.                              1,486,746
5.                                   1,267,870
6.              864,901
7.       437,159
8.                             433,958
9.                           322,339
10.                                  262,688

Top Ten Most Visible Sites In AdWords PPC Advertising

Advertiser                                  PPC Visibility

1.                       9,381,597
2.                              6,577,132
3.                                6,366,023              
4.               3,013,297
5.                           1,769,772
6.                             1,482,599
7.                          1,430,896
8.                      1,400,133
9.                        1,387,534