Google has acquired Channel Intelligence , a retail feed management and shopping performance company, for $125 million cash. With clients like Target, Philips, HP, and BestBuy, Channel Intelligence drives $2 billion annually  in retail sales through advanced data management and product feed optimization.
Seeing the incredible growth of PLAs in 2012-13 (Google PLAs now account for 10.7% of total online retail spend while Yahoo/Bing is just 13.8% total), Google is betting that this huge boom will continue, allowing it to compete with Amazon and eBay for retail consumers.
Because dynamic PLA ads offer a direct path to specific products via retailer feeds, it’s a no-brainer for Google to be deeply involved in the management and optimization of them. Google controls the advertising space, so investing in how the product information gets there not only protects their new cash cow, it manages and will develop it.
It will be interesting to see how the Google PLA space matures in 2013 as the company invests in the infrastructure around it. Will the Google SERP retail pages eventually become direct Amazon-like feeds where
searchers can quickly purchase retail products after comparing sizes, pictures, and colors? Seems like an ideal retail SERP for mobile and tablet devices, doesn’t it?
For more info on Google PLAs check out our recent whitepaper, “Optimizing Product Listing Ads for Better ROI.”