Have you seen the “Plus Box” in Google Sponsored Listings?

Google’s PlusBox is back in Alpha, being made available on an invitation only basis to Advertisers and seen by only 1% of users. Based on the outcome of the Alpha test, a Beta test with a larger sample size may follow. Our rep didn’t elaborate on how advertisers were chosen, but a large inventory seems to be one common trait shared by advertisers in the PlusBox results we’ve seen so far. For an example of what PlusBox looks like, go to Google and search for “luggage” Here is what you’ll see:

Luggage Search

Ads for and have the product PlusBox underneath their ads. Clicking the PlusBox to enlarge the ads provides details on 3 products from each advertiser:


Off of the top of my head, I can think of a few reasons this might be beneficial to advertisers.

Visitors that click through to the store after expanding the PlusBox are more likely to convert. After expanding the PlusBoxes for the advertisers above, I can get a good feel for what each store offers and determine whether or not that fits my needs. If I’m looking for luggage to take on a weekend camping trip, I’m probably not going to be interested in based on the products displayed (I wouldn’t want to take $435 Diane Von Furstenberg luggage camping). However, I see that carries luggage priced around $55, so I wouldn’t be as upset to get this luggage a little dirty.

Also, the PlusBox allows visitors to see a variety of products without sending them to a search results page or a general brand/product category page. Let’s say that one of my clients just added a new brand to their product mix but organized the individual products into pre-existing categories (so for example, maybe my client just started carrying a few Diane Von Furstenberg luggage items but decided to arrange them according to their utility – makeup bags, overnight bags, luggage sets, etc. rather than creating a page specifically for the Diane Von Furstenberg brand). The only way to direct an ad to all products I’m carrying for this brand would be to send them to a search results page which is not ideal for a variety of reasons. In this case, PlusBox provides a solution for giving users a sneak peek at the Diane Von Furstenberg pieces my client carries.

It will be interesting to see if PlusBox will be made available to all advertisers. If so, before opting in I would want to know a few things:

How are the products displayed being selected? In the case of the general “luggage” query above, it does not seem ideal for 2 of the 3 products displayed for to be Diane Von Furstenberg brand bags since there are well over 50 brands available at the store (and considering that the query was for “luggage” and not “Diane Von Fursternberg luggage” or “designer luggage”). Knowing how the product snapshots are chosen might determine whether or not I would be interested in this feature.

Is there a charge to the advertiser when someone clicks the PlusBox? Hopefully not because that would nullify the above two reasons I think PlusBox might be useful.

Are PlusBox clicks available in reporting? If I were opted in to PlusBox I would want to be able to compare PlusBox clicks vs. click-throughs to my site and any resulting conversions.

PlusBox is a cool little feature and it will be interesting to see what happens next!