Product Listing Ads

How to Use the New Google Shopping Campaigns

Google Shopping campaigns are the latest iteration of Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs) and have recently come out of beta. They add new categorisation functionality which makes managing and optimising these campaigns a lot easier.

A Few Things to Note about Google Shopping (PLAs)

  1. Google Shopping is a CPC comparison shopping engine channel (CSE) run by Google.
  2. Google Shopping is a search based-channel where product images, prices and seller ratings show up in the sponsored search results.
  3. The items for sale in Google Shopping are created using a live data feed from the advertiser’s product inventory. This feed contains information like: product image, name, description, price, delivery costs, size, colour & stock level etc.
  4. Media costs and reporting are managed through the AdWords interface (also refer to Google Analytics E-Commerce Reporting for ROI and ROAS metrics).
  5. Google has recently added dynamic retargeting ads through the Display Network. These ads involve displaying ads that are generated from the information in the Google Merchant Centre Product Feed and served using predefined display templates which Google provides when you set up the campaign. These display ads are interactive and contain product information such as image, name, price & a deep link URL to the product page.
  6. Google Shopping is only available for the following Countries: US, UK, Australia, Germany, France, Japan, Italy, the Netherlands, Brazil, Spain, Switzerland and the Czech Republic. However, Google may have rolled this out to all countries on February 2nd 2014 (I will clarify this shortly).

Setting Up Shopping Campaigns

Getting the most out of the New Shopping Campaigns

Data feeds are cold, heartless pieces of .xml. In the old PLA system, AdWords Labels or Attributes had to be added to the feed at source to then filter the feed in AdWords into subcategories based on your inventory. This added an extra layer of involvement at the feed going into Google Merchant Centre to optimise the campaign effectively in AdWords.

Benefits of Google Shopping Campaigns include adding the ability to separate product inventory using the standard column data within the feed in AdWords so we don’t need to jump back and forth between the feed manager, Merchant centre and AdWords.

In these new Shopping Campaigns, products can be split out by Category, Brand, Item ID, Condition and Product Type as well as 5 custom AdWords Labels (these have to be added at source in the data feed).

Think of it like AdWords Campaign Ad groups & Keywords. Once you have split out your campaign by your top level category from the feed (usually product type) you can sub-segment these  product categories by an AdWords Label (perhaps the product name) or by the product ID (this can be numerical SKUs so custom labels may work better)


Once the feed is working and the campaign is set up you can organise the individual items in the feed as you see fit to evaluate which products performs best. Following that you can increase or decrease bids for individual items to build scale and increase revenues as per individual KPIs.

This new functionality offers superb individual control and the ability to drive revenue on a product level within Google Shopping. It also streamlines the process by allowing other category variables to be used to segment the campaign.

A Final Thought

If I had one wish for Google Shopping, I would wish that  Google Merchant Centre was fully integrated into the AdWords interface so data feed management, costs/performance analysis and segmentation all live in the same place. Here’s hoping..


Getting the Most Out of Retargeting

Retargeting is one of the black arts of digital media. It promises great things and makes sense in terms of conversion/revenue recovery if deployed correctly. This post outlines two audiences I find particularly receptive to retargeting for conversions and revenue generation.

Retargeting Abandoners

From experience retargeting non-converting visitors of the home page, inner page or campaign landing page rarely works. There has to be some interaction with the conversion on the users’ side, ie. they have to add and item to the cart, part fill out the conversion form or navigate partially through the checkout for retargeting to be most effective.

In essence, visitors must to have expressed a real interest and considered the conversion/purchase at some point by taking action to partially complete the process. A click-through from the SERP, display ad or social media post is rarely enough to place these people into the potential purchasers set. Many of these people are merely window shopping.

Deep Funnel Retargeting

By retargeting people who entered the funnel but didn’t follow through with a transaction or sign-up, we can effectively recover a portion of cart abandoners at a higher conversion rate than any other custom audience.

This is the most effective use of media spend, especially when we consider that between 67.89% of all carts are abandoned. These are the people most likely to convert if pushed to do so via correctly retargeted messaging, therefore recovering the revenue lost via abandonment.

Existing Customer CRM

Another valuable audience to consider are those people who have purchased from your site or converted in some other way. These people can be retargeted as per the conditions of your CRM program, eg. to join your loyalty club or avail of special offers only available to existing customers.

This club mentality is very powerful and can ultimately increase the overall value of your existing customers by increasing frequency of purchase or increasing AOV in return for the kickbacks they get as part of your rewards club or retargeting program.


These are just two audiences worth retargeting simply for their overall value to your business. The first sits very much in the acquisition space while the other is about growing revenue/conversions from your existing customer base.

As retargeting can be costly and ineffective if done incorrectly audience choice and likelyhood of conversion behaviour is the most important factor to consider when launching into any campaign.

Old Digital Media

What is Performance Advertising?

Advertising has changed a lot since the days of Doyle Dane Bernbach’s ‘Lemon‘ and the shift towards online marketing has recently shifted up a gear, or two, or three.

Gone are the days of finger in the wind measurement. With the analytics tools available to digital marketers it is possible to see where profit can be made, where the opportunities live and how much return on investment a particular campaign actually delivered.

Performance Advertising


Performance advertising is a philosophy. Its spirit resides in truth and effectiveness. By offering more transparency to the advertising ecosystem, performance advertising allows clever marketers to scale commercial returns in the channels that offer most profitability. This is especially relevant for E-Commerce advertisers as online media provide a direct link to their consumers’ purchase intent.

Performance Tools

Digital marketers have a multitude of tools available from paid and organic search to direct response & programmatic display, as well as retargeting, liquid ads, product feed managed media, affiliate programs and email marketing available to them.

Firstly. when developing a media strategy, it is essential to identify how the final the media mix should rest at launch. However this is only half the job. By measuring impact across all channels and moving media spend into the highest performing channels in real time profitability, commercial effectiveness and Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS) can be increased.

Scale and CPA

By driving scale in conversions through the channels which are converting at an acceptable CPA and pulling back on areas which are less effective overall higher profitability can be achieved – this is the goal of any performance advertiser.

This is a step change for many online advertisers who promise visits and impressions instead of commercial return. Ultimately the goal of any performance campaign or ongoing activity has to be to make the advertiser more money – everything else, impressions, clicks, likes, shares etc. is a bonus.