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..