Google plans to migrate all remaining legacy Product Listing Ads (PLA) campaigns to Google Shopping beginning in August 2014. Here are some questions to ensure you’re ready.
What are the differences between the old PLA campaigns and Shopping Campaigns?
The Ads – Shopping Ads are still PLAs. The big difference is that now you don’t have to know precisely what is in the Product Feed to create valid groupings. AdWords now connects your Merchant Center feed to your AdWords account in a way that lets you drill down into Google’s category taxonomy to create Product Groups, or you can use other feed attributes such as Condition or Brand, or you can use custom labels to define your target set of products.
Product Groups = Product/ Targets – Each AdGroup in a Shopping Campaign consists of one optional ad (this is the promotional text that will appear with every product ad served from the group) and one or more Product Groups which determine the eligibility of products to be served based on more easily-defined parameters. Don’t let the rebranding of these campaign assets throw you off.
No Keywords – These are not keyword campaigns. They will behave differently and you will want to experiment to find the best way to structure your Product Groups. A simple start should include using Google’s product category taxonomy to group like products. Next break those groups down using additional attributes, such as Condition or Brand, or your own custom feed attributes. You can, however, add negative keywords to your campaigns to avoid unwanted impressions.
Google has provided several learning opportunities for marketers, including basic and advanced webinars: http://www.google.com/ads/experienced/webinars.html
Are your product feeds optimized for Shopping Campaigns?
Where the old PLAs used adwords_grouping and adwords_label fields for organizing your product targets, Shopping Campaigns introduces the availability to create up to five custom labels that can be used in conjunction with Google product category, brand, item ID, condition and product type to create Product Groups to be targeted.
These attribute filters can be combined and stacked to tailor your feed to meet your needs. Start with the highest level of categorization and break the category down to more granular levels. Your Product Groups are bid at the most granular level specified.
Do you have a plan for measuring the performance of Shopping Campaigns and comparing them to old PLA campaigns?
Gathering benchmarks now will help you see where differences may exist between Search Product Listing Ads campaigns and the new Shopping Campaigns.
Fortunately, Google has introduced some additional impression share and benchmarking metrics that will help you understand your place in the marketplace, too. Benchmark max. CPC and CTRs gives you an idea of the performance of similar product ads in the marketplace.
Is budget set aside for your Shopping efforts, or is it lumped into your Search budget?
If at all possible, segregating your Shopping budget from your overall Search budget can help ensure you have more time and freedom to experiment with the new Campaign type. CPCs have increased as more and more retailers have adopted product listing ads and it will be important to be cognizant of how those changes will affect your overall marketing spend.