Late last month, Google introduced Shopping campaigns, a new way for retail advertisers to manage and report on Product Listing Ads. While retailers can continue running regular Product Listing Ads campaigns, Shopping campaigns offer additional flexibility and visibility that advertisers will truly appreciate. This new campaign type is only available to a select number of retailers today;, however, it’s important to understand what the changes and benefits are before they’re generally available early next year.
How Do Shopping Campaigns Work?
By now retail search marketers know that Merchant Center data is critical in creating and managing Product Listing Ads. Shopping campaigns address this requirement by making all product data accessible within AdWords, removing the need to reference Merchant Center. Advertisers can now easily browse and organize their product inventory and make informed decisions about their advertising strategy within a single interface.
One of the biggest changes is the replacement of product targets with product groups. Product groups are used to select which products retailers want to bid on for a given campaign. There can be multiple product groups within a single campaign. Advertisers can subdivide inventory into customized product groups using any product attributes and the products that aren’t subdivided remain in an “Everything else” product group. Bids can then be calculated and set for individual groups.
Here’s what has and hasn’t changed:
- Product Listing Ads are still Product Listing Ads: Ads appear in the same places, on the same networks.
- Product groups, not product targets: Shopping campaigns are powered entirely by Merchant Center product data and products are organized into product groups using any combination of product attributes.
- No more "AdWords grouping” and "AdWords labels": “AdWords grouping” and “AdWords labels” attributes no longer exist. If additional categorization is needed beyond product attributes, custom labels can be used.
- New custom labels: Use the custom labels attribute to subdivide products. Create up to five custom labels per product in the Merchant Center feed and assign values to each label as needed.
What Are the Benefits?
There are four key benefits to using Shopping campaigns:
- Increased Efficiency: Marketers can browse their product catalogue directly with AdWords and create product groups for inventory they want to bid on.
- Greater visibility: Gain visibility into how individual products or categories of products are performing at any level of granularity.
- Deeper Insights: Benchmarking data (CPC and CTR) provides insight into the competitive landscape. Furthermore, marketers can identify revenue opportunities with impression share data and bid more aggressively to remain competitive in the auction.
- More Control: Assign priority to multiple Shopping campaigns (containing the same products) to determine which campaign and bids will be used when ads for those products show. Additionally, limit the products advertised using inventory filters, which leverage defined Merchant Center product attributes, like brand or product type.
Let us know your thoughts on Google’s new Shopping campaigns and how you think they’ll impact your PLA strategy for 2014.
Note: At this time, shopping campaigns are not supported via the AdWords API.