Getting to Know Google’s New Shopping Campaigns

July 29, 2014

This August marks the cut-off date for Google’s switch to Shopping Campaigns, the AdWords campaign type replacing what retailers previously knew as Google’s Product Listing Ads.

According to Google, this switch is meant to offer users of their AdWords platform more retail-centric tools and a more effective means of creating, managing, and optimizing their Product Listing Ads.

By retiring the regular PLA campaigns, Google’s speeding up the move to their new shopping campaigns so that everyone will be upgraded to the new system by the end of this month.

 Why Google’s Transitioning to Shopping Campaigns

Essentially, your PLAs are still your PLAs. Your product listing ads will still appear in the same places and they’ll be just as relevant and important as before.

The primary difference between what were previously Google’s standard PLA campaigns and what the engine is now calling their new “Shopping Campaigns,” is the way that ad groups are managed, categorized, monitored and optimized.

Shopping Campaigns Vs. Regular PLAs: How The Change Impacts You

If you’ve been using AdWords PLAs for a while, you’re familiar with the regular setup: after submitting your inventory information to Google as an advertiser, you can then create ads in AdWords that are based on those products. What’s changed now, is that shopping campaigns are amending how ad groups are created and how retailers can identify product attributes from their data feeds.

Where you once manually created and managed product targets, your Shopping campaigns are fed by your Merchant Center product data–and these products are then capable of being organized into groups around their most relevant attributes.

If you’re looking to further organize your products, you’ll now be able to create what Google is calling “Custom Labels” (for items let’s say that are on-sale or top-selling) instead of “AdWords Labels” or “AdWords Grouping,” which was the existing data feed requirement. While both feed labels can still be used to categorize product attributes when creating ad groups, the new Custom Labels differ from AdWords labels in that they are limited to only 5 custom labels per shopping campaign–meaning these labels must be chosen with a bit more care than before.

As the representatives at Google put it, the reason behind the change is that they feel these new shopping campaigns will “offer a truly retail-centric and seamless approach to PLAs.”

The way that PLAs were organized and operated before meant a fairly labor-intensive campaign management process. What the new system is designed to do is streamline the way that products are categorized and simplify the process of managing those campaigns.  Now, this new system should hopefully eliminate the bid overlap that was a potential in the past and be able to ensure that ads aren’t competing with each other.

Want to know more about Shopping Campaigns or how this will affect your PLAs? Give us a call at 877.866.6699 or shoot us an email at if you’d like to get in touch with a member of our PPC team.

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