Google Shopping, formerly known as Product Listing Ads or Google Product Search, Has recently been revamped and given a facelift with a range of new options and insights to help marketers and business owners understand and optimise their Shopping Campaigns further.

Come late August 2014, Product listing Ads will be retired and transitioned over into Google Shopping if you haven’t already done so. It is important to understand the new capabilities of Google Shopping and how to transition across effectively.

Below are some great tips on how to get setup with the new Google Shopping feature as smoothly and quickly as possible.

What are the key differences between Google Shopping and old Product Listing Ads?

Google Product Listing Ads and Google Shopping campaigns allow advertisers to display their product range to potential customers based on product ad groups in Google Adwords. These groups are created by choosing different inventory attributes, be it the Brand, Product ID, Product type etc. Advertisers send their product information via a data feed from their website which Google then uses to produce adverts for the AdGroups.

Google Shopping now allows you to segment based on product ID, brand and much more. Giving you more granular optimisation. Listed below are some key notable differences.

Inventory Format

Google Shopping Inventory format changes out AdWords labels as a product feed requirement with custom labels instead. This allows the retailer to label their products appropriately with their own unique attributes.
Before sending the updated product feed to Google for Shopping campaigns, consider a couple of these best practices:

Choose custom labels carefully.
You are only allowed one custom label per column.

Campaign Structure

Another Key difference between Google Shopping and Product Listing Ads is how advertisers create product Ads in a campaign. Once the product feed has been updated, you can then create ads based on each individual product within the Adwords Campaign.

AdGroups within the current Product Listing Ads are created by choosing product attributes from inventory information to create product groups.
Advertisers can choose to create almost any combination or product attribute to create an AdGroup.

If you sell t-shirts, for example, you could create AdGroups for different product segments based on the product information Google has in the product feed. Ad Creation for Product Listing Ads is forever expanding. How many AdGroups that are created and how many attributes overlap is entirely up to the advertisers, making it that little bit harder to maintain control and optimise accordingly to the product feeds structure.

Shopping Campaigns Product Groups works in the opposite way to current Product Listing Ads. Instead of building out from your product feed, Google Shopping Campaigns allows you to segment pieces of your inventory into more tightly knit groups. Product Groups within the Google Shopping Campaigns are a sub-set to all product ad groups. Then any additional breakdown of that product group is a sub-set of that particular attribute group.

A good example again would be if you sell T-Shirts through a Google Shopping campaign. Your initial Product Group is a Brand. An additional Product Group would then be created targeting a subset of that Brand Product Group allowing you to break out the account by “Brand” and then by “Brand – Type of Shirt”. You may wish to go even further and breaking it out even more.

This will give you even more control over each specific product category / group and allow us to adjust the bids appropriately for the top performing products and reducing bids on the lower performing products. Helping us to generate a much greater CPA and ROI from our investment, as well as identify new trends in product demand.

Before starting to create Google Shopping Product Groups, please consider these best practices first:

Outline what your goals are (is it brand / or category related)

Would your consumer search by brand or category type.

What are the New Google Shopping Tools?

This new facelift of the Google Shopping campaigns came with new tools that will help you leverage your campaign by analysing new insights. The products should be tested and optimised using the following new Google Shopping Tools:

Bid Simulator: If bids are too low, it will show how many impressions are potentially lost and the difference in cost.

Multiple AdGroups: Start by creating a generic category group and building out all the categories into their own Product Groups. Then build out Sub-Sets of that Category Product Group & potentially go even one step further and break it down one more. Giving you full control over your product feed.

Item Level Detail: Google Shopping campaigns give you more granular product data within AdWords, which can then be used to produce product reports and analyse historical data.

Impression Share & Benchmark CPC: Highlights competitor data metrics which can be utilised to optimise bids and make sure your top performing products are showing all the time and lower the ones that are underperforming.

Google Shopping also gives you the opportunity to test some of the existing optimisations that you may already be using.

Geo-Targeting: exclude non-converting areas by analysing Analytics and AdWords data metrics.

Dayparting: changing the time of day your bids show and how much you pay for that part of the day. Making the most of the top performing / high converting hours of the day and week.

Mobile traffic: mobile doesn’t always perform well. Looking at performance data by mobile v desktop is critical. An example of this was with one of our clients where their mobile paid traffic was running at a -99% ROI as opposed to their desktops return of 265% ROI. Reducing bids in these no performing areas allowed us to increase the overall ROI on the investment.

Transitioning to Google Shopping Campaigns

  1. Don’t run Shopping Campaigns with PLA: Google Shopping Campaigns are replacing PLA campaign structure late August 2014. Your new structure should perform better and we don’t want the campaigns to compete against each other.
  2. Build Slowly: As was detailed above, its important you think about the campaign structure and the products / categories you build out first as your primary Product Groups. Build out based on past / current product performance.
  3. Be careful what you delete: Shopping campaigns are structured on top of one another. If you delete a parent product group it will remove all children residing in that group at which point you would have to build out the structure again.
  4. Get Started: Get started on transitioning or building out your new Google Shopping Campaign. The sooner you build one, the more stats you will have ahead of your competition and jump on new opportunities that they may not currently be utilising.