Google Shopping Update Shakes Things up for Advertisers

Carolyn Seaman

Carolyn Seaman is Marketing Manager at Net Media Planet, an award winning Paid Search and Performance Display agency based in London. With over 8 years marketing experience, Carolyn publishes regular insights and commentary focused on domestic and international trends in Paid Search and Display advertising. 

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Google Shopping Update Shakes Things up for Advertisers
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Google recently announced the launch of a new campaign type for Google Shopping.

This new update will have a wide ranging impact on the way advertisers manage Google Shopping and will fundamentally change the way in which Product Listing Ad (PLA) campaigns are set up.

What are the main changes are and what will these changes mean for advertisers?

Background to the new update

The new update comes as Google continues to see strong performance on PLAs in the retail sector, and is designed to make managing PLAs simpler for advertisers.

Released under the name of ‘Shopping Campaigns’, this new update will make it much easier for advertisers to set up, manage and maintain PLAs. For example, instead of breaking out ad groups from all of your products, you can create new ‘product groups’. However advertisers that are experienced with Google Shopping may find this new, more simplistic approach rather limiting in its scope.

The main differences with ‘Shopping Campaigns’

The output will look the same to the consumer. The real differences will be in the campaign structure and management. Some of the main changes are listed below:

  1. Campaigns can now be given a high/medium/ low priority, which will enable advertisers to prioritise a campaign if a product appears in multiple campaigns.
  2. Ad groups will now be called ‘product groups’ and can then be further segmented (up to 7 times) by other feed columns (such as brand or custom labels).
  3. Products can now be selected by product feed attributes (e.g. Product type). In addition, a number of new ‘custom labels’ (0-5) have been added to the product feed attributes which can be used for segmentation.
  4. There is another useful segmentation feature which is the option to group ‘everything else’ together.

Some of the new benefits for advertisers

There are clearly a number of advantages for advertisers. Some of main new benefits are listed below:

  1. Advertisers will be able to easily browse products in the feed through the Adwords interface
  2. There is much more data available for advertisers to analyse such as competitor impression share, benchmark CTR, benchmark CPC and bid simulator data. Advertisers will also be able to view performance by product segment

Some potential risks to advertisers

  1. Advertisers without carefully structured product feeds will struggle to take full advantage of the benefits of this new campaign structure, and could potentially lose market share to their competitors as a result.
  2. There is a risk to performance levels if the transfer is not carefully managed or products are not suitably segmented. For example, granular bidding is limited by the segmentation of the campaign, and so a poorly set up structure would lose the carefully set up bids from the historic PLAs.

In summary

There are clearly some new advantages for advertisers with this new campaign format. For example, the new feature to prioritise top products will provide advertisers with more control on which products will show, which is more difficult with existing PLA campaigns.

In addition, the easy access to current data on impression share and bids will help advertisers put together more accurate projections and optimise the best performing non-brand activity.

However it is worth noting again that advertisers will have to take time to carefully manage the transition to the new campaign structure in order to protect and maintain existing PLA performance.

Furthermore, with the new simpler structure we can also expect more advertisers to experiment with Google Shopping, which means that in time competition, and advertising costs, will rise as a result.