Google Shopping: Goodbye Product Listing Ads

Google recently launched Shopping Campaigns, a new type of Adwords campaign, which is set to replace Product Listing Ad campaigns (PLA’s).  New Merchant Center feeds are required to use the new Shopping Campaign type.  According to Google, legacy feeds will be migrated to the new campaign type later this Summer (August 2014 ETA).

The new Shopping Campaign type has many benefits for merchants, including:

  • Streamlined Interfaceshopingcart
  • Advanced Product Targeting
  • Custom Labels
  • Negative Keywords


Within the new interface, Google has included a complete list of all eligible products in your shopping feed.  That’s right, no more switching back and forth between Adwords and Merchant Center just to verify current product list :)

Having the list in Adwords also helps eliminate any question as to whether your most up-to-date product feed is connected to Adwords.  There is, of course, a short delay before Adwords updates with the latest feed, but it’s worth the wait!

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Dissecting the ‘All Products’ group is another strength of Shopping Campaigns.  The improved interface is easier and more powerful than its predecessors often irritating task of setting “Auto-Targets”.

When sub-dividing a group, Adwords automatically verifies the attribute exists in your feed.  Then,  it loads the appropriate items into the left window.  To select items for your sub-group, simply drag from the left window to the right window.

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Below are the attributes available for sub-dividing the ‘All products’ group:

  • Category
  • Brand
  • Item ID
  • Condition
  • Product type
  • Custom label (0-4)

While there are several new options, it’s important to note that “adwords labels” and “adwords grouping” are no longer available for targeting products.  If you use these fields currently, you will want to migrate those values to one of the newly available custom labels.  Also noteworthy, is that “Category” represents the first level of the Google taxonomy (assigned to each product in your shopping feed).

Item ID works quite well in the new interface and gives merchants the ability to set CPC targets for a single product.  If you recall, this option did not work as expected in the PLA version.

Google also delivers five new custom attributes to help further organize and segment your product list.  Using these new fields of course, requires that you add them to your shopping feed.

To take advantage of custom labels, ShopSite users can leverage Extra Product Fields to send across new product categories, labels, descriptors, etc…

To create Extra Product Fields:

  • Navigate to Preferences > Extra Fields
  • Determine which Extra Product Field is to be used, assign it the name ‘custom_label_0′ (You can add up to 5 custom fields – last one would be named ‘custom_label_4′)
  • Update the ‘Number of product fields to display’, then Save

Assigning Extra Product Fields to the Google Shopping Feed:

  • Navigate to Merchandising > Google Services > Shopping > Configure
  • In the Attributes section, check the boxes next to each custom label you wish to include in the feed, then Save
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  • Click ‘Send Feed’

The steps required for Magento users will vary based on the extension used in their respective stores.  The steps below apply primarily to those store owners using the core Google API.

  • Create new product attributes under Catalog > Attributes > Manage Attributes.
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  • Assign new attribute to the appropriate Attribute Set under Catalog > Attributes > Manage Attribute Sets.
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  • Map new attributes to the Google Shopping feed using Catalog > Google Content > Manage Attributes.
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  • Synchronize products under Catalog >  Google Content > Manage Items.

Negative Keywords

Using negative keywords helps prevent ads from displaying where they have little opportunity to convert.  While this doesn’t necessarily change your budget, it should help ensure advertising dollars are better spent.  the new interface allows negative keywords to be assigned at the campaign and/or ad group level.  For negative keywords to be successful, you should choose terms used to find your products that also have keywords which do not relate to items you sell.

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Be careful not to include a negative keyword or phrase that matches one of your valid keywords.  Doing so will prevent your ads from running!

Here are some links that may be helpful to understanding and using negative keywords:

To read more about the features in Shopping Campaigns, please visit Google.

photo credit


One Comment

  1. Brian says:

    Very useful. PLAs have become Google Shopping Campaigns. Has anyone else used IM-PACT to see which keywords your products are showing up for?

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