Google Shopping Campaigns are finally here

Posted: Wednesday 5th March 2014 in Paid Media, Thought Leadership.
Online shopping

Google’s new Shopping interface is finally with us

Google’s long awaited PLA (Product Listing Ad) management interface is finally with us. After 3 months spent in beta, Google have at long last delivered their PLA centric interface and management system, giving retailers a simple, bespoke PLA playground in which to tackle the ever-growing PLA channel.

More control and greater insight

Google PLAs have an intuitive new interface which allows you to manipulate and create ad groups directly from the data held within your product feed. Rather than having several spreadsheets open to assist in creating your optimum account structure, this can all be done directly with just a couple of clicks of a button.

A new “priority” option allows you to control where you would prefer to funnel your traffic, working parallel to CPC (cost per click) bids, you also have the option of working in conflict with them, having higher CPCs, with a lower priority, and vice versa. But where would the traffic go? It will be interesting to see how this is utilised across the industry.

On a practical note, when setting up a new campaign it’s advised that “all products” be set to the lowest priority option. “All products” is a catch-all that should only receive minimal click volumes if robust targeting is set up. This lower priority setting is also in line with Google’s best practice guidelines.

The reporting and data capabilities are much improved, with CPC and CTR (click through rate) benchmarks, along with Impression share percentage figures provided too.

Google AdWords PLA Listings

Google have delivered their PLA centric interface and management system


There is also a bid simulator planned, providing forecasted impressions on the back of bid adjustments – at the time of print this was not yet available in the UK but is due to be launched soon.


Google's bid stimulator tool

A bid simulator tool is likely to be introduced


What it hasn’t got..

AdWords Editor isn’t available, and we don’t believe there are any plans to implement this any time soon either. However the lack of Editor is unlikely to hinder take-up, with bulk upload and editing options integrated into the interface for quick data management alleviating the short term requirement for editor support.

APIs (Application Programming Interface) are not yet supported either but are due in the coming weeks. In a nutshell, an API is basically the language in which systems can speak to each other and exchange information and data. In the short term the lack of support for APIs will come as a slight inconvenience to agencies and tracking providers, however delivery of this will surely be seen as a priority by Google to allow full adoption and migration.

Speaking of migration, Google have granted us a 6 month period in order to migrate the current PLA accounts and activity across to the new shopping campaigns, with a phased removal of the old method beginning in Q2 – with no new account set up in the old format after this period.

What else? Well, as expected, ECPCs (enhanced cost per clicks) are not available as yet and we still have no relevancy or quality score for the feed.

Feed quality is key

The lack of any feed quality metric, coupled with its direct involvement with the interface, mean that feed quality and robust feed management are more important than ever. Do not ignore your feed; ensure it is up to date and accurate in order to best support the shopping campaigns interface – it is, after all, now driving everything!

This is definitely a step in the right direction for the PLA channel and is bound to make managing PLAs much easier for experts and novices alike. Will this update lead to increased CPCs? Potentially, however your feed quality can go a long way to alleviating that and can still be a means to give you a competitive advantage.

We at Summit look forward to the next phase of PLA developments as the channel continues to grow. We’ll keep you abreast of how this latest development has impacted our clients over the coming weeks.


If you’ve got a question about the changes in Google’s Shopping campaigns we’d be more than happy to answer it. Contact Dave Trolle, Head of Direct Response.