The Google Shopping Campaigns Countdown Is On: Transition Surprises And Tips From The Experts


Tick tock, we’re in the final countdown before the big transition from traditional product listing ad (PLA) campaigns to Shopping Campaigns in Google AdWords at the end of the month.

Considering PLAs now can account for 40 percent or more of a merchant’s paid search traffic, getting the switch done right and the new campaigns optimized quickly is no small matter. We checked in with several paid search veterans to find out what has surprised them so far and what tips they have to offer for those still waiting to transition.

Pauline Jakober, founder of Group Twenty Seven, has found the set up process simple, “I love that we have more access to product level info right in AdWords”. Still, the transitions haven’t been without surprises.

“In one of our accounts, although we transferred over our negative keyword lists, we’ve had to manage for negatives very closely,” explained Jakober. “The old PLA was live for a number of years so our negative keyword lists were comprehensive, but still we were a little surprised at the amount of negating we’ve been doing since going live.”

In another account, Jakober says they are seeing a higher click-through rate of 1.84 percent compared to 1.37 percent in one account even though the set up and bids between the old and new campaigns are similar.

Elizabeth Marsten, vice president of search at Portent, Inc., has also seen that volume appears to be greater on average. She recommends that “after you do the switch, keep an eye on it as the increase of traffic won’t necessarily find the ‘right’ places on the first try.” And that means be ready for close monitoring and analysis. “In some cases it’ll be an issue of not knowing what you don’t know until impressions start generating.”

Marsten also recommends using the inventory exclusion feature and segmenting by attribute as an alternative to negative keywords. She says sometimes “negative keywords can turn traffic away that you might not recover”.

Another tip on using inventory filters comes from Heather Cooan, paid advertising manager for Infusionsoft. “If you’re using filters, make sure to cross-reference and exclude them from other campaigns so you don’t end up with duplicate targeting,” cautions Cooan. Similarly, keep an inventory of your groups to ensure you don’t have items in multiple groups with the same targeting. “You can only send one horse to the race and you want to choose the horse, not Google,” Cooan advises.

With the new benefit of having benchmark impression share stats available in Shopping Campaigns, Cooan recommends utilizing item level bidding for top performers so you can take control of impression share for key products.

If you’re finding the transition more challenging for some clients than others, you’re not alone. The unique nature of a few clients’ products has made structuring Shopping Campaigns in ways that will ensure the same results a time-consuming task, says Barb Young, founder of ppc-Strategies.

After years of optimizing their data feeds for PLAs, her team has been deliberate in preparing to move those clients to the new campaign structure.

“We have weeks of work invested in our large e-commerce clients’ data feeds, aligning adwords_grouping and adwords_labels attributes to AdWords auto-targets, which give us maximum control for the most important products and for managing to our target CPAs,” Young says.

For more resources on Google Shopping Campaigns, check out:

3 Opportunities With Those New Google Shopping Campaigns

Starting A Shopping Campaign In AdWords? Forget All You Know About Keywords!

How To Manage Bids For AdWords Shopping Ads

Google Issues Best Practices For Shopping Campaigns Ahead Of This Summer’s Big Transition

Google Adds Shopping Campaigns Features, Says Regular PLA Campaigns To Sunset In August 2014

(Stock image via Used under license.)

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