Last week Google released several new updates to Google Shopping campaigns, formally known as Product Listing Ads or PLAs, just in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We chatted with Net Media Planet Analyst, James Pendleton, to discuss what these changes are and how you can expect them to affect your PLA campaigns in the upcoming month.
1) Addition of PLA Auction Insights
Google Shopping data metrics now include Impression Share, Overlap Rate, and Outranking Share at Campaign and Ad group level.
With the original Google Shopping transition came the first competitive metrics for shopping. These included benchmark CTRs, CPCs and impression shares. They are important metrics to look at for optimisation, however; with these new insights users can compare their metrics to the competition benchmark. For instance, Overlap Rate now allows users to view key competitors who appear in Shopping Search results at the same time as their ads appear. This will help retailers to stay on top of competition by viewing trends and strategic opportunities.
Furthermore, all of these new insight metrics can be further segmented by device and time. This gives advertisers the ability to compare themselves against competitors with even greater detail. As mobile becomes a more valuable space this information will be critical to success.
2) Improved Search Impression Share
PLA impression share will no longer be calculated from campaign level but from customer ID level. Incidentally, this is how Google Search currently calculates Impression Share.
Google is making an effort to align Google Shopping features to those of text ads. Besides the one-time change in impression share when comparing October and November there should be no impact on how you manage the campaign. This will be useful when making optimisation decisions as there will be consistency between text ads and PLAs during data analysis.
3) New Columns for Predictive Bid Simulator Metrics
The Predictive Bid Simulator allows you to estimate how bid changes can impact your impressions. Google’s update allows users to download predictive information into a standardised report.
Although, currently this update will not have much of an effect on the overall product, the information produced by the Bid Simulator is a useful basis from which to start forecasting on optimisation scenarios.
4) Ability to Sort Product Groups by Performance
Impression Share percentage and other columns can now be sorted from product group data.
This is another function that will not greatly affect Google Shopping campaigns but it will help to give advertisers a better overview of product group performance by sorting important benchmark columns quickly.
5) New Diagnostics Tab in the Merchant Center
Within AdWords, The Data Quality tab has been replaced by the new Diagnostics Tab.
The work involved in troubleshooting and comparing AdWords performance to ProductFeed content is cumbersome. The new Diagnostics Tab will save time with the ability to download a report of issues with the feed at the ID-level from AdWords.
6) Merchant Promotions for non-US Advertisers
This is the most visual update made by Google. It enables retailers to show promotions within their PLAs on search results and Google Shopping.
Until now this option has only been available within the US market but Google has opened Merchant Promotions to United Kingdom, Germany, France, Australia and India just in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This feature will be incredibly beneficial to retailers who take advantage of it, as it highlights the benefit of purchasing from a retail website at the moment consumers are deciding where to shop. It makes the offer more enticing to the consumer with its visual icon.
Overall, we are seeing major alignments between Google Shopping and AdWords reporting, which will ultimately increase optimisation efficiencies between the two. With the Christmas peak just around the corner you can take a couple of these updates and implement them straight away to help improve your campaign performance. We recommend implementing the Merchant Promotions, as such a visual statement can give you a competitive advantage when consumers are ready to buy. Also, make sure you take advantage of the competitive insights now available when considering bid prices. These simple updates can have a large impact on your campaign when implemented correctly.
If you are interesting in implementing a Google Shopping campaign for your company and would like our help, please don’t hesitate to contact us via our website.