Understanding the new Google Shopping changes

Google recently announced the launch of a new campaign type for Google Shopping. This new update will fundamentally change the way in which Product Listing Ad (PLA) campaigns are managed.


So what does this mean for advertisers? We catch up with one of our Search specialist’s, James, to get the low down on the new changes:


Q. What are the changes that have been announced?

A. Google announced the release of a new way to structure PLAs under the name of ‘Shopping Campaigns’. With Product Listing Ads (PLAs) continuing to perform strongly in the retail sector this new release is designed to make managing PLAs easier for advertisers. Though it is worth noting that with this ‘ease’ come significant changes to the way in which PLAs are created in AdWords.


Q. So what are the main differences with ‘Shopping Campaigns’?

A. The output will look the same to the consumer. Where we will see real differences will be in the campaign structure and management. Some of the main changes include;

  • The ability to give campaigns high/medium/ low priority – This will allow advertisers to prioritise a campaign if a product appears in multiple campaigns
  • The way of selecting products – Products can 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
  • Ad groups – These 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)
  • There is another useful segmentation feature which is the option to group ‘everything else’ together


Q. What does this new update mean for advertisers?

A. The new Shopping Campaigns 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 experienced with Google Shopping may find this new more simplistic approach rather limiting in its scope.


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.


Q. What are the risks to advertisers with these changes?

A. Advertisers without carefully structured products 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.


There is an additional 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.


Q. What are the benefits for advertisers?

A. There are clearly a number of advantages for advertisers. I would say that the top benefits are;

  • The ability to easily browse products in the feed through the Adwords interface
  • Better segmentation options such as ‘everything else’ rather than ‘all products’
  • It’s easier to view performance by product segment
  • There is more data available on the competitor landscape such as impression share, benchmark CTR, benchmark CPC, bid simulator data
  • The ability to edit in bulk is now available


Q. What are you looking forward to testing with your client’s campaigns?

A. I look forward to using the new feature to prioritise top products as this will give us more control on which products show, which is more difficult with existing PLA activity.


I also think that access to up-to-date data on impression share and bids will enable us to put together more accurate projections and optimise the best performing non-brand activity.



Thanks James for your thoughts on this! It’s clearly early days, and we will continue to explore what the changes will mean for advertisers going forward. Watch this space! In the meantime if you have any questions or queries with your Google Shopping campaigns then please don’t hesitate to get in touch!