E-Commerce Enhancements And Opportunities: Google Shopping Campaigns (Part 2)

This is the second post in our two part series on Google Shopping campaigns. The last post introduced this exciting new campaign type, and touched on the many ways in which it’s awesome. In this post we’ll look a little more closely at how best to take advantage of the new features on offer.


Campaign Structure and Inventory Organization

Shopping campaigns allow you to arrange your inventory in a number of ways. You can group products by:

  • Category
  • Brand
  • Product type
  • Item ID — (this means product-level bidding!)
  • Condition
  • Custom Labels


Custom Labels

This is one of the coolest new features of Google Shopping campaigns. Custom Labels allow you to create tags in your product feed based on virtually any criteria you want. You can then organize inventory in your campaign based on these custom labels.

Some ideas for how to use these:

  • Top revenue generators
  • High-margin products
  • Low-margin products
  • Seasonal products
  • Products applying to specific promotional offers
  • In-stock / out-of-stock (can quickly pause items)
  • New products


Needless to say, the combination of the default attributes plus custom labels (you’re allowed up to five) make the options for product organization virtually endless. Keep in mind that, while you now have the ability to segment products much more than before, it’s still only practical to do so if you’re going to put that enhanced granularity to use.


Some things to consider when contemplating campaign structure:


1.) Keep things simple, to start – Try to anticipate the areas in which it will truly be helpful to have more granularity. You can always expand the campaigns later. Also, keep in mind that you can revert levels of attribute segmentation. For example, if you find that product-level bids are too granular, you can eliminate that level of product breakout.


2.) Get creative with uses for Custom Labels — Three primary areas in which custom labels are useful:

  • Segment based on performance — margins, sales volume, ROI
  • Segment based on organization — men’s shoes vs. women’s shoes
  • Segment based on marketing strategy — seasonal, promotions, etc.


It’s generally a good idea to consider the last two in advance, and the feed should be modified with these custom attributes before launching the campaign so you can get things set up correctly from the beginning. The performance-based segmentation is a little less clear cut. You may want to wait and run the campaigns for a while, then set up these labels based on the actual performance of the Shopping campaigns, as opposed to making assumptions about top products, etc., before launching. That said, if you have a strong feeling about which products you want to isolate, go ahead and add them in advance.


How to Launch

Once you have your new Shopping Campaigns built and ready to launch, it’s a good idea to  integrate the new structure slowly. (Keep in mind that this advice only applies to advertisers setting things up in advance of August 31st. After that, traditional PLA campaigns will stop serving and you’ll need to launch your new Shopping campaigns right away.)

One strategy here is to launch one product category at a time. This will mitigate performance interruptions if something goes wrong with your new campaigns and you need to spend time troubleshooting.


How to do this (using Product Type as an example):

  1. Arrange each product type into it’s own ad group within the new Shopping campaign
  2. Pick one product type to launch first
  3. Deactivate only that product type in legacy PLA campaigns (if segmented by product_type)
  4. Activate only the new product type in new campaign
  5. Make sure everything’s running smoothly and move on to next product type
  6. Repeat for each product type until transition is complete


Considering A Multi-Campaign Structure

One option you have (as with traditional PLA campaigns) is to run multiple Shoppings simultaneously.


1.) Set Campaign “Priority Levels” — Shopping Campaigns give you the option to “prioritize” campaigns in order to eliminate ambiguity of serving if certain products are contained and eligible to serve in more than one campaign. For example, you can isolate top performing products into their own campaign, and set a priority level of “high” for that campaign to ensure that those products won’t serve in the lower priority campaigns.

2.) Set Inventory filters — You can also set a campaign-level inventory filter to exclude certain products from a campaign altogether. For example, if you wanted to organize all products in a single campaign except one specific product group, you could set up first campaign for all products and apply a filter for the one group you wish to isolate in a separate campaign.


Leverage Competitive Metrics

One really cool thing about Shopping Campaigns is enhanced competitive reporting. Use these reports to get a better understanding of your auctions:


  • Benchmark CTR — Shows the CTR for similar products in the auction. If your is low by comparison consider raising bids, enhancing product images, and improving product information in your Google Merchant Center.


  • Benchmark Max CPC — Shows how other advertisers are bidding on similar products. Use this information to get a sense of the level of competition for your products and consider raising bids if your Max. CPCs are lower than average.


  • Impression Share — The number of impressions you received, divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive. Use this information to see how often your ads appearing in auctions in which they’re eligible to appear. Consider raising bids if impression share is low. Also, bear in mind that impression share reports do not currently factor in lost IS ‘due to budget’, as they do with Search and Display.


  • Bid Simulator — Gives insight into the performance results you can expect by raising or lowering bids, based on past performance. It’s great for providing estimates if you’re consider scaling up (or back) your campaigns, but keep in mind that it doesn’t actually estimate future performance, but rather, simulates what results would have been had changes been made in the past.



  • Set up campaigns based on what makes sense for your inventory
  • Use Custom Labels to further customize inventory organization
  • Consider migrating to Google Shopping incrementally
  • Consider using a multi-campaign structure for more organization
  • Use campaign priority setting to control serving
  • Take advantage of inventory filters if using a multi-campaign approach
  • Leverage competitive insights and take action with Benchmark and Impression Share data
  • Use the Bid Simulator to help scale Shopping Campaigns