Steal This Product Listing Ads Dashboard Before Wednesday

Michael Wiegand

If you’ve followed my blog musings in the last year or so at Portent, you’ll know that I’m a bit of a dashboard nut.

My Perfect Google Analytics Dashboard post took off in ways I never imagined. (Thanks guys!)

But here’s the thing: I was lying to you all – or misleading you, anyway. There is no perfect dashboard. There are many.

The New Google Analytics PLA Dashboard You Need

Elizabeth wrote about the Google Shopping transition going down on October 17th. It’s all moving to a paid service through Product Listing Ads (PLAs).

With that move comes the need for greater analysis and insight. What greater way to do that than a dedicated PLA dashboard in Google Analytics?

So you have a choice: either scramble for a way to track this after the transition, or steal this dashboard now and be prepared!


The Anatomy of the Product Listing Ads Dashboard

Much like the dashboards I’ve shown you before, the layout on this one is very intentional:

  • Most important stats: Top Left
  • Sexy graphical element: Middle
  • Some detail, but not too much: Right, Bottom

Let’s walk through the widgets individually.


How much did I make? How much did I spend to make it?

Two stats that are essential to any paid advertising campaign, and PLAs are no different.

I have a rule about not putting anything on a dashboard that you could get by applying basic math to existing metrics. But since we’ll want to watch ROI very closely out of the gate in October, I’ll make an exception here:


PLA Impressions & Clicks Timeline

How many people are seeing my PLAs?

Whether you’re just launching your product feed or if you’re uploading it manually, it helps to visually see when your impressions start kicking in (or when they drop off):


PLA Product Performance

Which products are people buying when they click on your PLAs? How much is that worth to your bottom line?


Ad Group Clicks, Conversion Rates & Revenue

Can I break down PLA performance by ad group?

PLA campaign structure will usually dictate that you establish ad groups geared towards either adwords_grouping(s) or adwords_label(s) that align with the product categories in your feed.

This widget will tell you which of your themed ad groups are pulling their traffic and revenue weight and which ones are wasteful with the clicks:


Matched Search Queries for PLAs

Which keywords trigger my PLAs?

This, my friends, is the Holy Grail of PLA advertising. Before this report, it was tricky to figure out which searches were actually triggering PLAs, short of some inventive tagging in the adwords_redirect field of your feed.

But it turns out the queries can be seen in the Matched Search Queries report, which can then be added to a dashboard widget:


Installing the PLA Dashboard

Easy, peasy:

Click here to install the PLA dashboard

Or paste the link into the browser you’re currently logged into Google Analytics (GA) with. Either way, GA will prompt you to apply it to the profile of your choosing.

Configuring the PLA Dashboard

Every widget in this dashboard assumes a couple things:

  1. That you have Google AdWords and Google Analytics properly linked and are utilizing Auto-Tagging, or that your AdWords Campaigns/Product Feeds are Manually Tagged properly with utm variables.
  2. That the AdWords Campaign you’re running PLAs in has either “PLA” or “Product Listing” in the campaign name.

If #1 isn’t true, go fix your tagging! It’ll behoove you to have that fixed, even if you’re not running a PLA campaign.

If #2 isn’t true, my widgets allow you to fix it. In each widget, there’s a regular expression that looks like this: (PLA|Product Listing|Custom)


Simply replace “Custom” in the regular expression to match the campaign name you’re running PLAs from. Like this: (PLA|Product Listing|My Campaign)

Do this in the all the widgets and click “Save” and you’re good to go!

Run Your PLA Campaigns Fearlessly

With this data at your fingertips, you’re equipped to optimize your PLA efforts and reap the rewards.

Be sure to comment on this post with any questions!

Michael Wiegand
Analytics Architect

In 17 years as a marketer, Michael's experience has run the gamut from design, development, direct mail, multivariate testing, print, and search. He now heads Portent's Analytics practice, overseeing everything from Google Tag Management, to CRM integration for closed-loop analytics, to solving ponderous digital marketing questions. Outside of work, he enjoys recording music, playing JRPGs and supporting Seattle Sounders FC.

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  1. This dashboard just changed my mind about PLAs. Not a full 180, mind you, but definitely a sharp turn. For the past month, I’ve been grumbling about how much I hate Google Shopping and how I can’t even find where any of our products are showing up as PLAs. I poked and prodded Google Analytics and couldn’t make it spit out the info!! Anywhoodle, thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Cheers, Lanae!
      Yeah, I’d still be careful with your bids and how you categorize your products in the feed (the latter being of the utmost importance), but having the immediate insight is a good safety net.

  2. Hi Michael, I installed your PLA Dashboard this morning, thank you for sharing this. I run a business not an agency and the dashboard metrics cost/revenue/roi are precisely what we need to see quickly. We only launched our PLA campaign two weeks ago and its our best performing adwords campaign. This dashboard should help us tweak it even more.
    Thanks again.

  3. Great – thanks for sharing.
    I’m actually a big fan of PLAs. For some products they tend to work a little better than regular (now old) Google Shopping listings.

  4. Excellent stuff – Although we are trying to come up with our own brilliant GA dashboards, it’s pretty hard not to steal ideas from your dashboards which often displays new ways of tweaking this lovely but still not sufficiently used feature of Google Analytics.

  5. Hello there – this dashboard is amazing – I have been looking for a way to track PLA results for so long! Thanks a lot!
    One question. – the “matched search query by PLA” widget somehow shows all keywords ever clicked from all campaigns. I tried tinkering with the filters to just show them from the PLA campaign, but no luck. Any ideas? Thank you inadvance.

    1. Hi Shabbir,
      Without seeing how it looks from your end, I can only guess.
      The RegEx that controls which campaign data comes in is set, by default, to (PLA|Product Listing|Custom).
      “Custom” is a placeholder for any PLA campaigns you have that don’t contain “PLA” or “Product Listing” in the name. But if you had, say, a campaign called “Custom Business Plaques” that contained no PLAs, it would pull in data from that too.
      So just to be sure, modify each widget removing “Custom” so that the RegEx reads (PLA|Product Listing) and click save. Then, make sure all your PLA campaigns in AdWords have “PLA” in the campaign name.
      That’d be the surest way to get no other campaigns.
      Thanks for the comment!

  6. Thanks for sharing this awesome dashboard Michael! Would you by any chance know what causes G to show PLA costs/clicks/ad groups but not the actual revenue? I can see the PLA revenue on AdWords just not on this dashboard/analytics.
    Thanks again!

    1. Hi Kush,
      These things are a bit hard to troubleshoot without having a look at what you’re seeing – but it sounds like perhaps you have the conversion value properly setup on your AdWords Conversion Tracking script, but maybe you don’t have the Google Analytics e-commerce code installed?
      Just a guess, but that’s what I’d check first.

  7. Hi Michael,
    Like Shabbir above, whenever I click on one of the links to expand, I get all CPC traffic from all campaigns. The exact name of my campaign is Product Listing Ads.
    I’ve tried changing regular expression to (PLA|Product Listing). I’ve also tried (Product Listing). Also tried campaign “exactly matching” and “Beginning with” “Product Listing”, but I still get all PPC traffic when I click through.
    Thanks for your help.

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