For the past few months, we at Portent have been trying out Google AdWords’ new Shopping Campaigns format for a couple of our clients. We had been eager to try it out and finally got the opportunity last November when one of our clients was accepted into the beta program. After 2 and half months, we have some trends we’d like to share which highlight the difference shopping campaigns can make compared to traditional PLA campaigns.
Before I proceed, I’d like to emphasize the following example involves product listing ads which had been managed manually, not using any sort of 3rd party tool. Likewise, the shopping campaign in this example has also been managed manually without the assistance of a 3rd party tool. If you currently manage your product listing ads with the assistance of automated tools or programs, please consider shopping campaigns carefully before going all gung-ho for change.
This particular account is the online retail industry and sells less than 5,000 products total. Prior to being admitted to the shopping campaigns beta, the Product Listing Ads campaign had been set up with a basic structure of one ad group for each manufacturer. We made the switch to the new shopping campaign format and were immediately impressed with the new functions in the user interface, allowing us to separate out product sub-categories (as determined by Google’s product taxonomy) and bidding on them differently within the same ad group:
Furthermore, we were able to add custom labels to the data feed to segment products further, thus allowing us to utilize another level of granularity. In this example, we assigned a label to each product based on price range.
In the end, we were able to set up this new shopping campaign in a relatively short amount of time, using several levels of sub-categories to organize and bid on products. Previously, we would have had to create one ad group per product ID to get this same type of granular organization and bidding flexibility – a highly time-consuming and arduous process. Now, instead of a few hundred ad groups to keep track of, we have one. And of course, we have the option to break things down further, creating multiple campaigns and/or ad groups if need be.
The results were definitive – the shopping campaign format and robust functionality resulted in immediate progress which has been sustained since. For product listing ads, our average CPC has decreased 44%, our average CPA has decreased 57%, and our conversion rate has increased 29%.
If you currently manage your PLAs manually and are interested in a more robust format without having to resort to a 3rd party tool, you can sign up to be part of Google’s beta program.