With the holiday season rapidly approaching, Google recently introduced shopping campaigns  as a new way for advertisers to manage and optimize their PLAs. Shopping campaigns are already rolling out in the US but will become available globally by early next year. The new retail-friendly shopping campaigns allow advertisers to manage their product inventory directly within AdWords. Products can now be divided into “product groups” that more closely resemble the organization of the retailer’s website. Shopping campaigns offer advanced reporting featuring performance data by product or by product attribute, making it easier to optimize PLAs more precisely. Advertisers also have access to competitive performance data, providing insight into how their products are performing against the average CTR or maximum CPC for similar products.
According to Erin Banks, Creative Editor and Channel Management, shopping campaigns represent an exciting opportunity for advertisers: “For so long, we have essentially been flying blind, relying on repeated testing of feed attributes to see what performs well and what doesn’t. Of course we have best practices, but that will only take you so far. Feeds are definitely the future of search and, as Google makes feed capabilities available to a wider range of advertisers, having better data to analyze feed and PLA campaign performance is critical to advertiser success.”
Ranil Wiratunga, Senior Director of Paid Media, adds that “the better visibility and optimization levers will allow for easier optimization going into the holiday season. One possible disadvantage, however is that by commoditizing PLA tools, shopping campaigns allow less savvy advertisers to enter the PLA arena and potentially disrupt certain segments of ecommerce. Ecommerce advertisers will need to focus more heavily on the optimization of their feed and their account structures to accommodate for this potential increase in competition.”
Shopping campaigns are just one of many ways that Google is reshaping PLAs for the upcoming holiday season. Amidst all the other changes Google is making to Adwords, we are closely tracking the impact of shopping campaigns on retailer performance as we head into the busiest shopping season of the year.
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