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August marked the 20th anniversary of the first ever online transaction - a copy of Sting’s album Ten Summoner’s Tales.

Since then, ecommerce has gone from strength to strength with 95% of us now shopping online.

In the same way music trends have come and gone, over the last two decades marketers have had to evolve the way they engage with consumers online; fielding both shifts in consumer behaviour and the way Google displays its results.

If there is one thing that retail marketers have learned about advertising on search engines over the years it’s that relevancy is a key to success. Google’s latest update aims to make this easier. Google Shopping ads (previously known as product listing ads or PLAs) were introduced this month to allow advertisers to set up and manage campaigns in a more intuitive way.

However, with the vast number of marketers who have grown accustomed to PLAs and already have existing PLA campaigns running, there are undoubtedly many wondering how this change will affect them.

Below are my own ten ‘summoning’ tips for marketers to help make the most of the change from PLAs to Google Shopping.

1. Take baby steps

A third-party platform with tools including bulk upload and reporting will help to simplify the process of creating Shopping campaigns so you’re not overwhelmed by the initial process.

Additionally, a URL builder can help to automatically update URLs so that performance can be accurately tracked. Then when it’s time to make the switch, just turn off the PLA campaign and you’re ready to go.

2. Have a clear plan

Carefully review and redefine product group structures for Shopping campaigns. Use analytics and current PLA campaigns as a guide to what campaign structure will work best for your needs.

The better-organised campaigns are, the more likely they’ll be successful.

3. It’s not too early to be thinking about Christmas

Spend on PLAs in the months leading up to the festive season previously grew at a steady rate (increasing a huge 145% year-on-year in November 2013).

Many retailers agree that PLAs not only performed better than standard text ads from a CTR perspective, but also cost less per click. We would predict a similar trend to materialise with Google Shopping ads.

4. Campaigns are now organised by 'product groups' instead of 'product targets' 

With the change-over to product groups, advertisers can subdivide a product group into more specific categories.

Shopping campaigns will automatically upload products from an advertiser’s product feed into an 'all products' group. For campaigns, advertisers can then subdivide products into product group categories that are predefined by the product attribute data.

Campaign performance can now also be viewed by different product attributes. 

5. 'AdWords grouping' and 'AdWords labels' have been replaced by custom labels

Advertisers currently using the 'AdWords grouping' or 'AdWords label' attribute in their PLA campaigns will need to create a new custom label or use an existing product attribute to replace the old attribute.

Custom labels will allow advertisers to categorise their products in meaningful ways that were not possible before. For example, through the use of customer labels, advertisers can now categorise products by 'best sellers' or 'on-sale items'.

6. Use Shopping campaign data to remarket to similar audiences on Facebook

By create Facebook Custom Audiences based on search query data from your digital marketing platform, you can target the same audiences on Facebook with tailored messages based on their search queries within that platform.

Now, advertisers can reach previous website visitors on Facebook based on their intentions to 'buy running shoes' for example.

7. Automate wherever possible

Juggling the changes between volume, cost, and revenue associated with numerous bidding goals can be a difficult task to manage, but with the help of automated tools, advertisers will be better positioned to meet your business targets more efficiently

8. Track revenue/ROI for campaigns based on what matters to your business

It’s a general point but an important one. As you analyse more and more data from different channels – including Google Shopping campaigns - it’s important to get as complete a view as possible.

Solutions that provide integrations with the leading analytics, ad serving, call tracking, and CRM systems will make it easier to create a complete view of paid search ROI.

9. Don’t analyse data from different channels in silos

Marketers looking to maximise overall campaign ROI require a single source for measurement, insights, and analytics that aggregate search and social marketing campaigns in one interface.

Marketers who analyse search and social campaign ROI holistically are able to make better decisions faster than they would by managing each channel on its own.

10. So, how do you go about migrating your PLA campaigns to Google Shopping?

  1. Inside AdWords, select 'Shopping' under the Campaigns tab on the menu.
  2. Following the on-screen instructions, set a default bid and a daily advertising budget.
  3. Next, pause the current equivalent PLA campaign to prevent running any duplicate campaigns.
  4. Once your Google Shopping campaigns are up and running, advertisers should monitor and analyse performance metrics to ensure that they are getting desired results.

When used correctly, the new Shopping campaigns will help simplify the lives of advertisers, as well as empower them to achieve optimal results with their campaigns.

With the retail-centric focus that Shopping campaigns have, advertisers should find it easier than ever to bid on and manage products, handle performance reporting, and find opportunities for growth.

Jon Myers

Published 29 August, 2014 by Jon Myers

Jon Myers is vice president and managing director EMEA for digital ad management platform Marin Software.

11 more posts from this author

Comments (2)

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Dev

Google shopping has become fully paid which is kinda sad for marketers but it seems their service have improved a tab bit after becoming paid. Now, since we are paying our hard-earned money for each click, we need to focus on conversion. These tips will definitely help us then.

almost 2 years ago

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ppcMatt

PLAs need to be on long tail terms, not things like "red shoes" you are going to waste a lot of money there. Think about your customers, are they ready to decide what kind of "red shoe" they want?

almost 2 years ago

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