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Google Shopping Campaigns Let Merchants Go Beyond the Data Feed

Google is now making Shopping campaigns available to all merchants who advertise through Product Listing Ads. Introduced last year, Shopping campaigns make it easier for retailers to manage their PLAs and streamline organization and bidding, but they had been available only to a very limited group of advertisers until this week.

Shopping campaigns allow merchants to browse their inventory directly in AdWords without having to reference their data feed in Google Merchant Center. A Google spokesperson told EcommerceBytes the company was also working on API support and a bid simulator, which will help merchants estimate the amount of impressions they’ll receive as they adjust their bids.

Clearly most merchants want to have different bids for different products – you may be willing to pay more to advertise one product category over another, for example. You can browse your inventory by other attributes as well, such as brand. Campaigns let you subdivide your inventory into separate product groups and then place a different bid for each product group.

Google recommends merchants start by subdividing inventory into categories, product types and/or brands.

But how do you determine what bids to place? The campaign feature lets merchants see Benchmark CTR and Benchmark Max CPC to see how other advertisers are bidding on similar products and what they’re getting in return. Google explains:

To help you optimize and scale your PLAs, Shopping campaigns provide insights into your competitive landscape. In the Product Groups tab, you can add benchmark columns to see the estimated average CTR and Max CPC for other advertisers with similar products. The competitive performance data you see is aggregated and averaged, so all performance data is anonymous.

An Impression Share column helps advertisers understand the opportunity lost due to insufficient bids and budgets.

Google said advertisers using Shopping campaigns have provided positive feedback about the feature, such as this testimonial provided by Rich Brown, Head of PPC at Farfetch:

“The transition was very easy. We quickly created product groups for the top 25 brands and a “top sellers” strategy and saw a 6% reduction in CPC and a 13% increase in conversion rate. The combined benefit of these two improvements alone has meant our CPA has reduced by 20% since we launched Shopping campaigns.”

As of Tuesday, Google Shopping campaigns are available to all advertisers around the world, according to the Google spokesperson. More information is available on the Google Adwords blog.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.