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Google Makes It Easier for Merchants to Migrate to Shopping Campaigns

With regular Product Listing Ad (PLA) campaign types slated to be retired in late August of this year, Google has been encouraging merchant advertisers to shift to Shopping campaigns. Preferably, Google would like to see these transitions happen sooner rather than later with its AdWords customers, and according to one expert, small sellers will benefit from the ease-of-use offered by Shopping campaigns.

Google has been touting Shopping campaign benefits for some time as they nudge advertisers into changing over from regular PLA campaign types. Included among the enticements are having the Bid Simulator available for shopping campaigns, and the option for retailers to create multiple ad groups if desired.

In a perfect world advertisers would start a new Shopping campaign and build upon that. However it seems Google has recognized some of its customers would prefer an alternate method to doing this, if they already have a regular PLA campaign up and running and would like to base their Shopping campaign on a regular PLA campaign.

The Inside AdWords blog introduced an option for advertisers who would like an upgrade option. After starting a Shopping campaign, advertisers will be able to choose to begin with fresh bids, or to create ad groups based on existing PLA campaigns.

Some advertisers may find this option isn’t available to them. Google said if parts of PLA campaigns weren’t transferable to Shopping, then this option would not be open. Advertisers who use product targets based on AdWords labels or groupings will encounter this, for example.

Those product targets won’t be needed anyway for tracking in Shopping campaigns. Performance in Shopping Campaigns can be tracked various ways; one can monitor ad performance under Shopping’s Product Groups tab for a broad look, or drill down all the way to performance for individual items as seen in the Dimensions tab.

Brad Hintze, VP Marketing at online ad service firm Finch, remarked on the PLA-to-Shopping campaigns shift. “Google is clearly working hard to enable ecommerce companies to reach more customers and do it as efficiently as possible. With these updates, the more granular control you have over all of your AdWords campaigns, the more you can use PPC to drive profit and revenue, not just traffic.”

Small-to-medium businesses will benefit most from this change, said Hintze. “Previously many changes to PLA campaigns would happen directly at the feed, requiring development and technical resources many small businesses just do not have. With Shopping campaigns, they can make adjustments directly through AdWords. This makes it much more simple to group products and make very granular changes.”

The shift is intended to increase adoption of Shopping Campaigns, he said. “The easier it is for businesses to manage and optimize, the more they are willing to spend.”

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David A Utter
David A Utter
David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. You can find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.