If you own an ecommerce site, small business, or any type of website that sells products, you most likely have heard of Google Product Listing Ad Campaigns. Product Listing Ads or "PLA's" were originally introduced in 2012, and were a great way to advertise your items across the web. They used a feature where users would type in a search and if your items for sale were relevant to them; your advertisement for the said products would be displayed. It worked well for quite some time, and many people still love it. However, it was just recently announced that "Google Shopping Campaigns" will be replacing Product Listing ads in August of 2014. What is Google Shopping Campaigns you're probably asking? This article covers Google Shopping Campaigns, and why you as an online business owner should use the service.

What are Google Shopping Campaigns?

Google Shopping Campaigns are the best way to advertise, report, bid and get at the top of any search list in the Google "Shopping" tab. This is all done through Google AdWords. You can enter the daily budget to make sure you effectively control your spend. Although Google Shopping Campaigns may seem similar to Product Listing Ads, they are indeed very different than the previous service. With the new Google Shopping Campaign, so much is possible. If you were only selling a few products a month, with Google Shopping Campaigns now you have the chance to change that to a few items an hour! Previously with the original Product Listing Ads, it was nearly impossible to easily edit and manage your Ads. Now, with a clean interface and easy to remember functions, advertising your products have never been easier! Plus, with amazing prices that you choose, Admins will save hundreds on your campaign!

CPC System

One of the biggest features of Google Shopping Campaigns is the new CPC (Cost Per Click) option. This allows you individually set the price you pay each time the user clicks on your ad. What does this mean exactly? It means every time a user clicks on your advertisement; you have a maximum cost you are willing to pay for that click. Whether it be 25 cents to a dollar, or whatever you wish it to be, the higher the Cost Per Click is, the more your ad will be likely to be viewed across the web. The new feature that has been introduced is the ability to price each products ad individually, meaning that you can have different CPC's for each product.

Campaign Priorities for Multiple Campaigns

With Google Shopping Campaigns, one of the new features is the Campaign Priority. This is a setting that can be switched on or off in the settings tab, which allows you to figure out which of your many campaigns will be utilised when ads for the certain product are displayed. Google recommends that you only prioritize a small amount of your items with an inventory filters.

API and XML Feeds

An XML feed is short for "Extensible Markup Language" and serves as a markup language that creates a list of rules for encoding documents. An API Feed is short for "Application Program Interface, and is a set of protocols and tools for creating software applications. With the new Shopping Campaigns, you can now develop applications to be used with the service. This allows for easy use with the API and XML feeds. Having this ability saves on Admin time and data entry with adding and constantly changing your products, and let’s you focus on more effectively selling your products.

Custom Labels

Custom Labels are now in place of the previous AdWords labels. Now you can choose your own Custom Labels when you wish to subdivide. How does it work? Basically, you can use Custom Labels to show that products are on sale! This can also be used to show if it's a best seller, an item with an expiration date, or any other type of product with certain labels.

Benchmarking Data

With Google Shopping Campaigns, you can now use Benchmarking Data to view an analysis that will show you your main online and offline competitors. You can also use these options on the Bid Simulator Tool. With the Bid Simulator Tool, you can view rival ads for the same or similar items you are selling, and change your CPC to outmatch theirs and stay ahead of the game. Benchmarking Data has never been easier!

Inventory Filters

In Google Product Listing Ads, you used to use Product filters, but now with Google Shopping Campaigns, you can use "Inventory Filters" which allow you to lower the amount of products you wish to show, based off of the analysis from the Google Merchant Center. This could apply to any brand, or a variety of different items.

Campaign Management

With all of these updates, now you can look at all of your inventory while in AdWords and have the ability to "Group" your items and even set the CPC's! You also have extremely powerful Analysis tools, allowing you to view how well your products are doing. You can see what makes them popular, and even view the amount of Clicks one of your products had that day! This is indeed a huge improvement from the previous model.

How to set up a Google Shopping Campaign

So at this point, you're probably wondering how to use all these amazing features.

  • First, open your Google AdWords page and head to the "Campaigns" tab.
  • Next, head to your All Products Group and simply click on the plus symbol located on the right hand side of the bar.
  • Now you will be viewing a list of all your products from your data feed, put into simple categories, so finding your items will be easy.
  • Next, select the products you wish to bid on and hit save.
  • Now by clicking on the product groups, you can set the bid for each individual item.
  • And that's all there is to it!

Now you're ready to sell your items on Google Shopping! Have fun and good luck.