This February 2014 Google opened up its Shopping AdWords Campaigns to all advertisers around the world. It is the evolution of Google Product Listing Ads (PLA) into fully fledged AdWords campaigns of its own.
Google Shopping Campaigns are particularly useful for stores with large inventories of products. The store can be a website or a combination of online and local. Product listing ads drive traffic to your site showing rich images and details of your catalogued products. The main benefit for merchants is that with little effort an entire inventory of products can be set up for online marketing. [The benefit for Google is more ads, more competition, more revenue from online advertising.]
With a few steps you can promote your entire inventory and have your products show up in specially enriched search results on google.com and on google.com/shopping:
- log into your AdWords account
- In the Campaigns tab, select the red +CAMPAIGN drop-down and choose the new type “Shopping”, see screenshot below.
- create a name for the new campaign
- fill in your Google merchant ID (from your merchant center)
- specify shipping country and location targeting
- set default bid for product groups
- set daily campaign budget
- optionally add additional ad text, e.g. ‘free shipping’ or such
Interesting side effect of Shopping campaigns is that AdWords analytical reporting capabilities can be used as a proxy for product performance. A business can “browse its inventory” in the AdWords console and look at clicks, impressions, and the usual performance metrics to see which products generate interest and which less so. Product inventory performance reports can be reviewed by dimensions, e.g. day-of-week or product category, sub category, or many other attributes. Such analytical data of product marketing may help with better understanding and re-organizing a business’ inventory.
Interestingly this time Google is more transparent with competitor information. Shopping Campaing reports allow to show how your marketing efforts stack up with the competition. It has columns for benchmark CTR, benchmark CPC, impression share, for instance.