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Google Shopping - The Life After PLAs

Google Shopping - The Life After PLAs


Google introduced Product Listing Ads or PLAs in 2012. These search ads included more product information like product photo, price and seller name, without the need for additional keywords or text. When anyone makes a search relevant to a specific item in your Google Merchant Center account, the most relevant products will be displayed along with the product photo, price and name. PLAs have brought about many changes in Google Shopping, and they are certainly meant for everyone’s benefit.


Impact of PLAs

Many studies revealed that PLAs have had been readily embraced by retailers for building their online sales. It was found that almost 50% of all clicks related to non-branded retail searches came from PLAs. Before Google launched these ads, advertisers could manage their campaigns in Google AdWords and Google Merchant Center account.


Google is currently asking all Product Listing Ads (PLA) advertisers to move all their campaign management to Shopping campaigns.  A look at the new interface tells you that Shopping campaigns will provide better control over all the factors such as product categories, feed data and analytics. From now onwards you will be able to combine inventory data and performance across channels, which means delivering more successful ads in keyword or product advertising.


Shopping Campaigns

It was a few months ago that Google moved from PLAs to Shopping campaigns and it has proven to be a big success so far. Before that time, advertisers were finding certain level of complexity with regard to setting up or managing their PLA campaigns for Google Shopping. Google addressed the issue by releasing Shopping Campaigns.



Shopping Campaigns (SC) provided feed data from within AdWords, which was earlier shielded inside the Google Merchant Center. The factors in your Google Merchant feed data including product type, category, item ID and condition were made visible within AdWords. Shopping Campaigns also allowed you to choose any of these attributes while setting up product groups or create custom labels, enabling product tags in your feed data using custom factors like Margin.


Other Changes

The other major changes brought about through SC were that reporting allowed performance viewing by either product or attributes. Besides, Google linked performance metrics to the product rather than the product group.


Another important development is that SC will let you benchmark your bids by checking the CPC and CTR of similar products. It may not be possible to view ranking, but you will get more information that could encourage you to bid higher.


As part of the migration drive, Google has already brought about many fine changes in the PLA campaigns for encouraging early switches. One such development is the removal of the ability to authorize product targets in AdWords. It is now possible to set campaign priority from within the New SC’s Settings tab. Thus, you could determine the Campaigns that should be displayed most often. At the same time the current automated bidding systems cannot be transferred directly to the new Google Shopping Campaigns.


As an advertiser, all these developments are positive for you, but the main modules in PLAs should also be kept in mind. This includes better data quality, more accurate product categories, and current pricing. How PLAs will be served will be eventually based on these crucial factors. So as an advertiser it will be up to you to make the most out of Google Shopping Campaigns for expanding your knowledge and growing your online footprint. The date for the migration over to SC has been carefully chosen by Google to give you sufficient time for preparing for Q4.


about Trevor Stewart

Here to improve user experience through Google products! Helping Businesses achieve a positive R.O.I in their Marketing efforts. Google Adwords Certified, Google Analytics Certified.