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Shopping campaign Understanding Keywords V/S product groups


Conceptually product groups and keywords are very similar as both are used by advertiser to define search intent.  Intent is heart of search marketing and volume often depends on width of the Intent, while quality of the intent depends on depth of the intent. For example, search term “Sports shoes” expresses a broad intent about sports shoes and may generate desired impression and click volumes but because of broad intent, quality may not be up to the mark which will result in lower conversion rates. On the other hand search term “air max 2016 price” expresses a very specific interest in a product as well as high intent to buy with “price” which will result in high conversion rates but may fail to generate desired volumes.


Traditionally it was relatively easy to manage depth and width of intent by using different match types. By using different match types along with negative keywords advertisers were able to manage golden mean of volume and quality.


This is very shopping campaigns are different, although conceptually product groups are very similar to keywords they are almost equivalent of “Broad match” going one step further I would say they are “Broad match” with Close variants. This may sound like a bad news but it’s actually very good news. For example a keyword based search campaign for sports shoes with all match types for “sports shoes” may never expose you to search term “air max 2016 price”. But a product group for sports shoes under shopping campaign will provide you with intents which will help you widen your reach as well as reach the depth of your catalog with quality intents. But without match types, how can one manage golden mean between width and depth of intent? Let’s take a look at key differences between the two targeting types and how advantages of product group can be used to manage intents.


Match type: While shopping campaigns do not allow you to choose match types it allows you to create product groups with combination of several product attributes like Product type, Brand, Custom label, Product ID, channel.  With combination of these product attributes and fine tuning of the same  you can easily manage width and depth of intent just like keyword based campaign. And to make things better shopping campaigns can actually feed in to your keyword based campaigns for converting quality search terms.

Negative keywords: Similar to keyword based campaigns negative keywords can be added at campaign and Ad Group level to weed out irrelevant search terms.

Bids: Bids can be set at product group level similar to keyword level bids

Landing pages: This is an advantage of product groups over keyword based ads where you don’t have to worry about landing pages as they are relevant product view pages are chosen from your product feed along with your products.

Position: This is probably a metric which is missing in shopping campaigns reporting. While in keyword based campaigns one can optimize your bids depending on avg. position of keyword, at product group level position is not reported neither in search term reports. May be as a consolation you get benchmark CTR and CPC metrics.


I personally believe product groups are just evolution of keywords and ideally should just be treated as another match type for conceptual purpose. 

As search marketing evolves more types of targeting is introduced as a marketer I remind myself of a quote I read many years ago.

“We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in & be what people are interested in.”Craig Davis


about Nikhil Parachure

Digital Marketing / Web & App Analytics expert with experience ranging from small businesses to very large portals. Across varied verticals like banking, travel, ecommerce, insurance. Google Adwords top contributor since 2013 and currently working with a leading Indian ecommerce portal. Aspiring writer, wants to be lighter!

Nate D
July 2016

like thet say keywords is king.


Alphonse R
August 2016

Can we have products appearing in multiple product groups?