The importance of Shopping Campaigns for Ecommerce



Google Shopping is built entirely around something called Shopping Ads. They’re the small, square-ish image ads that appear at the top of the Google Search pages, sometimes under the premium ads on the left, other times in the upper-right-hand corner. Google will show between four and eight of these on the search results page and feature the image of the product, the price, about 30 characters of the product’s title, and some optional promotional text.


You are reading this because you want to optimize your campaigns, so you already know that Google Shopping offers:

  • very strong presence in Google results pages
  • very finely-tuned keyword targeting
  • a relatively low CPC
  • a relatively low CPA
  • relatively simple campaign housekeeping (once the feed is setup)


Regular PLA campaigns are retiring and are being replaced by shiny new Shopping campaigns. This post looks at why ecommerce businesses can no longer afford to ignore AdWords Shopping campaigns.


PLAs Dominate For Product Related Searches

There is no denying that PLAs are now the most dominant ad format on product related searches. From the traditional PLA format on the right hand side of the screen, to top of page shopping results, PLAs take up the priority ad space in most product searches.

It’s natural for users to be drawn to these product-centric ads as it gives them more information than a standard text ad could, so if you’re not optimising this ad format pro-actively then your ecommerce site will be missing out on your share of this advertising space.


More Conversion And More Cost-Effective

It’s not just about the advertising space though, as PLAs often convert at a higher rate and can be more cost effective. In my experience many ecommerce sites I work on are seeing around two thirds of their conversions coming via PLAs, and they are often the best value conversions.


Actively Optimise To Keep Up With The Competition

Regular PLA campaigns are being retired at the end of August, and are being replaced by shiny new Shopping campaigns. There are many pros and cons to this change, but that is a whole different blog post so I won’t go into all of those those now. One of the key changes is the introduction of Benchmark CPCs – this means you really can no longer afford to take the ‘set up and leave them’ approach.

AdWords says Benchmark CPCs are based on the CPCs of other advertisers who are bidding on similar products. The issue with making this data visable within PPC accounts is that those less savy advertisers will assume this is what they need to bid in order to remain competitive and as a result PLA advertising costs will probably start rising at a faster rate than previous.

Be wise with this metric – it is a nice insight but it’s important to consider how honest Google are being with their ‘benchmark’ and what they consider to be ‘similar products’. When all is said and done you should bid based on that product group’s conversion rate, revenue and ideally profit margins. Never bid more than what is cost effective for your products.


Don’t Panic…

If all of this sounds a bit overwhelming, or you simply don’t have time to upgrade or optimise your PLAs or Shopping campaigns, we are here to help! Whether you’re looking for a one-off audit to make sure everything is on-track since your upgrade, or ongoing PLA management, get in touch and we’ll soon have your shopping campaigns more cost effective than ever before!