Last week Google announced that PLA campaigns, or Product Listing Ads campaigns, will be replaced by the end of August with Shopping Campaigns. There are new features you’ll find with the Shopping Campaigns that are meant to help you manage your campaigns at scale. According to the announcement, these campaigns have received great feedback so far.
Shopping campaigns have actually been available for advertisers since February of this year, so for many the transition won’t be too overwhelming. You have quite a bit of time to get accustomed to the new types of campaigns—if you’re an advertiser already running a regular PLA campaign, you can choose to either replace all of these campaigns with Shopping Campaigns right away, or you can slowly move over your campaigns one by one. Nevertheless, the sooner you can learn about the benefits and how it all works, the better forward you can move your AdWords campaign and get ready for the big August switch.
New Features of Shopping Campaigns in AdWords
As discussed above and in the announcement, Shopping Campaigns were introduced in February of this year and offered “the ability to browse your inventory directly in AdWords, report on your performance down to the product-level, and bid competitively with new metrics like benchmark data and impression share.”
The latest features of the new Shopping Campaigns include:
- Bid Simulator. This tool will help you estimate how bid changes will affect your impressions, clicks, or costs.
- Shopping Campaign Options. There are now new options available that helps you either create a campaign from scratch or use one of your regular PLA campaigns to help you keep things consistent such as product targets, negative keywords, and your content.
- Advanced Retailers. Some advanced retailers may want to create multiple ad groups, so now Shopping Campaigns make it easy.
The above three features are new to Shopping Campaigns, but many of the other benefits still remain true. You still get powerful reporting that allows you to see how your products are performing at any level (no new product groups needed), competitive data and advanced optimization (using the bid simulator tool), and retail-centric campaign management (browse your product inventory directly in AdWords).
Some of the Changes You’ll see with Shopping Campaigns Instead of PLAs
Although you have until August to use your PLAs, it’s important to start familiarizing yourself with some of the things that are different about the Shopping Campaigns. A few of these differences include:
They use product groups, not product targets.
In the past with regular PLAs you would need to manually create and manage each of your product targets. With Shopping Campaigns, all of your product data is accessible within AdWords. These campaigns are powered by your Merchant Center product data, but you can browse and organize your product inventory without having to reference your Merchant Center product data.
Custom Labels Overtake AdWords Grouping.
Shopping Campaigns use Custom Labels instead of AdWords labels or grouping. Custom Labels helps you subdivide your products in a campaign. You can create up to five custom labels for every product. Note: Until August, if you’re still using PLA campaigns you shouldn’t replace your AdWords Labels with Custom labels in your product feed because it could affect your performance.
In the end, it’s really the way you manage and monitor your campaigns that has changed. So what hasn’t changed? What the new Shopping Campaigns offer users and potential customers is just the same as with the old regular PLAs. The ads will still appear in the same places on the web and on the same networks, so the need for these campaigns hasn’t changed in the slightest.
Resources to Help You Learn More about the New Shopping Campaigns
Google has been publishing quite a few different options for those of you who are still unfamiliar and want to learn more. Some resources that may help you:
- The official Google announcement.
- An in-depth guide to Shopping Campaigns.
- Tutorial Videos.
- Advanced Shopping Campaign Upgrade Tips.
So what does this all mean to you? In the end, it’s important to understand how Shopping Campaigns work and the benefits they can offer because come August these will be your only option. I think you’ll find that they aren’t too different than your regular PLAs, but it’s still important to become familiar with some of your options so that you can move your AdWords efforts forward over the next year and beyond.
Are you familiar with Shopping Campaigns in AdWords? In the comments below, let us know about your experience and what you think about Google retiring PLAs ads.