Still on PLAs? How to Migrate to Google Shopping

By , Associate Director of Services at Hanapin Marketing


Welcome to this month’s series week on PPC Hero! We’ll be focusing on all things eCommerce, letting you know how to fine-tune your campaigns and where opportunity lies.  So sit back and learn strategies for boosting your sales and ROI.


Google is retiring PLAs (Product Listing Ads) in August and accounts running them will be upgraded to Google Shopping campaigns. Google Shopping, just like PLAs allows you to show an image of the product you are attempting to sell instead of a text ad, which has proven to increase conversion rates and ROAS.


We’re going to dive into these new campaigns by giving some important information about what Google Shopping campaigns are, how to upgrade, and instructions for setup.


What You Need to Know


End users will not see any difference regarding where or how product ads are seen. What has changed is how product campaigns are managed. You will now have more flexibility than ever to bid, report, and optimize your products by working directly in the AdWords interface.


Some key benefits of the new Shopping platform are:


Product Inventory: Your inventory can now be searched for directly in Adwords and managed by product groups.


In Depth Reporting: Individual product level data performance is now available. The option exists to exclude poor performing products and create campaigns based around top performers.


Benchmark Reporting: Benchmark CPC, CTR, & your impression share are now available.


Custom Labeling: Assign custom labels to identify product types. Multiple labeling is allowed. For example a product can be labeled ‘electronics’ & ‘clearance’.


Upgrading to Google Shopping


In order to successfully upgrade to Google Shopping, you’ll need to take care of a few things to make sure the transition is smooth.


Optimize Your Data Feed: Ensure your data feed is configured in a way that you can arrange and bid properly on your products. Your data feed will create the product groups that will organize your campaign. You can still setup campaigns by legacy PLA attributes but the formatting is a bit different as your setting up product groups instead of auto targets.”


Create New Custom Labels: Create new custom labels to segment products in your shopping campaigns. These labels can be used to identify groups of products that need to be managed in a similar manner. Up to 5 custom labels are available for use.

Setting Up a Google Shopping Campaign


Setting up a Google Shopping is intuitive and straightforward. Just follow the steps below.


  1. From the “Campaigns” tab, click +Campaign.
  2. Select Shopping from the drop-down menu.
  3. Settings are divided into priority levels. If the same product is in multiple campaigns, the campaign with the ‘highest priority’ will show. Make sure to set your campaign priorities wisely and with your goals in mind.
  4. Click Save and continue.

There are two ways to set up ad groups. Option 1 is to select ‘bid for all products’ which means a single ad group will house all products with the same bid. Option 2 is called ‘Base ad groups on one of your regular Product Listing Ads campaigns’. This option allows Adwords to automatically create ad groups based off your existing PLA campaigns.


Below are directions for setting up each ad group type.


Setting Up ‘Bid for All Products’ Ad Groups



  • Select the Start with one bid for all products radio button.
  • Give your ad group a name and add any optional promotional text.
  • Click Save and continue. This will create an enabled ad group. You’ll be taken to your new ad group’s “Product groups” tab, where you can customize your product groups and set your bids.

Bid for all products


Setting Up ‘Base Ad Groups On One of your Regular Product Listing Ads Campaigns’ Ad Groups



Select the Base ad groups on one of your regular Product Listing Ads campaigns radio button.


Base on PLA Campaigns


Next to “Base ad groups on,” click the drop-down menu and select the regular Product Listing Ads campaign you want to use.

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 10.30.16 AM

Once you’ve selected a campaign, you’ll see a summary of the number of ad groups, product groups, negative keywords, and ads (with optional promotional text) that will be generated in your Shopping campaign. You’ll be able to compare it to the number of ad groups, product targets, negative keywords, and ads (with optional promotional text) in your original regular Product Listing Ads campaign.


Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 10.33.54 AM

  • Click Save and continue to create ad groups in your Shopping campaign.
  • You’ll be taken to your “Ad groups” tab where you’ll see the different ad groups created for this campaign. Review each of the new ad groups, product groups, negative keywords, and ads (with optional promotional text) and make adjustments as needed.
  • Make sure you pause the corresponding regular Product Listing Ads campaign so you aren’t duplicating your advertising efforts.


Some Final Thoughts


Google Shopping will certainly provide more flexibility to manage and optimize products. Given the choice between migrating from PLAs or setting up new shopping campaigns from scratch, I recommend the latter.


Starting new campaigns reduces the chance of issues occurring during the migration process and gives you full control of how your product feed is set up and implemented. Regardless of what route you take, I suggest getting started now to ensure the transition from PLAs to Google Shopping is a smooth one!


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3 thoughts on “Still on PLAs? How to Migrate to Google Shopping

  1. Andrew Bethel

    FYI: Not everyone will see the “Base Ad Groups On One of your Regular Product Listing Ads Campaigns” option.

    Here are some details:

    It is only possible for smaller campaigns. Here are the conditions for which that switch is possible:

    • PLA campaigns should have less than 100 ACTIVE + PAUSED ad groups with ACTIVE product targets

    • Less than 1000 ACTIVE Product Targets across ad groups

    • Product Targets should be ‘all products’ or single condition (e.g. not brand=nike AND product_type=shoes)

    • Product Targets within an ad group should all be the same type (e.g. all by ‘brand’).

    • [account level] Less than 1000 ACTIVE + PAUSED campaigns with Product Targets and less than 2500 ACTIVE product targets across campaigns

    • Campaign / ad group / product target should have MaxCPC bidding strategy

    • Supported condition types are: brand, condition, id

    1. Kayla Eide

      Thanks for your comment. I’m switching over to Shopping campaigns now with help from this article, and I would have been pretty confused if you hadn’t mentioned this. Looks like my campaigns are too big.

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