The New Features In Google Shopping Scripts

By Jacob Fairclough | @RealSecretJake | Senior Account Analyst at Hanapin Marketing

With the official arrival of Google Shopping Campaigns, marketers are now receiving the support and tools they need to succeed on the new platform. Shopping groups are not complicated but they aren’t always straightforward to manage and monitor. Thankfully we now have scripts to the rescue!


With the new features and functionality, we will only be able to scratch the surface today. Once the community starts digging in, I’m sure it will be no time before we start seeing some amazing scripts released across the web.


What Is Different?


Compared to past scripts, many of the high level steps for accessing campaigns and ad groups are still the same. This means if you aren’t comfortable with using scripts in your Google Search campaigns, you may want to review those as well for additional support on the Google Developer site or here on PPC Hero.


Everything changes once you land at the ad group level. Google has introduced new entities to represent product groups, which are built differently than ad groups.


Rather than use “.keywords()” you can now use “.productGroups()” to access the contents of each ad group. Since product groups exist as a hierarchy they can be slightly confusing at first and will force you to become more cognizant of where the script is executing any functions.


If you’d like a great example of running through the hierarchy of a product group, see the Google example here. Go ahead and test it in your account. It will work it’s way through a selected ad group and print the results to the console. You’ll not only have a snippet of code you can use but the output will make the operations much clearer.


Building You Shopping Campaigns


With ad groups and product groups added to scripts, you can now build campaigns with scripts. For the technically savvy, with a bit of prep work these scripts could be a big increase in time efficiency, compared to building through the interface.


Something that was not highlighted in the announcement but is just as useful; All settings such as budgets, targeting, ad scheduling, and ad delivery can all be set through scripts. Doing these by hand can be quite a burden but if you’ve started automating this process in your search campaigns, you can carry the functionality over to shopping.


Filtering Product Groups


Using the same top-level data used to build your product groups, you can easily utilize scripts to alter certain aspects of a product group. For example you may sort by brand or by condition. These are extremely useful if you either have multiple brands in one group or have a brand separated across multiple campaigns.


Due to the click intensive nature and multiple steps it takes to edit in the interface, scripts can be utilized to target specific segments across multiple parts of the account. For instance, retailers may want to increase volume of a specific line of products or they may wish to limit the exposure. Using scripts you can include a brief expression to change the bids and insert into the example script that transverses the hierarchy. This would allow the script to move through the account and as it encounters certain groupings it can increase or decrease the bids.


Using Excluded Products Category


AdWords scripts include special targeting for “all other products”. This section is an automatically created grouping that appears whenever you start building segments. If you are using a specific campaign and ad groups structure the “all other products” is quite a pain. It’s too easy to select during bid changes or forget altogether.


Since “all other products” inherits the bid of the parent segment, keeping this option open can lead to either extra impressions that throw off your metrics or in the worse case scenario cause an unintentional spend spike on the wrong products in your inventory. This scenario can be extra troubling if you have many low value products in your feed that are general enough to rack up the traffic.


Similar to targeting brands, you can use scripts to either keep these bids low or to exclude them completely. I like to keep my campaigns fairly structured by brands and products so I never use the “all other products grouping” I’m currently working on implementing scripts to audit all my campaigns on a regular basis to make sure these are excluded.


What Is Next?


This is a great sign from Google, not only in regards to having the tools, but a sign of Google’s commitment to AdWords scripts. I’m not only excited about the news but I’m also excited to see what is going to come down the pipeline in future updates.


What are you most excited for? Have you already implemented scripts in your shopping campaigns?