Google has heard our requests for more insights into our Product Listing performance, and has replied with the introduction of Shopping campaigns. This newest beta promises to knock the socks off your traditional PLA campaign.

The new Shopping campaigns include insights about your product performance, competition, and increased reach for optimizing your bids and settings.

To set up this kind of campaign, you’ll need to be granted access to the beta through the whitelisting process.

Once in the interface, you’ll create a campaign that focuses on Shopping PLAs, much like the current campaign set up. Once in the campaign, you can forget all about those pesky ad groups of the past. Shopping campaigns have Product Groups which allow you to put similar products together for the managing.

In the past, we’ve seen PLAs blow us away at their effective bridging of interested shopper with the purchase of their dreams. But there have been limitations to this wonderland as well. Previously, the limited direct reporting kept us at arm’s length for performance metrics.

What do these new Shopping campaigns offer to remedy the issue? By setting up your own Product Groups, you can choose what aspects of your feed go into each group. Subtype options

And if you have something specific you want to track, such as Apparel –> Clothing–> Swimwear –>with the custom label of “Womens” and also “July”, you can now create custom labels to include in your feed. This will let you optimize for that specific set of products.

Shopping Campaign

This means that via Shopping campaigns, you’re also able to browse your inventory in the interface through your designated groupings. You can bid directly on them and see your inventory (based on your feed).

Shopping campaigns will also give you an understanding of what competition you’re actually facing through average CTR and max CPC for similar advertisers.  New metrics, Benchmark CTR and CPC, are both going to be present in the new campaigns to help you better gauge what all the other PLA kids are doing.

While it might be awhile before we can access all these amazing tool and features, one initial step you can take is beginning to prep your data feed. Some of the specifications, such as groups or labels have left us and now you’re simply equipped with “custom label.” Don’t get me wrong, I love customizations (who doesn’t like to be the one decided how their own products are identified?), but it’s one difference that will inevitably trip you up if you don’t prepare for it. While you wait for that glorious day when you can begin building your campaign, consider what kinds of product groups you’d like to incorporate into your feed.

As a side note, it currently it appears that Shopping campaigns not yet part of the AdWords editor, which further complicates your management process. No worries, as we suspect this will be remedied as Shopping campaigns become more in demand.

All of these things make that darling gem, the Product Listing Ad, so much more transparent of an investment. This will most likely lead to more businesses getting in on the PLA game. And we know that an increase in advertisers often means higher CPCs. But it surely appears that a “potential increase in average CPCs” may be worth the control we’re now getting with this new feature.

Convinced? Sign up for the whitelist.

Still unsure? Sign up for the Learn with Google webinar that will go through it more thoroughly on November 20th!

Have you been one of the lucky ducks to access this new beta? Let us know!