As we mentioned in our last blog post, Product Listing Ads (aka PLA’s), are becoming more and more important in the e-commerce PPC world. And despite being around for a little while now, the best approach to managing them is still a debated topic. Even PPC experts are still honing their skills when it comes to managing PLA campaigns. With more and more advertisers getting in the product listing ad game, we’ve decided to do a blog series focusing on this powerful form of advertising.
For the first installment of the product listing ad series, we’ll discuss a structuring strategy for PLA campaigns that every PPC manager should have in their toolkit. We’re talking about segmenting AD Groups down to the product level. The default setting for PLA auto targets is ‘All Products.’ While it’s important to include an Ad Group targeting ‘All Products,’ there’s much more room to incorporate different targeting strategies as well.
One way to segment ad groups is to have a separate ad group for every product in your Google Shopping feed. This may sound daunting as some businesses may sell hundreds or thousands of products, but don’t worry – there’s a way to generate these ad groups in minutes! Follow the Steps below…
*How to Create Product Level Ad Groups for Your Entire Inventory in Minutes*
Step 1: Download Google Merchant feed & Create worksheet You’ll need to download your Google Shopping Feed from the Google Merchant Center, and open it into excel or csv format. I prefer to save it in xlsx format. Then copy and paste the entire contents of the feed into a new tab within your workbook. In the new tab, delete all the columns except for product title & id. You should have a unique id for each product in your feed. There may already be a column for id in your feed. If not, you can use sku or any unique product identifying number. Just know that you’ll be segmenting by the id auto target in Adwords. Step 2: Configure the worksheet for Import into Adwords Editor Now you’ll want to add a column for ‘Product Target Condition 1’ between the product title and id columns. The cells in this new column will all contain “id” (you can double-click on the bottom right corner of the top cell containing “id” to quickly copy down to the end of the data). Next change the ‘id’ column heading from ‘id’ to ‘Product Target Value 1’. And change the product title column heading to “Ad Group”. Lastly, add a column in front of all others titled “Campaign”. If you already have a PLA campaign in your Adwords account, simply fill all the cells in this column with the exact name of your PLA campaign. When you’re done it should look like this.
You can download this blank PLA Segmentation Template if you like. Note that it contains columns for 3 product targets. You can delete columns for product target conditions/values 2 & 3 if you’re only going to target by id as illustrated in this article.
Step 3: Import into Adwords Editor Select the entire contents of your excel spreadsheet. Copy the selection before proceeding. Now open Google Adwords Editor, and select the Targeting tab >> and beneath that, the Products tab. Then click on Make Multiple Campain Changes >> Add/Update Multiple product targets.
When the next window pops open, select the box in the upper left corner indicating your info contains column headings for campaign & ad group.
Now paste the contents that you copied from excel into the main box of this window, and select “Process.” Step 4: Check Your Work Check to see that all the ad groups were added with their new auto targets. If you already had a PLA campaign, check to make sure your import didn’t accidentally create a new campaign. If it did, then check the name you entered into excel to make sure it’s an exact match with what’s in Adwords. Otherwise, if everything looks good, click Accept Changes, and then post to Adwords. When you re-load your Adwords account all the new ad groups and auto targets should be there. Click into auto targets and spot check a few to validate them. If you get a green check you’re good! And as your new segmentation is product level granular, these should only match one product in the feed.
And that’s a wrap! You’re now up and running with each product individually represented by an ad group. Furthermore, all the ad groups are named according to the product advertised.
*Structure Notes: *You should continue to incorporate an ad group with the auto target All Products. Generally speaking, you should bid this ad group lower than all the others. *Product level ad groups for product listing ads are just one piece of the PLA puzzle. You may want to organize your PLA campaign(s) into various buckets such as Top Performers, Categories, Brand, Price Point/Margin, Seasonal items, Gender etc. Some ecommerce retailers may not want to segment so granularly. However, we think it’s important to know how to incorporate product level ad groups should it make sense in your account. Once you start to gather data you can see which products perform and which ones don’t. From there you can optimize your ad groups with maximum transparency. Adjusting ad group level bids, adding ad group level negative keywords, and various other optimizations will now be available to the account manager.