Set up your regular Product Listing Ads campaign

Regular Product Listing Ads campaigns are going away. Upgrade to Shopping campaigns!
Shopping campaigns are here with a better, more retail-centric way to manage your Product Listing Ads. We’re retiring regular Product Listing Ads campaigns in late August. Upgrade to Shopping campaigns today for a better way to promote your products. Learn more.

Once you're familiar with Product Listing Ads and how they work, you're ready to set up a campaign to begin promoting your product inventory. There are two different ways to manage your Product Listing Ads in AdWords:

  • Shopping campaigns (recommended)
  • Regular Product Listing Ads campaigns

Shopping campaigns let you use your Google Merchant Center product data within AdWords to control which products are shown with your ads for a given campaign. By contrast, regular Product Listing Ads campaigns let you manage your product ads through your standard AdWords campaign settings. You’ll set up product targets to control which products are shown with your ads. Here we’ll show you how to set up a regular Product Listing Ads campaign.

Tip

If you’re looking for a simple and flexible way to organize and promote your Google Merchant Center product inventory within AdWords, we recommend trying Shopping campaigns instead of regular Product Listing Ads campaigns. Shopping campaigns give you retail-centric tools to group and bid on the products you want and powerful reporting and benchmarking tools to monitor and optimize performance. Learn more about how Shopping campaigns work.

Click to one of the following sections to get started with your regular Product Listing Ads campaign:

Note

Product Listing Ads can be targeted to the following countries, where Google Shopping is available: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the U.K., and the U.S.

Link your Google Merchant Center account to your AdWords account

For your Product Listing Ads to show, you'll need to link your Google Merchant Center account to your AdWords account. Google Merchant Center is a tool that helps you upload your product listings to be used for Google Shopping, Product Listing Ads, and Google Commerce Search. You can link multiple AdWords accounts to a single Merchant Center account.

Here's how to link your Merchant Center account to your AdWords account:

  1. In your Merchant Center account, click Settings and then click AdWords.
  2. Enter your AdWords customer ID. You can find your customer ID at the top of any AdWords page when you're signed in, near your email address.
  3. Click Add.

 

You'll also need to link your AdWords campaign to your Merchant Center account. We'll show you how to do so in the next section of this article.

Set up your regular Product Listing Ads campaign

Create a new regular Product Listing Ads campaign

Once you've linked your Merchant Center account to your AdWords account, you're ready to set up a new regular for Product Listing Ads campaign:

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab. Then, click + Campaign and select Search Network only. For your Product Listing Ads to run, your campaign must be opted into the Google Search Network since Product Listing Ads are only available on Google Search and Google Shopping (in select countries).
  3. Campaign type and sub-type
  4. Select the radio button next to Product Listing Ads in the campaign type section of the page. If you don't see the Product Listing Ads option, it might be because this option is available for "Search Network only" campaigns.
  5. Select Product Listing Ads
  6. Scroll to the "Merchant identifier" section of the page and choose a linked Merchant Center account to associate with your campaign. If there are no available accounts to link, you'll need to go back to Merchant Center to complete this step first.
  7. Ad extensions
  8. If you want your Shopping campaign to include products sold in local stores, and you have a verified Local Products feed set up in Google Merchant Center, you can choose that option in the “Shopping channels” section (available in U.S. only).

    By default, Product Listing Ads campaigns are set to "Online," meaning the products sold on your website and submitted to Google Merchant Center using the Products feed will show with this campaign. Select "Local" if you want your campaign to show local products sold in physical stores and submitted to Google Merchant Center using the Local Products feed. Check both "Online" and "Local" to display products from both online and local shopping channels. Learn more about local availability for Product Listing Ads (article in English only).
  9. Click Save and continue.
  10. Now, you'll create your first ad group. Within the "Create an ad" section, you have the option to enter promotional text for your ad. This promotional text will appear with any of the products associated with this ad group, so make sure that the text is relevant to all the products that you'll be advertising. For example, let's say your promotion is "Free shipping on orders over $50," and you'd like to promote products for Brand X and Brand Y shoes. This offer needs to be relevant for your Product Listing Ad regardless of whether it shows Brand X or Brand Y shoes. Learn about guidelines for promotional text.
  11. Next, you'll add the "All products" target to your ad group by default. You can add more product targets to this ad group later. (You'll read more about product targets in the next section of this article).
  12. Enter a default bid for this ad group under the "Ad group bids" section.
  13. Click Save ad group.

Create a new Product Listing Ad in an existing campaign

To set up a Product Listing Ad in an existing regular Product Listing Ads campaign, first make sure that the campaign is linked to your Merchant Center account. We'll show you how to check whether your campaign is linked to your Merchant Center account in the following steps.

To create a Product Listing Ad in an existing campaign:

  1. Sign in to your account at https://adwords.google.com.
  2. Select the campaign where you want to create your ad.
  3. To make sure that your campaign is linked to your Merchant Center account, click the Settings tab and scroll down to the “Merchant identifer” section. You should see your Merchant Center account information.

    If you don't see your Merchant Center account, add it by clicking the Select account drop-down menu and choosing the Merchant Center account associated with the products being advertised in this Product Listing Ads campaign.
  4. Select the Ad groups tab.
  5. Click +Ad group and name your ad group.
  6. You have the option to enter promotional text for your ad. Your promotional text will appear with any of the products associated with this ad group, so make sure that the text is relevant to all the products that you'll be advertising. For example, let's say your promotion is "Free shipping on orders over $50," and you'd like to promote products for Brand X and Brand Y shoes. This offer needs to be relevant for your Product Listing Ad regardless of whether it shows Brand X or Brand Y shoes. Learn about guidelines for promotional text.
  7. Next, you'll add the All productstarget to your ad group by default. You can add more product targets to this ad group later. (You'll read more about product targets in the next section of this article)
  8. Enter a default bid for this ad group under the "Ad group bids" section.
  9. Click Save.

It may take up to 12 hours from the time you update your settings for your Product Listing Ads to appear. If you're submitting a product feed for the first time, it may take up to two business days for the new feeds to be reviewed.

Using shopping channels to promote products sold in local stores

By default, Product Listing Ads campaigns show ads for products sold from an online website. If you want your campaign to show products sold in a physical store location, and you have a verified Local Products feed set up in Google Merchant Center, then you can change the "shopping channels" setting from your campaign settings tab (available in U.S. only). Learn more about local availability for Product Listing Ads.

Here are the shopping channels you can use:

  • Online (this is the default setting): Check this box if you want your campaign to show products sold from your website. Online products are submitted to Google Merchant Center using the Products feed.
  • Local - Check this box if you want your campaign to show products sold in local stores. Local products are sold in physical stores and submitted to Google Merchant Center using the Local Products feed. Google may verify accuracy of in-store inventory before showing local products.
  • Online and Local - Check both boxes if you want your campaign to show products from both local and online channels.
Adding and editing local shopping channels

To add a local shopping channel to a new Product Listing Ads campaign, make your channel selection from the "Shopping channels" section of the "Select campaign settings" page. The "Online" option is checked automatically by default.

To edit the shopping channels setting for an existing Product Listing Ads campaign:

  1. Click the Settings tab of the campaign you would like to edit.
  2. In the "Shopping channels" section, select Edit.
  3. Check the boxes for the channels you would like use for this campaign, "Online," "Local," or both.
  4. Click Save.

Highlight your Product Listing Ads with a promotional message

You can add promotional text to your Product Listing Ads if you want to highlight special information that applies to all the products you're targeting in a particular ad group. These messages shouldn't be used as ad text, but rather as actionable alerts that differentiate you from the competition. Promotional text is limited to 45 characters, and keyword insertion won't work with this text or the product information text provided dynamically from your Merchant Center account.

Make sure your promotional text meets the AdWords policies on editorial standards and relevance, clarity, and accuracy to avoid any unforeseen delays.

Tip

Because AdWords promotional text must go through a review process, you could encounter delays in getting your message seen by customers. Consider using one of these options instead of AdWords promotional text:

Here are a few common mistakes to avoid in your promotions:

  • Don't use promotional codes with consecutive zeros
  • Don't capitalize entire words
  • Don't use double exclamation points
  • Don't use symbols or shapes

Examples

Promotional text Allowed? Reason
Use coupon code HALZ for $10 off at checkout It's okay to capitalize all the letters in the promotional code
We are the BEST out there!! Promotional text contains excessive capitalization and double exclamation points
Use coupon code Z00LZ to save 20% Promotional code contains consecutive zeros
Free 1 day shipping with any purchase of $100 or more It's okay to use consecutive zeros in monetary values
Lowest price | Discount on all products Promotional text contains a symbol
Free shipping on orders over $50 It's okay to use the dollar sign ($) to indicate monetary value in promotional text
Buy a second one for 50% off It's okay to use the percent (%) symbol in promotional text

We recommend using promotional text that includes a specific benefit for your potential customer if they click on your ad. Avoid using vague or general descriptions.

Here are a few examples of less useful product promotions:

  • Satisfaction guaranteed
  • Certified the best costume retailer in the Bay Area
  • Low prices, guaranteed

Create product targets

Product targets allow you to select which products are eligible to show on Product Listing Ads, and they also allow you to bid differently on different sets of products. You'll need at least one product target in order to run Product Listing Ads since they tell us what products you want to promote.

When you initially set up your regular Product Listing Ads campaign or add a Product Listing Ad to an existing campaign, a product target for all the products in your product feed is created by default. You can create additional product targets and manage them from the Auto targets tab, which you'll see once you link your Merchant Center account to your campaign.

Understanding product targets and keywords

Instead of keywords, regular Product Listing Ads campaigns use product targets to determine when items in your Merchant Center account appear on a search results page. Defining keyword lists for proactive targeting won't have any effect on your Product Listing Ads or product targets at this time. However, you can use negative keywords to limit the searches for which your ads will show. Negative keywords can be applied at the ad group or campaign level.

Using the "All products" product target (default product target)

You can create an "All products" product target, which uses all of the products in your Merchant Center product feed to target your ads, if you don't need to specify a particular subset of your products. This "All products" target is created by default in any new ad group in a campaign that has a Merchant Center feed associated with it.

Using attributes with your product targets to define sets of products

Product targets are defined using attributes that are set in your AdWords and Merchant Center accounts. Attributes, like a product's type or condition, define your products in a unique way. If you'd like to bid differently for separate groups of products or simply organize your campaigns with specific groups of product, then you'll need to create product targets using the different attributes that we allow.

You can define groups of products choosing attributes from your Merchant Center feed and set which values those attributes should have for the products you specify. You might need to create additional attributes in your Merchant Center feed in order to use some product target settings. Once you've defined a group of products in this way, your Product Listing Ads in the ad group will be eligible to show for any customer searches that are related to the products you've specified.

Attributes

Here are examples of the attributes you can use:

  • id: The identifier (id) for each product in your Merchant Center account.
  • brand: The product's brand as specified in your Merchant Center account. Example: Google.
  • product type: The product's category. Examples: shoes, high heels, or fridge.
  • condition: The condition of the product. Examples: new, used, and refurbished.
  • adwords grouping: A custom defined grouping of products. This attribute only accepts one value per product. You can create your own grouping as you see fit. Examples of custom groupings could be those of grouping the products per season, per designer, per manufacturer, per year, per model, etc.
  • adwords labels: The same as adwords grouping, but it accepts up to 10 values. You can group your products in two different concurrent groupings. For example, cars grouped by model and by manufacturer.

Tip

If your campaign is using the CPC pricing method, we recommend that you use adwords labels.

How to set up your product targets

Here's how to create a product target:

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com.
  2. Select the campaign where you want to create your target.
  3. Click the Auto targets tab.
  4. Click Add product target.
  5. Select the ad group where you'd like to create the product target.
  6. Select up to three product attributes and enter their corresponding values. These values must match the values in your Merchant Center feed exactly, or your ads won't be eligible to show for these targets.
  7. Click Save.

Tips

  • You can add multiple product targets to each of your ad groups. You should consider doing so only if you want to have different promotional messages for each product target.
  • Like unique placement and keyword-level bids, you can set bids for your product targets. This will allow you to specify how much you are willing to pay when a customer clicks on a Product Listing Ad triggered by a particular target. You can read more about product targets and bids in the next section.

Tips for setting up your regular Product Listing Ads campaigns

Depending on your campaign goals, including your bidding strategy and promotional messaging needs, it might help to set up your regular Product Listing Ads campaigns according to certain guidelines.

Setting up a regular Product Listing Ads campaign based on your bidding strategy and messaging needs
Bidding strategy Messaging needs Recommended approach
Bid the same amount for all products No promotional messages or one message for all your products
  1. Create one ad group.
  2. Create one product target set on "All Products" (enabled by default during ad group creation).
  3. Create one product listing ad.
Bid the same amount for all products Different promotional messages for different sets of products
  1. Create multiple ad groups.
  2. For each ad group, create one product target set with one product target each.
  3. Create a corresponding product listing ad per ad group with promotional messages.
  4. Use the same bid or commission for each ad group.
Different bid for different sets of products No promotional messages or one message for all your products Merchant Center:
  • Set up your feed data within your Merchant Center account to define groups of products (such as by brand, category, etc.).

AdWords:

  1. Create one ad group.
  2. Within the ad group, create the same product targets to match all the different sets of products with the distinct bids (CPC) you want.
  3. Product targets attributes: Use condition, brand, product type or adwords labels attributes to create the different product targets.
  4. Create at least one corresponding product listing ad for the ad group.
Different bid for different sets of products Different promotional messages for different sets of products Merchant Center:
  • Set up your feed data within your Merchant Center account to define groups of products (such as by brand, category, etc.)

AdWords:

  1. Create multiple ad groups.
  2. Create one product target per ad group with a corresponding product listing ad with promotional message.
  3. Product targets attributes: Use condition, brand, product type or adwords labels attributes to create the different product targets.
  4. Indicate your bid or commission for each product target you've defined.

Tip

If you're doing a CPC implementation, we recommend that you use the adwords labels attribute because it's more flexible.

Bidding best practices

Here are a few tips to help you get started with setting bids for your regular Product Listing Ads campaign:

  • If you're using maximum cost-per-click (max CPC) bidding, try setting the same max CPC bid that you use for your existing text ads and then see how your Product Listing Ads perform.
  • You can change your bids as often as you'd like. However, consider setting a bid amount and then seeing how your Product Listing Ads perform. Once you've collected enough data, you can identify how profitable your product targets are with their current bids. Then, you can adjust your bids accordingly.
  • Change bids for multiple targets at once on the Auto Targets tab. First, select the checkbox next to any of the targets you want to change. Then, click on the Edit menu and select Change max CPC bids…, Change percent CPA…, or Change destination URL….

Use inventory filters to restrict which products from your Merchant Center account appear with your ads

The inventory filter is a way for you to define which products in your Merchant Center account can appear for your Product Listing Ads. By default, we'll match people's searches to relevant products from your entire Merchant Center product feed. However, if you create an inventory filter for a group of products that are in your product feed, then we'll only show products from your product feed that match the filters you've created in your Product Listing Ads campaign.

Example

Let's say your campaign is linked to a Merchant Center account featuring running shoes, women's clothing, books, and a range of household appliances. Let's also assume you've properly categorized your products using the product type attribute.

For this campaign, you want your product ads to include only products from your feed that are in the category "Women's clothing," so your inventory filter would have to be: product type is "Women's clothing." Once this inventory filter is set, only women's clothing items are eligible to show on your Product Listing Ads.

How to set up inventory filters

Tip

The values you enter in your conditions must match your Merchant Center feed attributes exactly, or the conditions will not match any products, and Product Listing Ads won't serve for this campaign

  1. Sign in to your account at https://adwords.google.com.
  2. Select the campaign where you want to add inventory filters.
  3. Select the Settings tab.
  4. Click Shopping settings (advanced).
  5. Click Create custom filter.
  6. From the drop-down, select the product attribute (Product type, Brand, Grouping, Condition, Labels) to determine which products from your feed are eligible to appear in ads in this campaign.
  7. Enter the value for your filter in the text field.
  8. To add additional filters, click + and follow the steps above.
  9. To create an alternate filter, select +OR and follow the steps above. You can select up to 10 "OR" statements as requirements. You can specify up to five conditions within each "OR" statement.
  10. Click Save.
Setting the company name shown in your ads

The company name displayed in your ads is defined within your campaign's linked Merchant Center account.

You can change the company name for your Merchant Center account under Settings > General > Company or organization name (Required).

Learn more about this setting and Merchant Center company name guidelines.

Manage your Google Merchant Center product feed

Your Merchant Center product feed contains groupings of attributes used to describe your products, such as category, product type, brand, condition, item ID, and AdWords labels. We use those attributes to determine when your Product Listing Ads are eligible to show, so it's important that the content of your Merchant Center feed is accurate and up-to-date.

You can find the latest information about setting up and maintaining your product feed in the Merchant Center Help Center. Here are a few of the most useful articles:

Best practices for your Merchant Center product feed

Here are a few tips to help make sure that your product feeds are set up correctly:

Setting up your attributes

Check your product feeds to make sure that they are using the required attributes. Learn more about our attribute requirements.

Checking the quality of your product data

Check the product data that you submit to your product feed to make sure it's high-quality data -- fresh, accurate, and comprehensive. To get an idea of how you can improve your data quality, sign in to your Merchant Center account and review your data quality and data feed information. Read more about the quality of your data.

Check the products in your product feed

The products in your product feed must be labeled "active" in order for your Product Listing Ads to show. Learn more about "active" products.

Visit the Merchant Center Help Center to find out how to troubleshoot your product feed.

Using the Merchant Center page to review your product information

The Merchant Center page in AdWords gives you "read-only" access to product data for all of the Merchant Center accounts that are linked to your AdWords account. From the Merchant Center page, you can see information, like the status of the product feeds and the quality of the product information, which can be used to improve your Product Listing Ads.

Note

If you manage any of the Merchant Center accounts that appear on your Merchant Center page, you must sign in to your Merchant Center account to make any changes to the product information. If you don't manage any of the Merchant Center accounts that appear on your Merchant Center page, you'll need to contact the owner of each Merchant Center account and ask them to make changes to the product information.

To get started, click the Tools and Analysis drop-down menu and then click Google Merchant Center. You'll see a table with the following columns:

  • Merchant Center Store Name: A list of all the Merchant Center stores names that are linked to your AdWords account.
  • Total Active Items in Product Ads: The number of active products in each Merchant Center store. Active means that the product has been submitted and accepted into Merchant Center. If the product was submitted recently, it might not be fully processed and eligible to appear in your Product Listing Ads.

Click the link for each store name to see more detailed product information. Once you click the link, you'll see a Dashboard tab and Products tab. Read the sections below to find out more about the information that you'll see on each tab.

Dashboard tab

On the Dashboard tab, you'll see three sections that show you more detailed product data. The sections are data health, data feeds, and data quality signals.

Data health

The "Data health" graph shows you whether your products are eligible to appear or are currently appearing in your Product Listing Ads. In the graph, you'll see the number of products that are active, awaiting review, or disapproved. Here's what each product status means:

  • Active means the product has been submitted and accepted into Merchant Center. If it was submitted recently, this product might not yet be eligible to appear with Product Listing Ads. Keep in mind that you have to create Product Listing Ads for your ads to appear.
  • Awaiting review means that we're reviewing the product to make sure it complies with our policies before accepting it into Merchant Center. Read more about our policies.
  • Disapproved means the product is disapproved and isn't active in the search results. In other words, the product isn't eligible to appear with your Product Listing Ads.

Data feeds

The "Data Feeds" table shows you a list of the most-recently updated data feeds for your product, including the date and status of the most recent upload. In the table, you'll see the data feed filename, the date the feed was last uploaded, and the number of products that were inserted. Read more about data feeds.

Data quality signals

The "Data quality signals" table shows you the quality of the product data for a given retailer. In the table, you'll see the type of error and the percentage and number of times that error occurred during our last analysis of the product data. In Merchant Center, we categorize these errors into levels based on the severity of the error. If you see a high number of errors, you might want to reach out to your Google Merchant Center contact to find out if these are critical errors. Read more about each type of error.

Products tab

On the Products tab, you'll see a table with a list of the products that are in the Merchant Center account that you selected.

In the table, you'll see more information about each product, including the condition of the product, and the target country and language of the product. In the "Product Ads" column, the icons will give you an idea of whether the product is eligible to appear in your Product Listing Ads. Here's what each icon means:

  • The green check mark means the product is active and eligible to appear in your products ads.
  • A yellow hourglass means the product is being reviewed to ensure it complies with our policies.
  • A red circle means the product has been disapproved.

You can also filter the products by their statuses by clicking the "Status" drop-down menu (it'll be "Searchable" by default) and selecting the status by which you'd like to filter. Here's what each product status means:

  • Active means the product has been submitted and accepted into Merchant Center.
  • Searchable means Merchant Center and AdWords have processed the product and it's eligible to appear in Product Listing Ads.
  • Inactive means we're reviewing the product to ensure it complies with our policies or the product has been disapproved and isn't active in the search results. Read more about our policies.

Note

When you filter the products, there might be products that you might not expect to see for a particular status. That's because it can take several hours for the most recent updates to your product information to appear in the table.

Once you've reviewed the product information in the table, you can click the link for a product and see more information, like the URL, technical details about the product and data feed, and any product attributes that have been added to Merchant Center. You can then use this information to check the attributes of various products in your Merchant Center feed. Keep in mind that these attributes impact how you create product groups for your Product Listing Ads.