About campaigns with AdWords Product Listing Ads

If you have a Google Merchant Center inventory account, you can create Product Listing Ads in your AdWords campaigns. Product Listing Ads (PLAs) are a unique ad format that display specific product information like an image, title, price, promotional message, and your store or business name. Learn more.
Product Listing Ad

DS offers a choice for creating PLAs:

  • Create a new PLA campaign: PLA campaigns automatically generate ad groups and granular product targets from inventory attributes in your Merchant Center account. When you add new products, prices, descriptions, or landing pages to your inventory account, DS will pick up the changes and automatically apply them to your PLA campaigns. PLA campaigns easily scale up to include thousands or even hundreds of thousands of individual products.

    This is the recommended option for new campaigns, and especially for campaigns with a large number of products.

  • Add product targets to a manual campaign: If you’ve already created an ad group structure that works well for your business, and if you’ve found an effective way to use a small number of product targets, add product targets to a manual campaign. AdWords uses product targets instead of keywords to determine when a PLA displays for one of your products. Manual campaigns do not generate ad groups or product targets; you’ll need to create ad groups and then add product targets to each individual ad group.

Regardless of the type of campaign you choose, you can write automated rules that pause and unpause product targets as inventory levels fluctuate.

Key considerations for PLAs in DS

Before you use DS to create and manage PLAs, consider the following:

  • Which data attributes will you need in your Merchant Center Account? DS and AdWords use the data supplied in the Merchant Center to both organize your product targets, and populate the Product Listing Ads with item titles, descriptions, images and more. For optimal PLA performance, you'll need an optimized Merchant Center feed – this means ensuring the contents of the feed are accurate, consistent, readable, and updated frequently.

    If you create a PLA campaign, you’ll also use this data to organize your products into ad groups. In addition, PLA campaigns can leverage custom attributes in your Merchant Center feed to organize your Product Listing Ads. For example, you can use custom attributes to include data about your products like seasonality, profit margin, or categories that reflect some aspect of your reporting structure.

  • How granular should your product targets be? Instead of keywords, AdWords uses product targets to identify the products you want to display in a PLA. Granular product targets enable you to set bidding and report results for individual products in your inventory or for small groups of products.

    PLA campaigns make it easy to follow the best practice of one product target for each SKU. In fact by default, PLA campaigns generate one product target for each product ID in the campaign. If you prefer to use some other strategy for product targeting (such as targeting by brand or category), you can change the default setting.

Create granular product targets for the best results

For optimal reporting and management, create granular product targets. For some advertisers, this might mean creating one product target per SKU, for others it might mean highly granular product targets with a handful of SKUs. Busy retailers might be tempted to overlook this practice because it's challenging to create and manage granular product targets at scale. DS makes this critical best practice easy and scalable. By default, PLA campaigns create one product target for each product ID in the campaign.

Why is it a best practice to have granular product targets? Mostly because all management and reporting is done at the product-target level. This means:

  • You can view performance metrics for each product in your inventory. If you group multiple products into a single product target, you’ll be obscuring the performance of individual products. If a single product target contains both high performers and low performers, you’ll only see the average performance for all products in the product target.
  • You can increase bids for individual products that are performing well, or that need a boost in spend.
  • You can pause/unpause individual products.
Use DS features with product targets, just like keywords

Many DS features support product targets similar to keywords. For example:

  • Labels: you can apply labels to product targets as an additional means of organizing reports and bulk edits.
  • Automated rules: you can use rules to adjust bidding or make other edits based on a schedule.
  • Track conversions: you can use Floodlight activities or Google Analytics to track conversions.
  • Track Floodlight conversions on product targets.

  • Use DS bulksheets to scale the creation of many product targets at once.

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