Beginner's Guide

Getting started with Shopping campaigns and your AdWords account

Shopping ads are ads that include rich product information, such as product image, price, and merchant name, and use data attributes from the product information you submit in your Merchant Center data feed. We'll show your ad to people who are already searching for the kinds of products you advertise -- so those people are more likely to take action. You can customize your ad content, set a budget and pricing that’s comfortable for you, and easily measure the impact of your ad with advanced reporting and performance tools.

In order for your products to show to users, you will need to create campaigns for your Shopping ads in AdWords. Shopping campaigns allow you to manage and optimize Shopping ads to promote your products online. Shopping campaigns offer a simple and flexible way to organize your Merchant Center product inventory so you can easily create customized campaigns. You can then use powerful reporting and benchmarking tools to monitor and optimize your campaign performance.

Your product data is integral to how you create and manage your Shopping campaigns. By making all of your product data accessible, Shopping campaigns let you easily browse and organize your product inventory and make informed decisions about your advertising strategy. Shopping campaigns use product groups to select which products you want to bid on in a given campaign. You can subdivide your inventory into customized product groups using any product attributes (category, product type, brand, condition, item ID, custom labels) you choose -- and at any level of granularity. The products within the product groups you don’t subdivide remain in an “Everything else” product group. You then set bids for each product group depending upon your campaign goals.

It is very simple for merchants to create a basic Shopping campaign directly from Merchant Center in just a few steps. You’ll either create a new AdWords account or use an existing one, and then enter some basic campaign information such as your bid and budget. This campaign will put all of your products into one “Everything else” product group. Once you’ve created the campaign in Merchant Center, you’ll be able to use the retail-centric tools in AdWords to manage your campaign and further subdivide your products. Learn more about how Shopping campaigns work.

Note: If you've enabled local inventory ads, your Shopping campaigns can also serve local inventory ads. Learn more about using Shopping campaigns to promote local inventory.

AdWords settings and account linking

You will need an AdWords account that is linked to your Merchant Center account in order to set up your Shopping campaign. This allows your Shopping campaign to use the product data you submit in your Merchant Center account. You can either:

  • A. Create a new AdWords account;
  • B. Use your existing AdWords account to which you have Administrative access;
  • C. Use other AdWords accounts linked to your Merchant Center account;
  • D. Link another AdWords account to your Merchant Center account.


Learn more about AdWords account access.

A. Create a new AdWords account

If you don’t have an AdWords account, you will see an option to “Create Account” in the AdWords tab in Merchant Center. Click on this button to start the process of creating your AdWords account and Shopping campaign.

You’ll need to provide the following to create your new account:

  • Time Zone: Defines the time zone upon which your reporting is based.
  • Currency: The currency in which you place bids and set budgets.


Both of these options will be pre-populated based on your location, but you can select any options available in the dropdowns. Note that you will not be able to edit these settings later.

B. Use an existing AdWords account to which you have Administrative access

If you already have Administrative access to an AdWords account that is listed under the same login ID as your Merchant Center account, you can use this AdWords account to set up your Shopping campaign. Click on the “Create Shopping Campaign” button to start the process.

Note: You will need Administrative access to the AdWords account you would like to use to create a Shopping campaign from within Merchant Center. If you have accepted an invitation for these access levels to an AdWords account but your access has not been granted yet, please contact your AdWords account administrator. Learn more about AdWords account access.

C. Use another AdWords account linked to your Merchant Center account

There may be one or more AdWords accounts owned by other users (e.g. colleagues from your organization) that are linked from your Merchant Center account. Even though you don’t have access to those AdWords accounts, you can choose the specific account from the list that you’d like to use for your Shopping campaign, and contact the owner of that account. The owner of the account can either give you access to the AdWords account or can log into Merchant Center themselves to set up a Shopping campaign.

You can also change the linking status of one of these AdWords accounts by selecting one of the following:

  • “Activate” will allow a linked AdWords account to access your Merchant Center account;
  • “Deactivate” will disable the link between that AdWords account and your Merchant Center account;
  • “Remove” will permanently remove the link between an AdWords account and your Merchant Center account.


D. Link another AdWords account

If there is an AdWords account that you would like to link to your Merchant Center account to create your Shopping campaign (e.g. for an Ad agency that may be managing your Ad campaigns), you can click "Link another account," enter the AdWords Customer ID for that account, and save. The owner of that linked AdWords account can then sign in to AdWords and set up campaigns directly in AdWords.

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