Goodbye Google AdWords Regular PLA Campaign Type, Hello Shopping Campaigns


By late August, Google will retire their regular PLA campaign type and switch all product listing ads users to Shopping campaigns. Beta launched in October 2013 and fully rolled out in February, Shopping campaigns have a number of unique features that make them particularly attractive to e-tailers:

  • The ability to browse inventory within the AdWords platform and create product groups using attributes from your data feed.
  • Custom labels, a way to tag products in your data feed with personalized attributes.
  • Advanced performance measurement, with data segmentation by product or attribute.
  • Aggregate competitive performance data, including the average CTRs and Max CPCs of your competitors.
  • Create and edit with the AdWords API and bulk edit product groups at scale.

If you’re selling products, you should already be using Shopping campaigns because of the impact on clicks and conversions. If not, here's your chance to get caught up and ready before your campaigns are automatically rolled over.

Why the Change?

Remember Google Product Search? It started out as a free service, but became Google Shopping with PLAs back in 2012 (and early 2013, outside the US). However, it's been managed externally, on a separate interface, giving advertisers another "thing" to keep on top of. Shopping campaigns basically brings product listing ads’ functionality into the AdWords interface, with additional features (which are actually pretty great for retailers).

What's New in AdWords Shopping Campaigns?

Alongside the announcement, Google said they've already rolled out some new features for Shopping campaigns, including:

  1. Bid Simulator - Estimate how changing your bid might affect impressions, costs or clicks.
  2. Shopping campaign creation options – Google will allow you to start new Shopping campaigns, or port your PLA campaigns over into the new format.
  3. Multiple ad groups – Those who wish to will be able to create multiple ad groups.

Google has more in the works; in the announcement, they promised, "Over the next few months, we'll share more information and release more tools to help you upgrade your campaigns and manage them at scale."

What is WordStream Doing About Shopping Campaigns?

We will be rolling out support for the new Shopping campaigns in WordStream late in the second quarter, before Google's deadline to automatically switch advertisers over. Stay tuned to our blog, where we'll be sharing tips and tutorials to help you get the most out of the new format.

In the meantime, Google is hosting an advanced level Shopping Campaign Upgrades Tips Hangout on Thursday May 15th at 10 p.m. PST/1 p.m. EST. You can register to participate, or watch live from the event page on Google+ as it broadcasts this session, in which Google promises to share best practices on how to upgrade your regular PLA campaign.

If you're ready to test out Shopping campaigns, check out this video from Google to help you get started:

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Watch the video below on our Free AdWords Grader:

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Michael Higgins
Apr 03, 2014

Sounds pretty good. Always evolving I like that

Anand Mistry
Apr 04, 2014

Hi Larry,I am regular reader of WordStream blog. And, This is really good blog post for Google Adwords Shopping Campaign.I am SEO Group Lead at Commerce Pundit and handling 19+ clients over Google Adwords MCC.Honestly, I am working on 10+ Google Shopping campaigns and eager to share one experience here to get more ideas., I have shared two images to give more ideas on it. I was working on old PLA campaign. And, We got clicks at lowest CPC. But, I have very different experience with Google Shopping Campaign.I have switched my self from old PLA to new Google Shopping campaign and started with old CPC which was implemented on PLA campaign.But, We did not get enough response over there. And, I have measure less impressions and clicks. So, I have to increase bid over new Google Shopping campaign.Now, I want to go with multiple Product Groups associated to different categories. But, How can we get ideas regarding Bidding. How much bidding is require or suitable for specific Product Group?I am quite excited to read your valuable comment on it.  

Apr 07, 2014

Hi,All changes made by Google require budget increase. It was very predictable. It strange as I am able to create separate ad groups within old PLA campaigns. So for me there is no difference  

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