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The New Google Shopping: Great for Managing, Poor for Performing

Published: May 14, 2014

Author: Jason Bruggemann

The next great migration target for AdWords features is product listing ads (PLAs). By late August of this year, SEMs will be forced to adopt Google Shopping campaigns over the old PLA campaigns. So…is this a good thing?

Those of you who already upgraded have probably noticed how much nicer it is to manage all your products. It saves so much time when you have thousands of products within your feed. When I first upgraded, I thought it was amazing. There were still some flaws with managing products but there have been updates such as using multiple ad groups as opposed to using just one ad group, which allows for funneling with negative keywords. When we look at the metrics, we have so much more insight into how our products are doing, such as impression share data and benchmark CTR & CPC. Those metrics alone should be worth the upgrade. But do these upgrades come at a cost?

It’s hard to imagine with easier management of products and more insight on performance that we wouldn’t be able to surpass performance experienced on the old PLA format; however, that is exactly what has been happening. When keeping the same exact structure in the Shopping campaign migration, I noticed efficiency and volume drop. I checked with my colleagues and was told that they experienced the same thing. After we brought this up with Google, they mentioned that we weren’t the only ones and that it was an issue they are digging into.

Since we aren’t forced into the new Google Shopping campaigns until late August, it may be worth leveraging your old PLA campaigns until the issue gets resolved. Unfortunately, there may be no way of knowing if anything gets changed on the back end. If we see these numbers continue through August, I can’t imagine advertisers would happily switch. I’d keep an eye out and let Google know if you see poor numbers so they can escalate and possibly address the issue before everyone is forced into it. We would love to utilize the new metrics & management structure…but not at the expense of performance.Bad report card

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