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


  1. Scott September 22nd, 2014

    Found you looking for information on E CPC. Since the google shopping switch conversions are roughly the same but costs are up 40% almost to the day we made the switch. Every change that comes along seems to benefit google, not the advertiser or consumer

  2. Scott September 22nd, 2014

    Forgot to mention the clearest indication to me that something is broken – in the old PLA if I bid $5,000 for the day and didn’t have the product depth to support that google wouldn’t spend the money. I feel like I could have 10 products, bid $50,000 and they’d spend $51,000 even if I didn’t gain a single sale. What I’m noticing a ton of is CPC’s version of domain stuffing…..they’ll fire off 4 of the 5 ads for the same company instead of allowing others in even when 3 of the 4 items are unrelated. It’s a total mess.

Leave a Comment

Jason Bruggemann
Jason joined 3Q Digital in October 2012 after working at iProspect for nearly two years. Before he joined the search marketing industry, he graduated from Northern Illinois University with a B.S. in marketing and a minor in economics. Jason enjoys being active and cannot live without playing sports. You can find him on nearly any basketball court in Chicago. Aside from staying active, he enjoys playing his guitars and reading about music history and the brain. -Jason is certified in Google Search, Bing, and Kenshoo advertising.