Product Listing Ads Best Practices

Product Listing Ads Ad Group Structure Best Practices


Mary Weinstein

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Structure Your Ad Groups

Create Category Ad Groups For Your Product Listing Ads Campaign

Multiple Product Targets Ad Group Example


Structure Your Ad Groups

Keep in mind that you don’t need to have an Ad Group for every brand in your data feed. Too many brand Ad Groups can create overlap with other Ad Groups, and may not even generate traction.

Product Listing Ads Bidding Overlap Example

For example, you have an Ad Group for Brand X set at a $0.35 bid. Say you then added an Ad Group based on a Price Bucket of $40 – $100 set at a $0.45 bid. Any Brand X product which fits within the $40 – $100 price bucket will now be bid at $0.45 and not $0.35 because Google will revert to the highest bid set for a given product.
Another example would be if you had an Ad Group set at $0.35 for Brand X which sold only office chairs. If you were to create an Ad Group set at $0.45 that targeted office chairs regardless of brand using the ‘product_type’ auto target, you would essentially not see any traffic within the Brand X Ad Group. Once again, Google reverts to the highest bid for a given product.

Since all products for Brand X fit within the ‘product_type’ Ad Group which is bid at $0.45, your $0.35 Brand X Ad Group would never receive any traffic. Keep in mind, those products from Brand X will still receive traffic however you will not collect the data for that brand specifically which could hurt your Ad Group analysis later.

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If the above brand X explanation has you a bit confused, here’s a simplified visual explanation with ad group bids overlapping the All Products Ad Group bid:

Product Listing Ads bid overlap

Note: See the next section to learn more about Category and Product Type Ad Groups. It is inevitable that you will eventually have product overlaps, the key is understanding how to create specific product targets within your feed to make the most of your Ad Groups and bidding strategies.

If you fully understand how to manipulate your feed to make use of the adwords_labels and adwords_grouping columns you can arrange your PLA campaign to minimize overlaps.

Create Category Ad Groups For Your Product Listing Ads Campaign

Breaking out category Ad Groups in your Google Shopping PLA campaign is very similar to creating brand Ad Groups. Think of Ad Groups as just a way to group your products for PLAs. So category Ad Groups would be akin to categories on the CSEs, just on PLAs you need to identify those categories through Ad Group validation.

You’ll want to follow the same steps for creating a category Ad Group as you did for creating brand Ad Groups, but specific to your product categories. Remember you may or may not want all of your categories to have their own Ad Group, since those same products will be encompassed in the All Products Ad Group.

If every one of your product categories from the data feed has its own Ad Group, and you also have your All Products Ad Group set up, there will be products in both the All Products Ad Group and also one (or more) of your category Ad Groups.

Take a look at the ad group structure of this PLA campaign:



The All Products Ad Group in this example has the lowest bid (25 cents), so if the category Ad Groups set up (Paper Lanterns, Cheap Paper Lanterns, Paper Decorations) encompass your entire product feed inventory, then the All Products Ad Group becomes mute. Since AdWords works using a bid hierarchy, the higher bid between the two Ad Groups would outrank the lower bid.

product listing ads cpc bid jason“In the long term you want to have a sophisticated campaign built out and customized based on your inventory

However, doing so right off the bat could have negative side effects. You face the risk of spreading your budget and clicks too thinly causing your listings to come down early or your spend to rise unfavorably high.”

So eventually, you may want to have Ad Groups which include every category, brand, etc.  

Here’s an example of an Ad Group with multiple product targets:


To set up this Ad Group, you’ll need to select multiple product target filters like in the following example:


It’s really important to double-check your product targets in this situation and make sure they match up exactly with the data displayed in your Google Shopping product feed. If one of the product targets is incorrect, the whole product target will not validate, like in the following example:


At this moment you are limited to 3 separate filters as seen in the example above. This number may be changed by Google in the future.

Multiple Product Targets Ad Group Example:

different-ad-groups-exampleAn example would be that you want to target a specific Brand and Pricebucket within your ‘Gifts & Décor’ category. The three key components are the following: multiple-product-targets-exampleThe Brand and Category [aka: product type] should already be present within your feed without any manipulation. The Adwords Label needs to be added manually.

Once that is set up your product target would then look something like this:


Keep in mind that if you just made an adjustment to your data feed, it could take anywhere from 1-2 hours for the validation tool to validate your changes.

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