12 Must Know Facts About The New Product Listing Ads

By Tinuiti Team

A NEW PLA campaign structure, Yay! Yes, this is a brand spanking new toy for us all to learn and play with. This is exactly what we have been doing since some of our clients had gotten early access to this feature. There are a number of pros and cons to this format. Since I am a positive guy, I will start with the pros of using this new feature.<

Product listing ads shopping campaignsProduct Listing Ads Campaign Pros:

1. Easy Build out

This feature allows Ad Groups, now referred to as product groups, to be built out with ease. You can now select any type of product grouping, like brand or category, from a list of available options based on the data in your feed instead of having to manually create targets 1 by 1.

2. Easier to evaluate, multi-level strategies 

You can now easily evaluate different strategies, whether it is a top brand, best seller(s), or another strategy, and determine what is driving the performance at each level.

For example, if you are using a top brand strategy, you can view how each product category within a brand, is performing.

3. Data will already exist when you subdivide your groups

This makes it easier to see if a new strategy will be effective.

4. Benchmark CTR & Bids

Tells you how your bids & CTR compare to other retailers with similar products. This tool can be very useful if used correctly. This allows a user to compare his bids with other users. This could cause people to spend more than what is necessary if this is the only metric they are looking at when deciding whether or not to raise bids.

Google shopping pros and cons5. Products Tab shows you all your product data directly in the Ad Words login and is searchable by any attribute.

This is another great feature; now you don’t have to jump back and forth between your Ad Words campaign and your data feed to make strategy decisions. You can access all of your product data within the Ad Words platform

6. PLA Features Coming Soon

Impression share- This is a feature that will allow you to see the percentage of impressions your products are eligible for. This tool can be useful when evaluating bidding strategy, and feed optimization strategies.

Bid Estimator- (Estimates traffic level at different bid levels) This tool will allow you to see an estimate of how much your traffic will increase or decrease when adjusting bids.

Product Listing Ads Campaign Cons:

Product listing ads pros and cons1. Limited graphical representation of performance over time

In the old campaign there was always a graph that allowed you to see how the campaign performed over time. This graph was very useful and could be manipulated to see and compare different metrics with the campaign.

This feature has changed in both location and capacity with the new PLAs.

2. Different comparison to previous date ranges 

Similar to the graph, you could compare side by side data from different time periods to see how a campaign changed. This feature is still available, but merchants need to jump through more hoops to glean this product data.

3. No segmentation 

The new format is missing the ability for deeper analysis. In the old structure, you could splice, dice, and segment the data in many different ways.

As of now, the new structure does not have this ability and is a huge deterrent to switch formats for experienced analysts.

4. No downloadable reports

There is no easy way to export the data that is in the new Shopping campaigns, besides copying and pasting the data.

5. No campaign specific change history

Instead of seeing changes for individual campaigns, the new Google Shopping format has a central location which outlines all account changes. If you’re managing multiple campaigns, or your sharing the AdWords login this could present some defintie confusion.

6. Can wipe out entire build out with a few clicks

Google Shopping Product listing ads limitationsThe new campaigns can be built out in a matter of clicks and minutes, but can be undone in a matter of seconds. This coupled with the inability to see changes that have been made, could really cause performance issues in campaigns.

This is a cool new format for shopping campaigns and it makes creating and expanding campaigns really easy, but it makes analyzing and managing campaigns in the new format extremely challenging and time consuming.


I have faith in Google to continue to improve the new format by integrating some of the key features mentioned above to the new format. Once those key features & new competitive bid metrics are added, the new structure will be worth taking another look at, but until then it is not functionally sound to transfer exciting campaigns to the new format.

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