3 Major PLA Mistakes You're Making, And How to Adapt to Google Updates

By Tinuiti Team


Google Shopping Webinar Question Recap

This month, CPC hosted a Google Shopping webinar to help retail search merchants maximize profit moving into the Q4 holiday season and  adapt to recent Google changes.

CEO and veteran retail search speaker Rick Backus covered Google updates and programs including:

In addition to outlining how retailers can leverage Google Shopping to make more revenue such as:


Google Shopping Webinar Questions And Answers

Following the webinar, Rick answered some insightful audience questions about Q4 Google Shopping strategy and Google changes. Check them out below.

 “What’s the best data feed submission tool for clients with less than 3k a month budget?”

Rick: Good question. We typically default to recommending Go Data Feed. They have a pretty awesome data feed submission tool for I think, around $100 dollars a month. I think there are various plans, but that’s where one of their plans starts at.

So if you don’t have a huge budget and you don’t have somebody who manages your feed that you feel like you can really trust, Go Data Feed is a very solid option, and we have a great relationship with them. I trust what they’re doing for their clients, and their submission tool is very comprehensive for $100 a month.

So for anyone with a budget less than two or three thousand dollars a month, I would recommend Go Data Feed as a great tool for them to use.

“What do you think Google’s marketplace will look like, and will it be able to compete?”

Rick:  I think that the marketplace is going to look different. It’s not going to be the same experience that you have on Amazon. Google’s angle is to be able to create a different experience.

So they have information about users on Google Plus (+) and through Google profiles. They have the ability to have seamless transactions through Google Wallet, and even within Gmail (you can connect Gmail to Google wallet and pay just directly through Gmail hitting one button).

So there’s an ability to create a very seamless experience through Google, whether you’re buying products from local stores or you’re buying products online. Google Shopping Express is really interesting. It’s now out of beta in the Bay Area, and you can order products that come to your house on the same day. So you can order very basic stuff like toilet paper and lip gloss to your house within the same day. There’s a small delivery charge, but it’s pretty crazy that that reality could exist for all of us in the not too distant future.

So Google has Google Shopping Express, they have Google Wallet, they have a lot of information about local availability, they’re working on driver-less cars, and they are creating an experience for marketplace that could be a lot different than what Amazon is offering today. Realistically, to take marketshare away from Amazon, it’s going to be really difficult for Google, so they have to figure out a way to add value to the user that isn’t just checking out through a traditional online experience.

So there are a lot of moving parts and it’s never quite clear what their vision is, but they’re clearly moving into a direction where they are going to create more of a hybrid between what Google Shopping is today and what the Amazon marketplace is, where you actually check out on Amazon.

“Which industry publication do you read to keep up with all of this new information?”

Rick:  This is a good opportunity for a CPC blog plug, and to be completely honest, we do learn about this information a lot faster because it’s what our company does. We’re meeting about Product Listing Ads (PLAs) multiple times a day talking about the new strategies, talking about the new features. So I really do honestly think that our blog is the best source for information on Google Product Listing Ads specifically.

When it comes to other E-commerce blogs, Practical Ecommerce has a wonderful blog. They have been around for a long time. They provide a lot of really valuable information.

John Lawson is a great source of information. He has a Facebook Ecommerce group that’s extremely active. They can post a question on there and get hundreds of comments within an hour, and so that’s a great community to learn about Ecommerce.

There’s Search Engine Land (SEL) and Search Engine Watch (SEW), and they have a lot of information. It’s not just focused on Product Listing Ads (PLAs). It’s around all forms of search, and it’s sometimes difficult to sift through all that info to find the stuff that’s most relevant to you. But they put out high quality content.

And then Internet Retailer puts out a ton of really qualified content. Their conference is the biggest one in the industry. They are a great place to learn about Ecommerce, and then Etail. Etail puts on two conferences a year. They have a great content marketing team that puts out high quality content about Ecommerce.

So there are a lot of different sources of information, and each one of them has a different writing style, a different approach to how they’re trying to educate their audience. So based on where you’re at and your knowledge you really have to define the source that you think makes the most sense for you. But they’re all out there.

“Do you know when the impression share and bid simulator features will be released for the shopping campaign? On Google’s help page it just says coming soon, but doesn’t say when.”

Rick: I don’t know the exact date. They are coming down here next week to meet with us. We’re actually going to go out to dinner with them, and so that’s something that we’re very interested in too. The way it works right now is those shopping campaigns have been rolled out to select advertisers, but I don’t know of the specific timeline.

I would guess that it’s going to be pretty soon within the next few months.

 “Could you give an example for how a retailer may use labels for Google shopping if they are not already, especially if they are already using the new form of the Google shopping UI?”

Rick: Yeah, so if you’re using the new form of Google Shopping Campaigns then labels aren’t as necessary. Realistically what the labels were doing before was giving you the ability to get granular with the management of those campaigns. So if you already have access to the new Google shopping campaigns, then you’re going to get a lot of the functionality that labels would offer you. If you don’t, then that’s what the labels are for. They are for coming up with your various ad groups.

For instance, if we were a retailer, right, and there were products that had my face on it and there were products that had Mary’s face on it, and each employee at the company had a different line of shirts, you could use labels to literally call them that.

The label could be Rick products, and there could be 20 products that have a Rick label, and there could be 25 products that have a Mary label. Once you use those labels, then it gives you control within the ad words log in to bid separately for those ad groups.

So maybe for the Rick products you have poor margins and they’re not converting well and you want to bid down, and for the Mary products, they have great margins and they’re converting really well, and you want to increase your bid. So it gives you that level of control that you don’t have if you just stick to default categories and brands.

So that’s how we use labels. It’s an in depth discussion with our client to come up with the ad group strategy. Then we use the labels to actually execute that ad group strategy. But if you already have the Google shopping campaigns, the importance of labels within the feeds has definitely decreased.

You can watch the full Google Shopping Q4 Preparation and Updates webinar below:


Questions about Google Shopping updates? Reach out to [email protected]

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