The Pitfalls of Using Multiple Ad Groups with Google Shopping Campaigns

By Tinuiti Team

Google Shopping Campaigns are slated to replace the current Product Listing Ads format this August, changing how you create PLAs, and how they use inventory information.

If you don’t know what Shopping Campaigns entail or how to set them up, check out this tutorial.

Of Google’s latest updates to Google Shopping Campaigns, bidding on multiple ad groups has added some flexibility to online retailers, but can also pose some complications. 

Benefits of Bidding on Multiple Ad Groups

Unique Promotional Text

For Google Shopping Campaigns, retailers can only have one ad (or promo text) per ad group.

“Immediately after you create a new Shopping campaign, you’ll be taken to the “Create ad group” page, where you can add a promotional message to your ads to highlight special information that applies to all of the products in that ad group…Promotional text is limited to 45 characters, and keyword insertion won’t work with this text or the product information text provided dynamically from your Merchant Center account.” – Google

Adding multiple ad groups allows you to run multiple ads with different promo text. This is different than Google Special Offers which are done through the feed and can vary by product.

Historical Reporting

Right now historical reporting across all metrics is only available on the ad group level. You can’t break down historical reporting on the product group level within an ad group.

For example if you’re looking to figure out when a sale came in for a particular brand you would be unable to filter performance to a specific product group. Google’s reporting for Shopping campaigns is robust with the dimensions tab (this is available at both the Campaign and Ad Group level, so regardless of which method you go with you can still get full access to product level reporting & all the filters Google offers)  but will hopefully continue to see improvements.

Ease Of Management

One ad group is always easier to manage than multiple ad groups, and with the new structure you won’t lose any functionality by only having one ad group.

Bidding on Multiple Ad Groups Could Hurt You

Google shopping campaigns bidding on multiple ad groupsCrossover Inventory

With multiple ad groups, you run the risk of a single product being eligible for 2 ad groups (just like with the current/ old PLA campaign type). This type of bid overlap can lead to increased spend, and limit visibility for products.


If your campaign build out has a ton of product groups, then having everything lumped into one ad group might actually make it tougher to manage which nullifies the Ease Of Management argument against multiple ad groups.

Shopping Campaigns Multiple Ad Groups Bidding: What should you do?

Whether you use multiple ad groups really is going to depend on how you want to structure you Google Shopping Campaign and what your ad goals are.

To start you may want to avoid multiple ad groups because the new Shopping campaign type makes it so easy to build a campaign exactly how you want it, with no crossover inventory, all in one ad group. Test and monitor your campaign performance and build out based on your goals and performance


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