Questions About Product Listing Ads?

Product Listing Ads Frequently Asked Questions


Mary Weinstein

Author Profile | Mary

Product Listing Ads Questions

Product Listing Ads Data Feed Questions


Product Listing Ads Questions

Product Listing Ads is a complicated program. Below are some of the questions we’ve had from merchants about management. Please comment or reach out if you have any questions of your own.

How do you get results in Google Shopping for direct keywords?

A major thing to keep in mind with Google Shopping is that Product Listing Ads (PLAs) function very differently than traditional AdWords campaigns. AdWords is based on keywords bidding, but PLAs campaigns function around product and category bidding. You can add negative keywords for PLAs to restrict queries which aren’t applicable to your goods, but you cannot bid on keywords.

Get a FREE Copy of Our Google Shopping Guide

However, you can make changes to your PLA campaign to push product category ad groups, which is likely what your competitors are doing.

  • First  take a look at your Google Shopping data feed and optimize your product titles and descriptions with keywords for those desired queries.
  • You should also have different Ad Groups broken out based on your product categories (brand, best sellers, category, seasonal, etc).
  • Also keep in mind that Google shows ads based on its own algorithm (products it deems relevant to a search- this is why your feed needs to be optimized), in addition to your Ad Group bids. So if you are bidding conservatively, this may be a reason your competitors are outbidding you.

Product Listing Ads Data Feed Questions

Which fields are required for data feeds and which are not mandatory?

Check out the Google Shopping feed requirements page for this information. Although you can submit only the required data feed information, its always a good idea to give Google more product information.

Here is an example of a Google Shopping data feed.

What non-mandatory fields should you include?

ISBN, MPN, UPC, Weight, Product Type, Shipping, Tax, extra images, etc.

The more information you can give Google, the better Google can determine where your products should show up in search, and the more likely you are to have those products convert.

What are best practices regarding optimizing your feeds?

Give Google accurate, updated and detailed information.

  • Make sure your products aren’t getting restricted.
  • Make sure your data feed doesn’t have any errors.
  • Re-work product titles and descriptions for user intent and SEO.

Here are some helpful resources:

6 Things That Can Get You Kicked Off Google

Google Shopping Data Feed Takedowns

Google Data Feed Best Practices and Common Errors


What’s the difference between Google Product Type and Google Product Category in the Google Shopping feed?

The Google feed requires both a product type column (this is your category column: the seller category), And a Google product category. You can match your product type column (your categories) up with the Google Product Category.

Google product type isn’t actually a Google data feed column which exists. What happens is some merchants don’t have their own product types (categories), so they substitute the Google product category values for both of these columns (product type and Google product category). You can create Ad Groups using your product type column (ad groups based on categories), but not your Google product category.

For the Ad Group and Ad Label attributes, how can they be used better to group products rather than a brand or category ad target?

The Ad label attributes can be used to group together any set of products you want to get more (or less) aggressive with. We typically use the ‘Adwords_labels’ column within the data feed to designate what products we want to group together because you can have unlimited numbers of labels within this column. Each are separated with a comma and spaces are allowed.

Here is a quick look at the Google Shopping data feed columns:


Obviously, this requires the ability to easily edit your data feed. The ‘Adwords_Labels’ column is a great way to segment your data into groups such as seasonal items, price buckets, top sellers, or even based on search term reports to name a few.

Using Google Analytics (or any other type of product level tracking tool) you can identify data trends to determine  bids. For example you might  recognize that furniture sells well during the summer, and increase product group bids for this category prior and duirng the summer season.

Within your feed you don’t have one single ‘product type’ for outdoor furniture, instead you have 25 different product types. Now instead of creating 25 different product targets to break all of these out, it is easier and more efficient to add an Adwords_Label ‘outdoor furniture’ to all of the products that are covered in those 25 different product types.

Now you have grouped all of your outdoor furniture into one easy to use label which you can create one product target for. In this example it would be adwords_labels = outdoor furniture. You could even split that out even further if you want to segment your outdoor furniture into 5 different types (chairs, tables, love seats, etc). You would then have 5 labels and bids instead of 25 separate product type targets.

That is just one simple example, you can use adwords_labels to get very creative with your data. Start out fairly broad then get more granular as you collect data on the product level. From there you should be able to see trends in brands, product types, price buckets, seasonal items, etc.

Remember to use your knowledge of your products as well. Like the example above, if you know your outdoor furniture products do well in June and July, feel free to build your feed out in the middle/end of May and get the ball rolling a bit early. You don’t have to wait on the data to flow in if you have that insight. The worst that can happen is the ROI stinks and you adjust bids down and optimize. If it does well, when you look like a genius.

Besides Ad Group and Ad Label, what is the most important Google Shopping feed attribute and why?

Having the most accurate and quality rich data feed is recommended. This will give you the best chance of performing well on Google Shopping and it will also give you more levers to pull when you want to segment out your data and Ad Groups within your campaign.<

Be sure pricing is correct, URLs and Images work, MPNs are accurate, Product IDs* remain consistent and Titles/Descriptions are optimized with top ranking keywords (such as brand) towards the front. Your data feed is the first step on the way to success within Google Shopping. With an inaccurate and messy data feed you are severely limiting your ability to do well.

What is Price Floor Bidding?

Imagine you  have a huge catalog of products that you manage for one of your clients, with items ranging from $1.00 to $634.98 in price. Likely you can’t afford to bid $0.25+ on an item from $1.00 – $30.00. Even if 1 order was generated from 40 clicks (2.5% conv. rate) at $0.25 a click, that’s $10 in spend which would be a 33% COS for a $30.00 item.

Logic says to just remove the live label and suppress the item. This will bring bids down to $0.01 – $0.05 depending on what you set. However, some of these items likely convert and if you suppress them too heavily you are severely limiting the ability for it to receive traffic.

Bid slightly higher on these items to the point that they receive traffic (and conversions – woot!) but aren’t spending too much:

1.Create an Ad Group based on the price floor you have calculated to be unprofitable for your client at your all products bid. For the sake of science, lets say this is $30.00.

2. Create an Adwords Label for all those products under your price floor ($30.00 and under). Once again, for science, we are naming it ‘Under 30’

3. Remove the Live Label from these products. This will ensure that it does not receive any of your higher bids. However, adding in the ‘Under 30’ label will ensure that it receives a specific bid for having that label.

4. Set your bid on the Ad Group level for the ‘Under 30’ Ad Group. I have found that the sweet spot is somewhere between $0.08 – $0.12.

5. Profit.

How can you use search query reports?

Using the Dimensions > Search Terms to create new Ad Groups based on search query reports. This is a solid option for campaigns with mostly non-branded items.

This is the last section! Thanks for reading! If you have any feedback, questions or comments, fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you. Pressing the ‘Continue Reading’ button below will take you back to the Table of Contents.


The New Google Shopping Guide

Next-Level Implementations for Advertisers on Google


Table Of ContentsContinue Reading



Google Shopping Guide 2018

New Google Shopping Guide: 2018 Edition