Since the switch from Google Shopping product listing ads have proven increasing popular in many industries, adding some much needed media to otherwise text heavy results pages. Utilising auto targets removes much of the control associated with standard search campaigns, so marketers must adapt their approach in optimising these campaigns.

Below are key areas of interest when looking to improve the return from you product listing campaigns.

Segment your products

Criteria to segment can vary depending on the structure of your site, but generally products should be grouped in sets you wish to target with the same strategy.

For example, a fashion retailer could segment their feed by brand for easy reporting on the performance of each. Segments could also be used to group items of similar pricing, allow a target CPA to be set and monitored.

To advance this further, multiple segments can be combined such as brand & category to add a further level of control to the campaigns.

Review product feed data

PLAs are entirely reliant on a merchant centre feeds, meaning it’s essential to keep your product feed up to date. Ensure your feed is regularly updated with any stock changes, new products or pricing and all required information is provided.

Search term analysis

With Google’s auto targeting and choosing keywords based on product information it’s important to monitor terms to exclude any low quality or poor performers. Search term analysis can only be reviewed at a campaign level, while this is not ideal it can help you exclude any keyboards eating budget with no return.

Create an ‘all products’ target

Sometimes products can be added or changed, resulting in them not being matched to any auto targets. Including an ‘all products’ adgroup can be your safety net in ensuring ads continue to show. Setting the adgroup bids lower than all others will ensure this campaign is only used when there is no other matching target. Impressions will also provide a good indication of feed changes to allow targets to be adapted.

Create Adwords labels

Adwords labels can be manually implemented into feeds, offering a customised segmentation attribute. Be creative with this and try something unique to your business! For example segmenting summer and winter products in a fashion retailer to adjust bids based on seasonal trends, or segmenting full price and sale products to optimise based on margins.