If you’re a retailer, you’re probably well aware that by late August all Product Listing Ads (PLAs) will be trafficked through Google Shopping campaigns. If you’re not familiar with this new campaign type, we encourage you to read Skai’s overview on the newly available features. Skai will also be co-hosting a Google Shopping Campaigns – All You Need to Know webinar with Google on Monday, June 16th at 9am PT. The webinar will cover the basics of Shopping campaigns, how to prepare for this transition and how Skai can help you optimize your PLAs.
You will need to launch Shopping campaigns prior to the end of August to maintain your PLA coverage. To support our clients preparing for the switch-over, we are happy to announce that we have started rolling out support for Google Shopping.
In our May release last week, we launched functionality to support Shopping campaigns for a few initial customers. Over the next few weeks, all Skai client accounts will be enabled with the same level of functionality for Google Shopping as enjoyed with our industry-leading PLA offering today. Later this summer, we will also be adding more advanced capabilities such as portfolio bid optimization and more.
In the most recent Jefferies report, Skai was identified as serving more PLAs than any other platform or advertiser. We attribute this success to our clients, including some of the biggest names in retail, activating our industry-leading PLA support.
Recent conversations with these advertisers helped us identify three main topics that are top of mind as the move to Shopping campaigns approaches: preparation, structure & creation, and launch.
Whether you are new to PLAs or just moving over to Shopping campaigns, now is the time to make sure your feed is well-optimized. When optimizing a product feed, it is important to put yourself in the shoes of a consumer. What types of keywords would he or she use? Your feed may include ‘plum colored rainboots’, but would ‘purple rainboots’ be more relevant to consumers? What type of product descriptions or promotional messaging would resonate most? What sort of product images will make you stand out from your competition?
Optimizing your feed with the consumer in mind is very important since PLAs are not triggered by keywords you bid on and there is limited ad copy to help drive a consumer to click. Instead, your feed needs to have product descriptions and terminology that relates to the way a consumer would search and what they would be looking for in a product. Working with a feed management provider that can help incorporate this search intent into your feed can be valuable. Skai is compatible with any feed management provider or, if you prefer an end-to-end solution, Skai partners with DataPop for holistic PLA optimization.
Beyond the feed itself, it is important to track PLA performance so you can continue to optimize and drive revenue efficiently. Understanding PLA performance in the context of text ads, social ads, or any other managed channels is also extremely valuable. Skai clients are able to report on PLAs alongside other channels and apply attribution policies that cut across these channels to better inform bid optimization efforts.
Additionally, Skai can help advertisers translate their PLA successes into wins on Facebook with Demand-Driven Campaigns. Demand-Driven Campaigns allow you to automatically create Facebook Ads on top performing products so you can efficiently increase your revenue from social.
Structure & Creation
You’re probably wondering how to structure your Shopping campaigns and how granular your product groups should be. It is important to note that the best solution varies advertiser-by-advertiser, but there are certain principles that should be followed when determining a Shopping campaign structure. These principles include tying campaign creation to budgeting, refining traffic, and considering trade-offs based on product group granularity.
Tie Campaign Creation to Budgets
When deciding how many Shopping campaigns are needed, budget allocation should be considered as budget caps reside at the campaign-level. Do you have product lines with separate budgets? Do you have some products that you want to promote more heavily due to better performance or seasonality? If you do, then creating separate campaigns for those products or product lines will increase your control and likely your return.
After you create your campaigns, you can exclude products to ensure you don’t have multiple campaigns competing against one another for the same search queries. Skai clients are able to leverage negative keyword suggestions that can be applied at the campaign and ad group-level to help increase control of what searches your PLAs will be applied against and limit inefficient spend.
Consider Trade-offs Based on Product Group Granularity
When creating product groups within your campaigns, you can subdivide by product attributes seven times and can even create one product group per product. The more granular your structure, the more insight you will have into the search queries that are triggering specific PLAs. A one-to-one product-to-product group structure will also give you the most bid and promotional message control, but it can also be difficult to manage manually. Skai’s PLA-specific bid policy can thrive on this granularity by analyzing and clustering product attribute information to predict revenue per click and drive the best returns on PLAs.
Launch & Timing
Once you have created your Shopping campaigns, you will need to push them live and pause your existing PLA campaigns. If your new Shopping campaigns structure is similar to your old PLA campaign structure, you can do this in a phased approach. If your Shopping campaign structure is different, you will likely want to make the change all at once to avoid having the two campaign types compete against each other.
After launch, performance analysis and product-level reporting are important so you can refine your Shopping campaigns post launch. Product-level insights can help you decide whether or not you need to break out additional products into their own product groups to improve performance. In order to help with this, Skai has provided product-level reporting for over a year and a half and will continue to do so.
Timing of launch is extremely important. Obviously, you want to launch before the end of August, when Google will only support PLAs through Shopping campaigns. You should also take into consideration any seasonality in your business in order to minimize performance disruptions. If you use a technology platform, such as Skai, you should wait until they offer fully tested support for Shopping campaigns.
We will continue to provide updates so you are aware as these advanced solutions become available. We believe that Shopping campaigns will open the door to opportunities for better PLA management and, if you take into consideration these tips when creating your transition plan, you will have continued PLA success. Don’t forget to register for our Google Shopping Campaigns – All You Need to Know webinar on June 16th for more helpful information.