How To Get Started with Google Shopping

A good campaign structure is the key to success with Google AdWords Shopping Campaigns. It helps PPC experts optimise campaigns and makes it easier to set appropriate bids based on the value and popularity of products.

Oliver Wood

A good campaign structure is the key to success with Google AdWords Shopping Campaigns. It helps PPC experts optimise campaigns and makes it easier to set appropriate bids based on the value and popularity of products. There are a number of approaches to structure Shopping Campaigns and may be based on bids, product segmentation, key performance indicators (KPIs) or a combination of these.

For example, if brand is important to a retailer, a good approach is to structure by brand and then product type and determine bids based on that set-up. The emphasis in this scenario is on the brand name which is common with luxury retailers.

If brand is not a priority, PPC experts might instead organise campaigns by prioritising product lines, profit margins, or popular items rather than focusing on the brand name.

A product approach could have campaigns organised by a type of product, such as winter coats. A campaign with this winter coat set-up would then have a group for women’s winter coats and a group for men’s winter coats. In each of these groups, there might be subgroups for brand names of winter coats so brand is still included but is less of a priority.

The performance approach might have best sellers separated by high profit margin and low profit margin. Both the high margin group and low margin group would have specific items with different bids depending on which of these two groups they belong to. In this scenario, bids might be set differently for high and low performers with more aggressive bids for the highest performers. Advertisers would still show their lower performing products but they would not be a priority in the overall campaign strategy.

Farfetch is one brand that did well with a hybrid approach. They organised product groups by category and brand with a separate campaign for top trending and best sellers. With this structured approach to their campaigns, both their conversion rate and ROI increased significantly as described in this Google Shopping Case Study.

When structuring your AdWords campaign, think about your ad groups the same way you think about keyword themes. An ad group is used to target RLSA or Customer Match audiences, has negative keywords for product types, bid modifiers, bid strategies. Although keywords are not used in a Shopping Campaign, PPC experts still may want to structure campaign based on these keyword themes.

A product group is housed in an ad group, but is more granular and created on the AdWords side, not on the feed end in the Merchant Center. Product groups can be created to hold a small number of related products which makes it easier to manage and optimise. Rather than adjusting bids for each individual item in a product group, advertisers can easily see how an overall product category is performing as a whole.

When in doubt about how to initially structure a Shopping Campaign, viewing the home page for a retailer can help with that decision. A good starting structure for most retailers is to have a core campaign that is always on and serves as their foundational campaign. The goal is to catch all inventory without any exclusions. Since it would be always-on for all products, a good strategy is to use a lower bid and view it as a lower priority in terms of management since it’s a catch-all category

Most retailers also offer sales or promotions at some point and have campaigns that correspond to seasonal trends. This is another consideration for grouping campaigns using a flexible structure for these short terms promotions. They are active only at set times with a higher budget

A third structure for campaign is to separate out bestsellers since they have uncapped potential for top performing products. PPC experts would bid aggressively for these products that sell well and bring a higher return. These campaigns too would be always on with a fair share of the overall budget.

Whichever approach is used with shopping campaigns, a key to success is going granular with Shopping Ads and subdividing by KPIs, inventory, or seasonal trends with custom labels to help stay organised. Over time, as top performers are identified in an account, they may benefit from having their own Shopping Campaigns. Or additional product groups might be added to an existing campaign.

Managing multiple shopping campaigns with different strategies can be a challenge. To stay organised when structuring campaigns, custom labels can be used to define values for campaigns based on what matters to a particular business. AdWords advertisers can use five labels per product and may choose to group by conversion rate or seasonality as demonstrated below.


Defining and assigning values to custom labels is ideally done at the beginning of the campaign and based on internal strategy. Each advertiser will have their own definition for how to use the labels and the best way to map possible values. Once labels are determined, these attributes are added to the product feed using feed rules.

When you upload your product feed to use for a shopping campaign, Google does not know which products are high margin or low margin, which is why you would use feed rules to create custom labels, such as for different pricing buckets. To do this, you start by setting up a rule and choosing “custom label”. You will set a value based on the price range of your products and by applying the appropriate label to each grouping.

In the below example, this retailer assigned the label low price to products in a price range of $1-$100. A retailer that sells higher end products may use low price for items in the $500-$1,000 range. Since this is not something Google inherently knows, the retailer needs to decide this based on what makes sense for their business. By using custom label, PPC experts give AdWords additional information for a specific business and labels are extremely helpful in creating a solid campaign structure.

Over time, you will optimise your Shopping Campaign just as you would any other campaign in Google AdWords. This can include restructuring if your original setup does not perform as expected. Use the auction insights report in conjunction with account performance to monitor the impact of changes. Part of your analysis should include benchmarking your performance against your key competitors and monitoring metrics any time a change is made to determine the impact - whether it is positive or negative. Use caution before making additional changes and ensure you have collected enough data over a period time before you continue to optimise.

If you discover that your campaigns seem to be in good shape and are driving the right audience to your website, but your revenue is not what you had hoped for, the next step is to evaluate your website checkout system with a critical eye. If this process is not user-friendly, people who make it to your website are unlikely to convert.

The full Academy on Air episode about this topic: “Optimizing Your Google Shopping Campaign” can be seen below.