Today I'm talking about one of my favorite topics, the structure of Google Shopping campaigns. Yes, you heard me right, the structure of Google Shopping campaigns is one of my favorite topics to talk about. However, I haven't written down my ideas yet. This is changing today 🙂
In the past few months, I have already summarized two detailed blog posts on the topics of setting up Google Shopping and optimization potential in Google Shopping. In this post, I will introduce you to my idea of one-product ad groups for Google Shopping ad groups. However, the basic idea can also be applied to Amazon campaigns with the Automatic targeting function.
I would like to start with the ad group explanation and why it is so important.
At the end of the article, however, I will also explain when such campaign structuring is not recommended. So stay tuned.
What are ad groups in Google Shopping?
A Google Shopping campaign has the following structure:
- The campaign settings are made and defined at campaign level. These include the selection of the bidding strategy, the amount of the daily budget, the location selection and the selection of the end devices used by the customers.
- At ad group level, we first define the ad type (showcase ads vs. shopping ads) and the bid amount.
- Product groups bundle the products to be advertised into a group. A product group can contain all products or just individual products.
- There is actually no product level in Google Shopping. However, if individual SKUs are selected at product group level, it is possible to submit a specific bid for each product.
Why is the campaign structure so important for Google Shopping campaigns?
The most common mistake that advertisers make with Google Shopping is in fact the lack of structuring of campaigns and ad groups. Ad groups are sometimes structured according to price, brand, gender or category. This type of structuring is still better than combining all products in one ad group, but it is far from ideal.
A well thought-out structure for Google Shopping campaigns helps us with optimization and evaluation. The extreme counter-example of one-product ad groups is the ad group that contains all products.
Let's imagine we have an online fashion store that contains 500 products. The 500 products are divided into different categories (shoes, pants, underwear and tops) and genders. If we now have all products in just one ad group, it is impossible to display the transacted search terms of the individual products. We are also unable to determine which products are more likely to be ordered via mobile devices or desktop PCs. In addition, the use of negative search terms means that the excluded search terms affect all products - which is obviously not ideal.
One-product ad groups are a great way to have as much control as possible during evaluation and customization.
What are the advantages of single-product ad groups?
By creating ad groups that only contain one product, we can draw clear conclusions about which search terms are most relevant for these products. This ultimately means that negative keywords can only be used for this product. My experience shows me time and again that even very similar products (sometimes variants in size or color) can have a very different performance at keyword level. We only have these customization options if there is only one product per ad group.
Another advantage over product groups, which either contain all products or are structured according to specific brands or categories, is that with single-product ad groups we can assign a CPC to each product that is unique. This does not necessarily require one-product ad groups; the assignment of product-specific bids is also possible with several products. It is only important that products are selected individually (e.g. based on the item ID) and not based on categories or other allocation factors.
Creation of single-product ad groups
My current preferred Google Shopping campaign structure for product groups, which has proven itself in previous campaigns, is as follows.
Each Google Shopping campaign has a specific product focus. For example, I divide products such as mattresses and pillows into two separate Google Shopping campaigns. This division makes it possible for us to allocate a separate Google Shopping budget to each product group (mattresses and pillows). If we had combined both product groups in the same campaign, we would not be able to allocate a product-specific budget. This regularly results in certain products taking up the majority of the daily budget and the remaining products only receiving a fraction.
But how are single-product ad groups created?
First, we create a conventional Google Shopping campaign. Once the campaign has been created, we can now move on to the ad groups. First, we define the ad group type (Product Shopping vs. Showcase Shopping), name the ad group and define our bid.
Google Ads then creates an automatic ad group that contains all products. We need to adjust this so that there is only one product left.
To do this, we click on + Add subgroup. A new window then opens where we can structure the products based on existing criteria.
Here we select the "Item ID" option and add the product to be advertised to the ad group.
After we have added a new product group, two product groups now appear in our ad group. The product group we just created with only one product and the group: Everything else in "All products". We still need to deactivate this second product group, otherwise all products will continue to be displayed despite the structuring. To do this, we click on "Edit" next to the bid and then on "Exclude".
We have thus created our first one-product ad group. These steps must now be carried out for the other products.
Do I always use one-product ad groups and what disadvantages do they have?
As you probably noticed when creating the one-product ad group, the creation of individual ad groups is very time-consuming. With product ranges of over 1000 products, this is almost impossible. In addition, the creation of so many ad groups means that the evaluations are also very laborious. For this reason, I never create single-product ad groups for a retailer's entire product range if the number of products is too high.
Even for clients with a small number of products (50-150), I rarely start Google Shopping campaigns with single-product ad groups.
If a retailer wants to start with Google Shopping, I recommend structuring the ad groups based on existing product features. For example, a mattress retailer can structure its ad groups according to dimensions and/or firmness levels as a first step. In this way, only very similar products are brought together in an ad group, which ultimately leads to a similar degree of optimization as the creation of single-product ad groups.
As a rule, I implement single-product ad groups when I have identified products that are already performing well in the campaign (CTR, CPC, conversion rate, share of possible impressions), but want to be a little more precise in the playout at keyword level and end device. Currently, I prefer to implement single-product ad groups in conjunction with product-specific campaigns so that each product group receives its own allocated budget.
What are your experiences with single-product ad groups?