Online Marketing Blog

The Google Shopping Upgrade Simplified – What You Need To Know (The Short Version)

You’re Product Listing Ads are getting upgraded to Google Shopping whether you like it or not. This really is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a great thing. As many of you who run PLAs know (Sorry Irish readers, so soup for you!), the deadline to upgrade your PLA campaigns is looming. If you don’t upgrade yourself, you’ll be forcefully upgraded at the end of the month. I cannot recommend manually upgrading enough. It should only take a few minutes. In this article, I’ll cut through all the fluff and explain only what you need to know to upgrade successfully. Alternatively, jump the end and let us do it for you for free!

This article should take you no more than 4 minutes to skim through & you’ll know all you need to about the migration. Anything not essential, I’ll leave out. I’ll also outline the quickest way to upgrade.

Why Is This Happening?

As many of you know, product listing ads are clunky and don’t fit with the general workflow of an AdWords manager. Many of you like to simply set up PLAs and forget about them (I’ve seen it, don’t spoof yourselves!). Product listing ads always felt like they were just shoved into AdWords without any afterthought. Now, PLAs are getting proper integration with AdWords and they’re changing name.

What are The Benefits?

Previously, there was very little accountability with PLAs. Now, you’ll get proper, in depth reporting on every product, attribute and custom attribute where this was not available previously. So you’ll get so see all the usual AdWords metrics for each field in your feed. You’ll be able to attribute value at a much more granular level now. You’ll be able to run an entirely new ad group for each product and you’ll also be able to create your own attributes to bid on that are a little more comprehensive than the old AdWords labels. (Click image to inbigulate)

Google Shopping

Anything Else?

Actually, yes. Now you’ll be able to see really amazing competitor benchmark data like impression share and benchmark CTR. This was painfully absent in PLAs. (Click image to inbigulate)

Image of Google Shopping New Features

With all this additional insight, you’ll now be able to properly attribute value to your shopping campaigns and you can even start to implement advanced bidding strategies and ROAS bidding. While advanced audience targeting is not available yet, I expect it will be soon. Finally, you can see where your shopping spend deficiencies are!

Product groups have replaced Ad Groups and now, you can view manage all your products and segments directly inside the AdWords UI. No more switching over between merchant center and AdWords. (Click image to inbigulate)

Image of google shopping management interface.

There’s also loads of other goodies like campaign prioritization, SKU and exact product, brand and profit targeting. On top of all that, unlike the rest of AdWords, your historical product data will be preserved even as you mix and match them.

What Do I Need to Do?

Great question. The answer is, not much. If you’re using any AdWords specific labels in your feed, you’ll need to change them to “custom label 0”, “custom label 1″… You get 5 free custom labels to work with for targeting plus you can use 5 attributes in your existing feed for targeting too. If you’re not using any AdWords labels, then all you need to do is create a new shopping campaign (If you are using AdWords labels, find out how to switch them over here). It’s pretty straight forward:

  1. From the “Campaigns” tab, click +Campaign.
  2. Select Shopping from the drop-down menu.
  3. Choose your campaign settings. The “Load settings from an existing campaign” option will not create a Shopping campaign from your existing regular Product Listing Ads campaign, so don’t select this option. .
  4. Click Save and continue.
  5. On the “Create ad groups” page, Give your first ad group a name and add any promotional text (optional).
  6. Click Save and continue. This will create one enabled ad group containing one “All products” product group with one bid across your entire inventory included in this campaign. You’ll be taken to your new ad group’s “Product groups” tab where you can create additional product groups and customize your bids. Learn more about using product groups.

That’s pretty much it. If you’re not comfortable switching and waiting to see what happens, you can always use the campaign priority setting to slowly move your traffic from your PLAs to your new shopping campaign. To change your the campaign priority for a campaign:

  1. Go to the Settings tab of the campaign you want to edit.
  2. Select Shopping settings (advanced).
  3. Next to “Campaign priority,” click Edit.
  4. Select the priority setting you want: “Low” (this is the default), “Medium,” or “High.”
  5. Click Save.

Is That It?

For the short version, yes. There’s quite a few other nuances to Google Shopping but they take days to spot and master. The benefits of upgrading to Google Shopping from PLAs is evident in the almost immediate increase in performance we’ve been able to get for our clients. The less fiddling around with the feed the better to be honest. Now you can go and upgrade your PLAs without worry and without the potential disaster that’s waiting to happen when you’re automatically forced to upgrade in two weeks time.

Google Shopping, coupled with some nice RSLA coupon targeting and some creative remarketing and dynamic remarketing have reduced 100% of our clients CPAs and across the board increased their return on ad spend. After a couple of days working with Google Shopping, you’ll forget what PLAs even looked like. They’ll be another thing we’ll bring up during shop talk nostalgia sessions, along with device targeting, manual location extensions and of course that mythical “do not include close variants” exact match option. Future generations will never believe what we once had the option of working with in AdWords. Maybe that’s for the best.

One More Thing

For the month of August, 2014, if you have less than 200 products in your merchant center account, we’ll upgrade you for free. No obligation to sign up to any of our other services. We’ll simply migrate you, set up and optimize your new shopping campaigns and then give you some free advice on how to continuing improving your shopping campaigns. If you’re interested, just get in touch and we’ll get back to you with details.


  1. Aoife Says:
    September 22nd, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Hi Dave.
    Any idea when Google shopping will be available in Ireland?

    I heard rumors of a late 2014 launch but there doesn’t seem to be much chatter about it lately. I’d say there will be a pretty big uptake initially.


    Dave Davis Reply:September 22, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Hi Aoife.
    Great to meet you last week. Sorry we couldn’t chat longer.

    Nothing official on the Google shopping in Ireland front. I’m at the AdWords summit in Mountain view next month so hoping to get some info from the product managers on roll out then. However, as usual, Google are pretty tight lipped about these things.

    We’re part of the trusted tester program so get early access to most AdWords features. Unfortunately, Google Shopping in Ireland is not something we’ve even heard about. However, I have a feeling it’s coming soon. If I was to guess, early 2015. Maybe sooner.

    We work with a lot of shopping clients in the US. Google shopping is an absolutely stellar performer. If you need a dig out when the time comes, let me know. I’d be happy to sit down and go through it with you.

    Luckily, the Amazon merchants program can import Google Merchant Center feeds too so it’s worth the effort.

    As soon as it becomes available, you can bet I’ll be posting about it here.

  2. Sean Doyle Says:
    February 20th, 2015 at 11:51 am

    Hi Dave.

    Great article.

    Any update on Google Shopping in Ireland yet?




    Dave Davis Reply:March 5, 2015 at 8:05 am

    Hi Sean
    Thanks for stopping by. As you know, I’m a heavy user of your site/store :)

    No word on it yet but keep an eye on India. I believe Ireland and India will be released at the same time. Which *should* be this year.

    We’re preparing all out Irish clients for immediate deployment and you should do the same. With Google Tag Manager, you can simply version all the changes and push it live as soon as shopping is ready. It would be smart to get a head start on Trusted stores and dynamic remarketing now as those features take significant time to set up. Having them ready to go will save you weeks of wasted time when shopping does go live. I also believe that those who are prepared will benefit significantly in the few weeks everyone else is trying to get compliant so be smart :)