• ronniesmustache

    Really nice, Dan- thanks!

    I’m always surprised when I see companies using All Products targeting.

    I’m also surprised to see that they’re often still turning a pretty decent ROI for those campaigns. Go figure.

  • daniel morrison

    Thanks for the comment Mr Mustache!

    I’m surprised as well, but the market will start normalizing a bit soon enough and those folks that have granular targets are going to be so thankful they took the time to setup their campaigns properly.

  • ronniesmustache

    Yep- I agree.

    The sophistication of PLA advertisers is increasing very quickly. In February, most search professionals didn’t know what a PLA was.

    Now, you can’t do a product related search w/o seeing a full platter of PLA’s.

    Again, great article!

  • http://www.feedoptimise.com/ Feed Optimise

    or better yet, you can use feedoptimise.com – http://www.feedoptimise.com/services/product-listing-ads-management-and-optimisation and get all done for you.

  • Lucas von Fürstenberg

    I am always wondering why everybody is promoting one SKU per adgroup. Why not having campaigns for product groups, adgroups = brands and individual product targets within that adgroup?
    Products within an adgroup are similar enough to write one adcopy (if you want to do this down to this granularity).

  • Martin Röttgerding

    Hi Dan,

    I agree that SKU adgroups are certainly the best way to set up a PLA campaign at
    the moment, especially in combination with automated bidding. Control
    over the ad copy is also a big advantage, but I have to disagree with
    the part about query-ad relevance. Quality score is about click-through
    probability (think: predicted click-through rate). Including parts of
    the query in the promotion text won’t help your CTR as much as something
    like “Free Shipping”. So write whatever makes most sense to attract
    customers and ignore keywords when writing ad copy.

    By the way,
    here’s how everyone can create their own SKU campaign without paying for

  • Martin Röttgerding

    Mainly because products that share both brand and product type are still not always similar in terms of price, margin, conversion rate, order value. etc. For example, you might have this year’s expensive Nike running shoes right next to last season’s shoes sold at a discount. Some merchants even put accessories into the same category (let’s say an extra set of laces for your Nike running shoes).

    There’s also the part about messaging. In the example above there’s a general promotion about free shipping on orders over $75. Now you might have some products within a category, let’s say Nike running shoes, that cost $69 and others at $79. A granular structure lets you promote free shipping on items above $75 right away.

  • daniel morrison

    +1 for Martin’s comment below. However, Lucas brings up a good point that I neglected to address.

    Leveraging campaign structure based upon your marketing / budgeting practices can be instrumental in helping achieve your business goals. Creating silos of product types and putting those into campaigns with similar products can help your reporting efforts and budget planning. However, if your budget is determined by brand spend, it might be beneficial to silo your campaigns based upon brand.

  • daniel morrison

    Hey Martin, thanks for the comments, very interesting dialog.

    I agree, in part, with your point re: quality score. Google determines quality score based on a number of factors, but pClick is only one of them. Other factors include historical performance of the ad group and landing page relevancy.

    For PLAs, Google accesses your product data feed and matches the user queries of consumers to relevant products within your data feed, there is arguably a high likelihood that Google will incorporate the relevance promotional ad copy as a weighting (or perhaps query to title / description within the feed?). To take it a step further, do you see a world where Google might consider Google Wallet, Google Trusted Stores or Google Seller ratings as having an impact on QS?

    Aside from quality score, advertisers should consider the entire eco-system of paid search when planning and executing their ad copy strategies. Google’s interests don’t necessarily align with the interests of retailers. Google gets paid per click, retailers get paid per sale. Writing ad copy that maximizes CTR might maximize clicks (Google’s interests), but may actually hurt a retailers CPA. Therefore, writing ad copy that incorporates the query/product consideration may help to qualify clicks and drive down CPA, improving bottom line performance.

Lastly, I’d like to commend you on your write-up on Certified Knowledge. This is a great how-to creating on State of the Art PLA campaigns; extremely helpful guide for any retailers that want to get started right away without the use of paid tools. That being said, there are some great paid tools on the market that offer additional features to help overcome obstacles retailers face, but it’s about finding which tools contain the functionality that will help meet your business goals.

  • daniel morrison

    Hey Julie, yes, promotional text is what I’m referring to.

  • Martin Röttgerding

    Hey Dan,

    No argument on automating PLA creation and management – we don’t do it manually either.

    As far as Quality Score goes, I’ve done a lot of research on the topic in general. I know a comment isn’t the best way to get this accross, but here goes…

    Google has this thing called Quality Score that they show next to keywords on a scale of 1-10. And there is another thing called Quality Score that’s used in the ad auction that actually determines ad position and click prices. Those two are very different, although Google (and most search marketers) like to mix up those two.

    To maximize their own revenue, Google has to rank ads according to their potential revenue. The potential revenue of an ad (from Google’s perspective) is determined by two factors: the bid per click and the probability that the click occurs.

    If you take Google’s official formula (Ad rank = Bid x QS) and compare it with the revenue-maximizing formula (Ad rank = Bid x click-through probability), you get the idea that QS has to be click-through probability. Only if you believe that Google is interested in maximizing revenue, of course.

    Now, click-through probability is not a factor that just falls from the sky. Determining this factor is all but trivial, especially when you have no directly related data to go on. This is why Google needs things like historical CTR of related elements throughout an account, or relevancy of query to ad.

    Anyway, the point is that QS is not some arbitrary value to score ads according to a subjective notion of quality. Quality Score is a means to an end (making money) and in order to achieve this end it has to be an estimate of click-through probability. Knowing this we can assess things we believe to factor into quality score.

    A part of the query mirrored and therefore bolded in the headline of a text ad increases the likelyhood of a click – no doubt a strong indicator of click-through probability. The same part mirrored in the promotion line of a PLA – why would that increase the likelyhood of a click? And if it doesn’t, why should Google reward it?

    As far as click-through probability on PLAs goes, I believe there are two main factors that influence whethere a user clicks on your ad: price and picture. It’s nice to have bolded product names, but the picture draws the eye much more than that.

    As far as Google Wallet, Google Trusted Stores, and Google Seller ratings go, we can apply the same process and check whether these impact click-through probability. Since there are shiny badges and stars I’d definitely say they have to be considered in quality score.

  • Lucas von Fürstenberg

    I do see both of your points. However as Martin mentioned further down, historical ctr within an adgroup also affects your quality score.
    When you include the size of those Nike shoes mentioned before you have 10 adgroups with essentially the same products. Why split the clicking (and the history) in 10 adgroups? I believe it is always a trade off between being super granular and joining those products that belong together. I believe for us the advantages of having a click history faster outweigh the disadvantage of having a potential sale item in a group with regular priced ones.
    Other than that: since the shipping cost is in the ad now right below the picture anyways, the significance of mentioning that in the adcopy has gone down quite a bit.

  • Jeremy J Brown

    Hi Dan, do you have any data to show that having targeted promotional copy (or any promotional copy for that matter) makes much of a difference?

    That should be something you could A/B test. In limited testing, we have not seen much of a difference in performance.

    I ask because as Lucas points out there are benefits to having 40 ad groups instead of 4,000.

    I agree that’s it’s often beneficial to bid at the Product Target level and we do that for a number of clients, but you can have multiple Product Targets in 1 ad group and each with separate bids. As long as your ad group structure makes sense, you should be able to drive strong results and bid appropriately.

    Overall, more than a few people are preaching the value of 1 SKU per ad group and it reminds me of the people who used to preach 1 keyword per ad group. Both can be detrimental to sensible management. Granularity can be taken too far when it interferes with management and actionable data analysis.

  • daniel morrison

    Hey Jeremy, sorry for the delayed response.

    We’re currently testing running different promotional text messages to evaluate differences, but don’t yet have conclusive results to share.

    You raise valid concerns around taking granularity too far, but technology can help with improving efficiencies. If you’re not leveraging automation, manual campaign management can be near impossible with 1 SKU per ad group, so you’ll need to develop a strategy that is functional and optimal based upon your resources / campaign management tools.