GSCs, As Easy As 123s: Get Ahead With Google Shopping Campaigns

The world of ecommerce is rapidly changing and improving itself. For those who participate in online retail, the term “Product Listing Ads” on Google or PLAs for short, have become a staple in the selling process. For a small fee, businesses can place their products at the top of search results. It has proven to be an effective way to market your products and draw visitors to your website.

Now the future of Google has arrived. PLAs are receiving a makeover by Google, and are becoming known as Google Shopping Campaigns, or GSCs. Google is rolling out GSCs as a more effective version of PLAs. As of right now, retailers have the option to switch from PLAs to GSCs. But, in a matter of weeks all users of PLAs will have to switch to GSCs. Don’t fret, because we have some tips to help the transition move smoother than a Drake verse.

Out with the Old; In with the New

It may seem bittersweet right now, but trust me, the switch to GSCs will really be for the best. Google hopes that these campaigns will make it easier to connect with your customers and promote your products online. But how can you make the transition easy on everyone? First things first, take a look at your competitors. See what they’ve been spending their ad money on, and measure it up against your spending. Getting an idea of your competitor spending can help you determine your own optimal expenditure.

Alright, you’ve nailed down your expenses, now it’s time to focus on the coolest part of your business: the products. Focus on your products’ data to see what is working well, and what needs to be changed. Analyzing reports at the product level can keep you on top of the competition and make sure you’re satisfying your customers’ needs. If a product isn’t performing as well as you’d like, try segmenting keywords to place more relevant ones at the top of your list. Custom labels can also improve your products’ visibility, but we’ll talk more about that later.

Your products are optimized, now it’s time to start bidding. When you’re bidding for GSC, you are going to want to keep business goals in mind. Aspects such as seasonality and margins are important when you are determining how much to bid. Do you really want to drop stacks on a bid for flip flops in the middle of January? Be strategic, and don’t sacrifice your margins just to gain visibility, especially in the wrong season. Once you’re bidding, you can change your spending habits based on existing and target click through rates, impression shares, and your maximum CPC. It may seem like a tedious process, but it will all be worth it when you’re a GSC master.

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 12.13.29 PM

Why GSCs Matter

Why go through all of this hassle just to improve visibility on Google? You have cool commercials, your social media intern is hilarious, and you’re regularly performing SEO audits to improve your organic search ranking. Those are all awesome, but the benefits of GSC are too good to pass up. According to CPC Strategy, retailers who use Google Shopping Campaigns see nearly a 34% increase in revenue. Any retailer could use a boost in revenue, and your GSC is cost effective fuel.

You may feel really good about your advertising return right now, but if you adopt and optimize a GSC you could increase that return by 25%. Not only that, but you’ll be spending less, too. Overall ad spend for GSC users decreased by 30%. It may seem like a little bit of extra work, but the results speak for themselves. Your revenue will increase, your costs will decrease, and as a result, your profits will soar.

How to Set it Up

In your Google Shopping Campaign, you can have up to five custom labels. These custom labels are going to help you keep track of what products are seasonal, what products are on clearance, what products have low margins, etc. They are for your own reference, and help you ensure you are selling the right product at the right time at the right price. They help keep you and the customer happy.


Lucky for you, the maximum number for characters in product titles has doubled to 150 characters. You know what that means? More room for top keywords! Be as specific as possible with your keywords, but don’t get ridiculous. You have space, and that should take a a lot off of your shoulders. So, instead of only saying “green jacket”, you can now say “green jacket Patagonia synthetic chinchilla fur”. This can increase visibility, and provide the customer with a pleasant surprise when searching for the intriguing synthetic chinchilla fur.

Pricing Strategically

Of course what good is all of this work if you don’t have the right price? Approximately 84% of customers cite price as the largest influence of purchase decisions. You can have a clear picture, an awesome description, and be at the top of search results. But, if it’s way more expensive than other listings, you’re going to ultimately be out of luck. And you know what? It can be hard to get that right price. Amazon changes prices 2.5 million times a day, and Google is soon going to enable hourly feed updates with the most recent prices, so how can you keep up?

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 12.15.38 PM
Competitors change their prices all of the time, and 73.3% of retailers cite these changes as the biggest factor in changing their prices. Dynamic pricing makes keeping up with the changes possible. By predicting demand and changing prices in real time, you can make sure you have the most profitable and competitive price in Google’s hourly feed. The competition’s data is your best friend, so make sure you keep it close.

Alas, to ensure success with Google Shopping Campaigns, you have to ask yourself: Have you performed gap analysis between your inventory and your competitors’? Are you monitoring prices, and taking relative price into account? How do you react when competitors run out of stock? The answers to these questions create a roadmap to success in the world of Google Shopping Campaigns.

It can be uncomfortable and tedious to leave something as familiar as PLAs, but GSCs provide a much more efficient way to gain visibility on the web. Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes, and figure out how you would like to discover your products. Optimizing your GSC can turn a browser into a shopper, and help you become one of the most recognizable brands on the internet.

Contributing Writer: Brian Smyth

Photo Credit

Photo Credit

Photo Credit

Arie Shpanya

Arie is the former COO, Executive Chairman, and Co-Founder of Wiser, a dynamic pricing and merchandising engine for online retailers and brands. He has extensive experience in business development with a focus on eCommerce (eBay and Amazon), and is a guest blogger on Econsultancy, VentureBeat, and more.

Need better data to inform your decisions?

Schedule a Consultation