Product Listing Ads have been present for quite some time now. However, there is still plenty of room to optimize this form of advertising. Generating a higher ROI by setting Product Listing Ads up properly is crucial if you want to stay ahead of your competition. Hugo van Mol recently wrote an article about Product Listings Ads. Here, we take things one step further and tell you all about maximising the ROI coming from your Google Shopping campaigns.

Google Shopping Feed

Your data feed is vital if you want to optimize Product Listing Ads. Updating your shopping feed on a regular basis, writing the right descriptions, using images with in 400x400px resolution, all these things are pretty well known. However, to make bigger wins in your Google Shopping campaigns, you have to take things one step further.

Unique product identifier

Google announced that adding a unique product identifier (e.g EAN or ISBN code) will be a requirement in the Netherlands. By adding these identifiers, Google is much more capable of matching the same products of multiple providers at once. Google recommends inserting a MPN (Manufacturer Part Number) in your feed, but hasn’t made it a specific requirement yet.

Google product category

The Google product category you can add to your product provides Google with more insights on the product you’re advertising for itself. Google has put together a taxonomie you should follow. Following those instructions will prevent your feed from being disapproved. The more information Google has, the more capable they are to value your products. Adding product categories gives more control to manage campaigns towards optimal results.

Product Features

Product features are determined by advertisers themselves. In most cases, it follows the structure of your categories. It therefore is crucial that your category names are SEO-proof. This increases the chance of your products being interpreted correctly by Google.

Product title and description

Your product titles and descriptions should be focuses on keywords often used in search queries for your products. By placing a main keyword research at the front of each title and description, Google is able to provide you with a better match. Moreover, Google puts these words in bold on the SERP, making them stand out from the crowd.

You could consider advertising individually for products that are actually sold in sets, by inserting them in the feed as individual products. Visitors often are led by the price that is shown on the ad. Advertising product within product sets individually, allows you to show lower prices, making you more attractive on the SERPs

Adwords Product Listing Ads Targeting

The better you break down a search campaign – resulting in a better match between your keywords and the search query of a potential customer, the higher you ROI. This is no different for Product Listing Ads.

Breaking down your campaign

Breaking down your campaign on the basis of product type features that are added to you Google Shopping Feed is a good first step. This allows you to tweak on a much deeper level and the ability to identify individual product groups. This might sound like a lot of work, but building this type of feed in Excel can go relatively fast.

Exclude negative keywords

By adding negative keywords, you can prevent certain search queries that are too expensive or irrelevant to you from triggering your ads, making your campaigns more profitable.

All products-adgroup

Besides breaking down campaigns, we strongly recommend to build an all-products-adgroup that contains all products from your feed. It’s important to set a low bid for this ad group, as it serves the purpose of a safety net to advertise on all products, might you have forgotten one in the individual product groups.

Creating chances

This specific campaign structure creates new chances. The campaign is structured as follows:

Clothing and accessories > Clothing
Clothing and accessories > Clothing > Trousers
Clothing and accessories > Clothing > Trousers > Jeans

Building your campaigns in layers, growing more specific each level down, allows you to place separate bids for those ad groups. This is a big win, as we often see more specific ad groups convert at a lower cost than generic ad groups.

AdWords labels or grouping

Adwords labels and Adwords grouping allow you to identify specific products that you can promote during a limited period of time, like for a sale.

Top product ad groups

Create ad groups that contain one top product, so you can promote this extra via the Product Listing Campaigns. Choose the product ID that’s always available in the product feed, as it allows you to build ad groups more quickly.

PLA & budget

A limited budget could stop your Product Listing Campaigns from performing as they normally should. A higher budget with a broken down campaign structure and the right bid strategy, however, allows you to control your costs, while maximising your impressions.


Google introduced new visuals for mobile Product Listing Ads, which serves the purpose of showing more products and ads. By adjusting your mobile bids, you ads can be shown on mobile as well. By targeting your campaigns locally, people who are searching the web for your products easily can find their way to your physical store to buy the product there.

Fast-Forward: Google Shopping goes local

A beta that allows shopkeepers to include stock levels from their physical stores in their PLA-campaigns was launched in the US. The local availability of products in the physical stores are based on a local product feed that provides retailers with real-time pricing and availability in each store. Shopkeepers can also include their local storefront that shows the entire assortment and opening hours. Participating shops only pay for clicks on their ads.


The world of Google Shopping and the related forms of advertising continue to become more and more important for generating revenue. PLA campaigns can only be run from within Google Adwords, but already represent 33% of clicks in the US. Expansive growth (and thus competition) require you to professionalise your PLA campaigns.