So everyone will have come across a shopping ad now, and if you haven’t, what have you been searching for? They are the bread and butter in PPC for eCommerce sites. For clarity…

What are Google Shopping Ads?

These are the product carousels that appear below the search bar. Google returns different carousel formats depending on the intent of the search query and the device used. They are also known as product listing ads (PLAs).

PLAs for  Nike Trainers

Adthena has done extensive research on the rise of Google Shopping and the importance of utilising it for online retailers. In 2018, Google Shopping accounted for 82% of retail ad spend and attracted 87.9% of clicks in the UK market alone. Sounds good, right?

One of the major issues with Google Shopping is that you are unable to bid on keywords related to your product. You are only able to bid on the product ID itself, which gives the advertiser less control than in search campaigns. There are two main ways to combat this; optimising your feed and structuring your shopping campaign effectively.

Today, we’ll focus on the latter.

There are lots of different ways you could segment your shopping campaign, from how competitive you are on price, to high vs low margins, to simpler focus points like whether the product is on promotion.

The most common way to set up your shopping campaign is to have an ‘All Products’ campaign. This is a good start as you are ahead of advertisers not utilising shopping. However, you are going to have your product listing ads (PLAs) triggered for all sorts of queries. This can get messy quickly, and you will be wasting a ton of budget.

Segment By Intention

An easy way to structure your account is to think of it in a tiered fashion.

A campaign for high-intent specific searches.

A campaign for medium intent. The user knows broadly what they want. Maybe the brand but not the product range.

And finally, a campaign for low intent; e.g. a broad keyword such as ‘shoes’.

It is worth noting that within each campaign, there are priority settings. These, in short, determine which campaign should participate in the auction first.

As there will be the same product within all three shopping campaigns, the highest level of priority will always overwrite the products group bid, even if it is lower. In this case, you want the low intent campaigns to have a high priority setting; allowing them to start at the top of the funnel. Don’t worry, this can be confusing even for the specialists.

Screenshot of the bidding and budget options within PLA setup.

When it comes to your negative keywords, you will want to split this into 3 parts.

1. Shared Library Negative List

This will include keywords you want to block that will apply to the majority of your campaigns. This could include variants of ‘cheap’, ‘used’, ‘deals’ or anything else similar that does not apply to your product. This should be applied to all 3 campaigns. This is quite a low maintenance list.

2. Campaign Negative List

These will be more specific searches to the campaign itself. For example, you may be selling men’s apparel. Each campaign will have its own specific negatives, such as the generic campaign having branded terms applied as negatives. You will need to skim your search queries occasionally to make sure irrelevant terms haven’t sifted through.

3. Ad Group Negative List

These will be more granular searches that will be pretty difficult to block out with a master or campaign level negative lists. You will need to look at your search query report often to block out any irrelevant terms that will be eating into your budget.

Using this three-tiered priority, reversed negative will allow you to have more control over bids at a sensible level appropriate to the product. It will also enable you to control budgets more accordingly. Why would you spend the same on a click for ‘training shoes’ to ‘Nike 5 training shoe’?

Campaign 1: Generics

This will be your low intent campaign. It will aim to capture your generic search queries such as ‘jeans’, ‘chairs’ or ‘TVs’.

Within this campaign, you will want to be meticulous with your negative list. This will depend on the industry of your product. If you are a shoe retailer, you will want to block out brand and product ranges with the aim to filter them into your medium intent campaign.

Your low campaign will have the lowest budget and CPCs out of the three.

Make sure to set your priority setting to high!

Campaign 2: Brand and Category

Next up is the medium intent campaign. This is aimed at more mid-funnel traffic such as Levi Jeans, “Ercol Chairs” or “Samsung TV”. You will want to maintain a negative list here too, but keep it to very specific searches. You should start to see more relevant queries coming through now.

Your medium campaign will have a midline budget between the two.

Make sure to set your priority setting to medium!

Campaign 3: Brand and Product

And finally, is the high intent campaign. This is, of course, aimed at the high intent searches such as “Black Levi 511 Jeans”, “Ercol Teramo Dining Chair” and “Samsung UE43RU7100KXXU Smart TV”. If negatives have been applied correctly to the other two campaigns, you shouldn’t need any here. The remaining traffic to filter through should be extremely relevant. You will start to see extremely longtail queries here which will include brand and product lines.

Your high campaign will have the highest budget, as you should see high CPCs.

Make sure to set your priority setting to low!

The above example isn’t the only way to structure a shopping campaign. You could easily change it from (brand + product) to (brand + sale), (brand + size, query length (short, medium, long)) or anything that will fit a similar tier structure. There isn’t a right or wrong answer. If you are achieving your KPI targets, and can efficiently manage your campaigns, you’re good!


  • You want to be able to control which products do and don’t show with relative ease.
  • You want to be able to control bids at a sensible level. This is where can segments help (especially with larger feeds).
  • If you want to control your budgets on a product level, you will need to create separate campaigns.
  • One of the major benefits of having separate campaigns is that you can aggregate data into sensible groups. This will allow you to gather enough data to make a smart decision about your needed action
  • The 80/20 rule applies with Google Shopping (80% conversions from 20% products)

Still a bit stuck? No problem! Get in touch and we’ll see what we can do.