Google Shopping is one of the most important Google advertising options eCommerce business owners have at their disposal.

The key to Google Shopping success lies in the building and implementation of good campaign structures from the get-go. In short, this means splitting your campaigns into high, medium and low priority campaigns that include different varieties or groupings of products, to ensure you’re capitalizing on your full ROI potential.

To be able to maximize success, it’s important to understand how Google Shopping structures and ad and product groups work. Like with Google AdWords, each campaign should include several ad groups, and within your Shopping Account you want to make sure you’re dividing your products into groups. The problem is that many eCommerce advertisers have a lot on their AdWords plates, so to speak, making them reluctant to spend the extra time and energy needed to set up, test and optimize granular Google Shopping campaigns to find the winning balance for them.

However, if you want to get ahead of the competition, you are going to have to put in some extra effort and get your hands dirty.

In this post, we will show you 6 beginner and expert strategies for building the best Google Shopping campaign structures to ensure maximum success. On the surface Google Shopping options may seem limited, but with the right strategy, you can work around its perceived limitations to gain more control.

But first (to put it in cooking terms) – you can’t create the perfect dish without first understanding the ingredients.

Here are some basics you need to know:

Google Shopping Campaign Priority Options

priority selection for Google Shopping Campaigns

Within Google Shopping Campaigns, you have access to three campaign priorities: high, medium and low priority. There are some strategy options, for example, which involve priority settings. Although we get into this in more detail later, here is a rough outline to get you started. Ideally, you would use high-priority campaigns for your newly arrived products, best-sellers or clearance items – basically those products you would like to sell above any others. Medium priority campaigns are best suited for Shopping campaigns pointing to product categories or lines or to specific regions. Lastly, low priority campaigns would be your catch-all campaigns: those campaigns covering all your products or your store, in one campaign.

Google Shopping Ad Group

Like with traditional AdWords, each of your Google Shopping campaigns will include ad groups. You want to keep your groups as segmented as possible, i.e., limit the number of products to enable you to adjust bids and/or optimize quickly. For example, let’s say you’re running a shopping campaign narrowed down (using inventory options listed above) to a single category – shoes. You could then include ad groups for different types of shoes you offer, such as sneakers, sandals or heels, each of which would be triggered by different searches and could be optimized separately.

Google Shopping Product Groups

Inside each of your Google Shopping Ad groups within a Google Shopping campaign, there are product groups or inventory subsets. An ad group within a Google Shopping campaign can have up to 20,000 product groups. These are segments of your products that are relevant to that Ad Group, in other words, the group of products that will use the same bid. You can have a product group of all your products or you can subdivide each group into 7 levels for maximum segmentation. Here’s a list from Google of the types of filters you can apply on your Shopping Product Groups:

  • Product Type: based on your inventory categorization
  • Category: based on the category taxonomy of your site or Google product categories
  • Item ID: based on ID (identifier) of each of your products
  • Custom Labels: based on up to 5 theme-labels you can create
  • Brand: based on product manufacturer
  • Channel: based on the sales channel where the product is sold
  • Condition: based on the condition of the products, such as new/used, etc.

There is plenty of room to get creative – such as creating effective product group (custom label) splits according to margins and pricing. Using the shoe category we mentioned earlier, here’s a simplistic example of all the Google Shopping campaign elements we’ve discussed.

basic google campaign structure

Now that you know the basic elements, we can construct some campaign strategy options.

Google Shopping Strategy 1: One Campaign with One Ad Group

Due to its simplicity, this ‘beginner’ Google Shopping campaign structure is often an eCommerce advertiser’s first point of call and involves creating single campaigns that include a single ad group. Let’s say you are new to AdWords Shopping campaigns and sell one product type: yoga leggings. As you only sell one product, the product groups within your ad group wouldn’t be too technical.

simple Google Shopping campaign structure

Advantages: Easy to set up and monitor when selling a single product type; best suited for Google Shopping newbies.

Disadvantages: Lack of segmentation and high directly in optimizing for the best ROIs.

As stated above, the process of creating one campaign with one group that is subdivided into various product groups is ideal for those just starting out and finding their feet with Google Shopping. However, this approach is very limiting in the long-run, as you will need to identify and then exclude poorly performing products from of thousands of products that are all lumped together in one group. It also makes it hard to see which search queries are bringing in the most sales, which you will need if you want to work on more complex structures that involve implementing negative keyword lists to sculpt queries.

Google Shopping Strategy 2: One Campaign with Numerous Ad Groups

The next on the basic Shopping campaign structures list is a simple, single campaign with numerous Ad Groups. Again, let’s use the yoga legging business as an example, which has now branched out into a variety of sports leggings. You could then create one campaign that includes a variety of ad groups based on product types such as yoga leggings, running leggings, short leggings and so on. Or if you’re still just selling yoga leggings, you could create groups around product topics such as price, design, popularity, etc. This type of structure therefore gives you clearer insight into which product types are performing better. It also means you are able to play around with adding different negative keywords to different groups.

simple Google Shopping campaign structure2

Advantages: Easier performance reporting and tracking per product type and being able to use negative keywords for better targeting.

Disadvantages: As you’re running only one campaign, all ad groups are sharing from the same campaign budget pool.

Google Shopping Strategy 3: Multiple Campaigns with Multiple Ad Groups

As the title says, this structure involves having multiple campaigns with multiple ad groups and is effective for online store owners who sell a variety of product types or brands or for those wanting to have tighter control of their budgets. So in this case, our yoga legging seller who is now selling a variety of products, would then create a campaign per category he sells in. This would mean that each campaign…