After switching to Product Listing Ads for Google Shopping, Google has now launched a new campaign type, Shopping campaigns.

So what exactly are Shopping campaigns? Well, the official line from Google is that Shopping campaigns are a way of connecting with customers and promoting your brand by streamlining how you manage and bid on your products, report on your performance and find opportunities to grow your traffic.

What this means is Shopping Campaigns are a way to make it easier for advertisers to manage their Product Listing Ads (PLA). Since Google switched to using PLA, it has admittedly been difficult to set up and manage these ads. And because of this it has somewhat hindered the format’s success.

With Shopping campaigns, feed data will now be visible from within AdWords, whereas this was previously only visible from Google Merchant Centre.

Shopping campaigns now allow you to browse your product inventory directly in AdWords and create product groups for the items you wish to bid on. You will be able to see attributes in your Google Merchant feed such as product category, product type, brand and condition all from AdWords.

To demonstrate this, Google has given the example of a fashion retailer. As a fashion retailer you will be able to see which types of shoes are in your data feed and how many of these you can promote.

Using the product attributes now available in your Google Merchant feed in AdWords you will be able to organise your inventory into product groups. Plus, there is now the ability to organise your product inventory into specific product groups of your choosing with the new custom labels feature. As Google put it “custom labels are a new, structured way to tag your products in your data feed with attributes that matter to you, such as ‘margin’ to separate your high and low margin products.” Custom labels could be used for anything though, for example they could be used to monitor the performance of one particular shirt colour against another.

And that leads us nicely on to performance, the other key benefit of Shopping campaigns being touted by Google, is the ability to provide advanced reporting to measure product performance. Using the product attributes, Shopping campaigns allows you to measure the performance of different segments of your inventory. Attributes that can be measured include product category, product type, brand, condition, item id and of course the aforementioned custom labels. This means you will be able to see which of your categories generate the most clicks without having to separate the category into a new separate product group.

The new data presented can also be used to competitively size up your competition. Shopping campaigns can provide you with insights into the activity of your competition. Of course this data is averages and is all anonymous, but it will give you an insight into the estimated average click through rate and maximum cost per click for advertisers with similar products.

It’s likely that we will see Shopping campaigns in the UK by early next year, it’s being gradually rolled out in the US at the moment but Google say it should have global availability by next year. Watch this space!