If you are an ecommerce merchant, and not aware that Product Listing Ads (PLAs) are transitioning to Google Shopping at the end of August, well, I'm being kind to say you're behind the curve. Nonetheless, even seasoned digital marketers who have run Google Shopping campaigns for months don't make the best of the platform's capabilities.
You can check the AdWords blog for details, but it won't clue you in to some of the more important and lesser-known functions of the new platform. I have pulled out four of the most important points.
1. You can advertise items on a pre-order basis. Got a brand new, not-yet-released product that doesn't even have a unique product ID? You can still generate buzz -- and more importantly, pre-orders -- by entering a value of "false" in "identifier exists."
2. The new Campaign Priority feature helps you regain some query control. One of the features introduced in Google Shopping is Campaign Priority, which allows you to establish query mapping outside of Google-assigned relevancy and CPC. This feature addresses the fundamental issue of how to map query to bid in the absence of strong control. Again, it's not as precise as regular PPC match types, but it's a step in the right direction. One important angle to note is that prioritizing shopping campaigns to regain some control is best leveraged with inventory filtering.
3. You can still define your own bundles, but watch your attribute. Another new feature of Google Shopping, the "is bundle" attribute must be used when merchants define their own bundles. A big caveat: you will want to be very careful to note the bundle components in your product titles and descriptions.
4. You can use Promotional Messaging to highlight your ads. Each of your ad groups can include unique promotional messaging...not ad copy but up to 45 (non-dynamic) characters of actionable alerts that differentiate you from your competitors. You can use Merchant Promotions (fill out an interest form) to highlight a special offer, and you can use your feed's shipping attribute to highlight shipping promotions.
This is far from an exhaustive list; I would bet that Google will provide more enhancements over the coming months, especially with the holidays approaching. It’s a good idea to keep up with the AdWords blog – and MediaPost, of course – to follow updates to come.