Single Product Ad Groups – A better Google Shopping Structure

This is the third in our series on improving Google Shopping ads, If you haven’t already you can check out our first article on improving feed quality and our second article on advanced query sculpting.

If you’ve ever read the Clicteq blog before you will know that I’m a huge advocate of using single keyword ad groups, or SKAGs for short in, search campaigns as they drive great results.

Well as it turns out there is an equivalent format for Google shopping called SPAGs or single product ad groups.

What are single product ad groups?

Single product ad groups are a way of structuring Google Shopping campaigns to give you the most control over when your Google Ads show.

They are simply an ad group that contains only one product.

This allows you to set bids for each product, this is important as each product will have a different margin as the diagram below shows.

It also allows for the pausing of individual products that are not performing well. It also allows you to create a set of negative keywords for each product, further improving the efficiency of your shopping campaigns.

With this structure you can ensure that your shopping ads appear in the most relevant searchers and that you can control the bids to hit your ROAS targets.

The structure also makes optimising and reporting easier as it allows you to quickly see how much revenue each product is generating as well as the search terms that triggered that specific product to show.

Why you should use SPAGs

The main reason for using SPAGs is they give you back some of the control that you lose due to Google Shopping not being keyword targeted. 

Being able to see the search queries that your ads appear for can also be helpful for optimising your product titles and other elements of your data feed. As the title has the biggest impact on when your Google Ads will show. 

Furthermore it allows you to take back some control over which keywords that your Google Shopping ads will appear for when used in conjunction with a query sculpting strategy

Naming conventions for SPAGs

Using a sensible naming structure for SPAGs is really important, especially when you might have tens of thousands of SKUs within your account.

We would suggest that you create the name of your SPAG using data from your product feed. 

We would suggest that you add the name of the product and the price of the product at a minimum. 

If you have the data within your feed then you could also consider adding the product ID as well as the margin as this will help you make bidding decisions.

Should i still use SPAGs if I’ve got thousands of SKUs?

The simple answer is yes. 

Although there are arguments that having thousands of SPAGs is a nightmare to manage and time consuming to set up, the significant benefits of running Google Shopping in SPAGs outweighs the downsides.

The key to solving these two issues lies within automation, although you can build SPAGs manually, which will take literally all day, using the Google Ads API you can automatically build them at scale in minutes for tens of thousands of SKUs.

In terms of bid management and adding negative keywords, with the right set of Google Ads scripts, Google’s tROAS smart bidding or for enterprise advertisers third party tools like Google Ads 360, Kenshoo or Marin you can manage these complex campaigns with ease.

Even a lot of the negative keyword work to exclude poor performance terms can be done at scale using n-gram analysis to find trends in large sets of data across several campaigns with ease.

How to create SPAGs at scale

Step 1, Get the right structure

When creating SPAGs at scale you will need to think carefully about your structure as Google Ads only allows a maximum of 20k ad groups per campaign. 

Even if you have less than 20k ad groups then we would suggest that you don’t group all of your products together into just one campaign with each product split out at ad group level. 

We would suggest that you break your SPAGs into different campaigns based on an identifier within your product feed. 

There are a few different ways of doing this. One of the most common ways is to split campaigns by product category. Here is an example of how we have done this for one of our clients. 

This generally works well as products in these campaigns are likely to have similar relevant negative keywords that would apply across all of them.

You can also test splitting your campaigns by product profit margin. Here you would have a campaigns for products with 5-10% margins, 10-15% margins etc. 

This is an effective format if you’re planning to bid based on each products’ profit margin.

Splitting campaigns by brand or by top performers vs the rest can also work well depending on what you’re looking to achieve.

Step 2. Splitting by ID

There are two main ways in which you can build single keyword ad groups. The first is using automation through a third party tool that works through Google Ads API and the second is to do it manually using a spreadsheet. 

The easiest way to do it by far is using a third party platform. The one that we generally use to do this is called Optmyzr.

You can then define a hierarchy that you want Optmyzr to split your products out by. We would suggest that you do Category and then by product ID to split out each product individually.

Source: Optmyzr

Once you’ve done this just hit run and it will create thousands of SPAGs for you at scale – split out into the exact structure that you want.

This is by far the easiest way to build SPAGs and is the method that we use here.

You can however build them using a spreadsheet which is also reasonably quick but will require some excel skills.

Conclusion

Single product ad groups are a great way to take back a lot of the control that advertisers have lost with Google’s black box approach to shopping.

Whether you have 1 SKU or 1 million, the key to building this structure at scale and managing it effectively lies with automation. 

We would suggest using a third party tool like Optmyzr to build campaigns in the SPAG structure then using Google Scripts, Smart bidding or third party applications like Google Ads 360, Martin or Kenshoo to manage bids at scale.

wesley parker
About wesley parker

Wesley is Founder and CEO at Clicteq. He currently manages a £6 Mil Adwords portfolio across a range of different sectors. He regulally features in leading search publications such as Econsultancy, Campaign Magazine and Search Engine Land. You can follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Linkedin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *