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What Google Shopping Campaign Priority Settings Really Mean

RKG's Melissa Rowland recently published a great post on the must knows of Google Shopping Campaigns before transitioning. Among her points, she goes through the new campaign priority feature which allows advertisers to set up Shopping Campaigns with distinctions of high, medium or low priority in order to specify to Google which campaign a product that has qualified for an auction through multiple targets should be served through, regardless of bid.

Campaign priorities

Unfortunately, many marketers have misunderstood this feature as allowing advertisers to specify that Google serve a particular product or set of products over other relevant products in lower priority campaigns. This is not the case.

Google will not choose the product which it deems relevant to an auction based on campaign priority, it will only choose to consider the bid tied to that product based on campaign priority. Thus, as an example, you cannot 'force' Google to show a three pack of a product instead of a six pack just by placing the six pack product in a low priority campaign and the three pack in a high priority campaign. You can simply specify which bids for the three pack and six pack are taken into account in the auction.

One way in which the priority feature does help to give advertisers control over which products show is that if Google considers multiple products to be relevant for an auction, the one with the highest bid should be featured more often than the other possibilities.

And, unlike with the legacy PLA campaign model, advertisers can ensure that Google uses the most relevant bid for products using campaign priority settings to prevent Google from using the bid of other targets that the product may fall under.

So, for example, if you were running a temporary promotion on a particular set of products and wanted those products to be featured more often than similar products relevant to the same auctions, you could create custom labels denoting these products as having a promo and launch targets with higher bids calling on those labels in a high priority campaign.

This would tell Google to use the bids associated with targets for these products from the high priority campaign only and ignore any bids for targets in other campaigns which these products could be served through. Assuming you set the high priority campaign bids higher than both the original bids for the promo products as well as similar products not in the high priority campaign, you should be able to push these products to receive more impressions while the sale is running.

Of course, our hope is that the new Shopping campaigns will allow us to lean more heavily on item ID level targets than was previously possible due to past issues with Google's PLA serving. If an advertiser were to launch all item ID targets in one campaign, campaign priority would not be necessary as each product would just be served through the single ID level target that exists within that campaign. Advertisers could then adjust the ID target bids directly in order to accomplish something like pushing more traffic to promo products.

While Google's whitepaper on the subject of Shopping campaign best practices failed to mention the possibility of item ID targets at all, we're still hopeful that this strategy is a possibility in order to bid at the most granular level for each product, and are extensively testing this setup.

As mentioned earlier, Melissa Rowland does a great job of outlining campaign priority and other features of Shopping campaigns in her post and you should definitely check it out. Due to the frequent misunderstandings around this feature, however, we felt it was necessary to provide a clear cut explanation of what you can expect as the forced transition creeps ever closer.

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