Single Product Ad Groups: The Secret to Effective Shopping Campaigns

Single product ad groups

Single product ad groups is an advanced topic of Google Shopping campaigns. Lets start with the need for them first. Proper campaign structuring is a notoriously overlooked matter when it comes to Adwords campaigns in general. That is especially true for people who are new to Adwords or small business owners who just need to hit the ground running and don’t have the time to learn the ins and outs of Adwords nor a dedicated individual or team to handle this task professionally.

The issue is even more soaring with Google Shopping campaigns as they’re (relatively) new and not every option is as smooth and streamlined as we’d like it to be. Put simply, you could have a great ecommerce store with great products, great prices and great customer experience but still lose a ton of money or miss out on a significantly better ROI just because your campaigns, ad groups and product groups are not properly organized. How frustrating would that be?


The Default Approach

So in order to understand how single product ad groups (SPAGs) work, we need to understand the typical structure for a Google Shopping campaign. Let’s explore the most basic (and most catastrophic) structure:

  • Campaign > houses all the products
    • Ad Group > houses all the products

This setup is super quick and easy, it’s also the most common. Just tie your Adwords account to your Google Merchant account, setup basic budget and campaign settings, create 1 ad group for all the products and your product group will be automatically created targeting all products in your store.

Where the Catastrophe Lies

While this approach is the fastest and simplest to setup, it is far (okay actually WAY too far) from perfect. First off, you’re using a single bid for all products on your website. Similarly to how every finger in your hand is different, so is every product on your website. They differ in popularity, pricing, profitability, competition and more. It would make zero sense to bid the same for all products. But that’s hardly the only problem with this approach.

The real issue lies in optimization. Like any paid online ad campaign, shopping campaigns are not something you set-and-forget and then expect them to perform at their best. You need to be constantly monitoring your data and tweaking your campaigns by adding negative keywords, adjusting bids, pausing non-profitable ad groups/product groups…etc. With the approach above, your data is all over the place because all your products are lumped together into a single ad group. Identifying your best performing products, best performing search queries as well as doing granular modifications such as per product device-level bid adjustments can all be tedious tasks.

A Refined Approach

So by now you know the approach above is probably not the best way to go. Well then, what’s a better approach? A slightly better approach looks like this:

  • Campaign > houses all the products
    • Ad Group > houses all the products
      • Product Group > houses all the products
        • Subdivided Product Ad Group 1
        • Subdivided Product Ad Group 2
        • Subdivided Product Ad Group 3

What is this approach and why is it better? This time instead of having all our products placed in a single product group, we’re using the product group subdivisions to further segment our product catalogs. Google allows us to segment products into different product groups according to Category, Brand, Item ID, Product Type and more. Using this approach allows you to have a bit more control as you can now set custom bids per brand, category, product type…etc which is a lot better than our first approach but it still lacks the flexibility we need to really maximize profits from our campaigns because you could still have hundreds or thousands of products under each brand and category. Google explains how to subdivide your product groups in this video.


Meet SPAGs! Single Product Ad Groups

single product ad groups
single product ad groups

Now that you have an idea of how frustrating the above setups can get, let’s talk about how SPAGs can make your life a lot happier. First off, the way SPAGs work is by having a SINGLE product per AD GROUP. The structure would be something similar to this:

  • Campaign > houses some or all products
    • Ad Group > houses a single product
      • Product Group > houses a single product

This practically solves almost all problems encountered in the alternative setups above. You can easily tell which products are performing and which aren’t. You can easily identify your top winning products. One can set automated bidding rules which are different per PRODUCT (because you have one product in the ad group and automated bidding works on the ad group level). You do not have to mess with complex subdivisions in your product groups. You can adjust bids for every product. Your data is clean and organized at the ad group level so you can easily make optimization decisions. Shall I say more?

Well, but What’s the Catch?

Well there has to be one, right? Unfortunately there is. You might’ve already guessed it actually. Creating an ad group for each product in your feed can be an extremely labor intensive process. Not just if you have thousands or tens of thousands of products, but even with a few hundred products. Does it pay off? Well, we think it certainly does, but the amount of time and effort you need to put into it can be grossly counterproductive.


Well, fortunately for you, this is where AdNabu steps in (okay, cliché we know, but just hear us out). We’ve been through this frustrating scenario ourselves and we’ve developed the perfect solution for it. AdNabu’s shopping software automatically creates SPAGs or Single Product Ad groups for your shopping campaigns. You don’t even have to lift a finger. Not only that, but any new products you add are automatically synced up with your Adwords account and their respective SPAGs are created. We do all this at a fraction of what our competitors charge. Neat, huh?

The Gist of it

So you have an e-commerce website and you want to run Adwords Shopping campaigns. There are a couple of common approaches. The first is easy and fast but sucks, the second is a bit harder and a bit slower but sucks less. There’s a third approach which is less commonly used because it’s harder and more time-consuming to setup, but it’s more rewarding in almost every way. AdNabu has made this “hard and time-consuming” approach painless. So now it’s all unicorns, rainbows and more money for you!


About the author

Salil Panikkaveettil

CEO and co founder of AdNabu. Exploring the intersection of data and marketing