In August, Google switched us all over from Product Listing Ads to Google Shopping Campaigns. Among the many changes that we see, one of the most important and useful are custom labels in lieu of Adwords labels and Adwords grouping. Custom labels give you more control in campaign structure, so that campaigns can be organized in a way that best suits accomplishing your business objectives.

Some may be asking, what’s so important about structure? Structure is crucial for visibility and control. In shopping campaigns, similar to keywords in text campaigns, you want to create a structure where products & product groups are not overlapping in order to minimize and prevent competing bids.

That said, one thing we notice consistently when onboarding clients for Google Shopping is that either the client or the previous agency has not set up custom labels in a way that best serves for optimal control, visibility, and targeted messaging. Defining your product groups by using the standard labels – product ID, brand, product type, and condition – is rather limiting whereas using custom labels will allow your shopping campaigns to be structured in an ideal way for your business. Custom labels allow you to organize and tag your inventory in a way that matters to your business.

We researched and summarize the best Google Shopping custom label strategies below.


Custom labels are created in the feed and you can have up to 5 that you will create based on how you want to split out your shopping campaigns. Keep in mind – you can make these labels anything you want, but here are some examples:

  • Seasonal/Sale Status: Having labels set up for seasonality, holidays, and other sales will allow you to push products based on their seasonal and sale criteria.
  • Best Sellers: Setting up your best sellers custom label will allow you to focus your selling on your most popular products while labeling poorer performers accordingly.
  • Price Based: Grouping items according to a pricing bracket will allow you to work with a strategy based around how your products are priced.
  • Product Names: This is probably the most specific way to set up your labels. By setting up your custom labels to be product names you see in the interface how specific products are performing *Keep in mind you are limited to 1,000 unique values per label across the entire inventory, so this label may not work for all clients.

Real Look

Here’s an example where the products are broken out into multiple grouping using custom labels. Without addressing the potential wins and losses associated with doing it this way, we just want to see how this potentially looks.

As you can see, the ad groups are based on various criteria specified with the custom labels. When you click into an ad group, you’re able to drill down further and get more specific based on how the custom labels are layered.
When you go into the 500-1000 ad group, you’ll see how the advertiser set up product category as the next level.
Another way you could do this would be to segment product categories at the top level, and then break out the price ranges.

How To Set Up Custom Labels

There are multiple ways to set up custom labels – either through Excel or through a data feed management tool. With Excel, custom labels would be set up in columns and each row would have the custom label declaration. Here’s how it would look:

Excel is fine for simple feeds, but it doesn’t allow you to make more complex changes dynamically to the feed like a product feed management tool would. The extra power you get with a data management tool will make it easier to make adjustments and to optimize your feed. You’ll not just be able to easily create custom labels, but you will also have the ability to make changes to other parts of the data feed as well, such as the titles and descriptions.

The new Google Shopping format is still new to all advertisers – whether you’re managing it for your company or another agency – but segmentation is not. The correct custom label layers will give you the control and visibility in your account for optimum performance.