How to Split Google Shopping Campaigns into Brand and Non-Brand Campaigns

February 01, 2019

Google Shopping campaigns are a great option for merchants to feature their products at the top of the Google search results page. Unlike Search campaigns, Shopping ad campaigns don’t have the same keyword targeting structure as search campaigns, but you can control what search queries your Shopping ads show up for via negative keyword lists. This is useful for merchants that want to have separate Shopping campaigns geared towards their brand keywords and campaigns geared toward non-brand keywords. This also creates the ability to control budget and bid settings for each of those search buckets

We first learned of this method when we had a client that needed a clear distinction between, and greater budget control over, Brand and Non-brand campaigns on shopping.

In this blog post we’ll go over the steps you need to take to separate your shopping campaign into two separate campaigns targeting brand and non-brand search terms. While this article focuses on splitting brand vs non-brand terms, this method could also be applied for any search term split that makes sense for your campaigns.

Identify the Keywords You Want to Target For Each Shopping Campaign

The first step is to identify what kind of keywords you want to exclude from each campaign. Keep in mind, we can’t target keywords in a Shopping campaign but we can add keyword exclusions to control what search queries our shopping ads appear for.

For our split, we want a campaign to show Shopping ads to search queries containing brand keywords and another campaign to show Shopping ads for non-brand keywords.

Prepare Negative Keyword Lists for Each Shopping Campaign

This is the most important step in this process that, if carefully prepared, will ensure you have the basis for a proper set up of your brand and non-brand Shopping campaigns.

Prepare the brand term negative keyword lists for your non-brand Shopping campaign with phrases of your core brand terms. For example, if Four15 Digital wanted to create a negative list of our core brand terms, our list would include phrases such as “four15” and “four15 digital.” Be sure to include your branded product names to this list as well (e.g. Nike would also want to exclude “Air Jordan,” a product ‘brand’ name). We recommend using negative phrase match and negative exact match keywords for these lists to ensure that ads will not show for search queries containing those brand keyword phrases. That said, you may expand into broad match modified as long as you keep a close eye on what ‘variants’ Google matches your products to.

It is easier to exclude branded keywords from your non-brand campaign than it is to exclude non-brand terms for your brand campaign. Your brand variations are mostly finite, but non-brand query variations are almost limitless. Creating a negative keyword list of all possible non-brand keywords is a much more complicated and time-consuming process. Luckily you won’t have to try to match all of these variations thanks to a feature we go into later, “Campaign Priority”

For now we will only need the negative keyword list containing your core brand keyword phrases. We do recommend eventually creating a negative keyword list containing exact match non-brand keywords that may be appearing in your brand campaign once ads are active.

Duplicate Your Existing Shopping Campaign

In the Google Ads interface, select the Shopping campaigns option in the left-hand drop down menu:

 Select the Shopping campaign you want split between brand and non-brand:

 Under the Edit drop down menu, copy the Shopping Campaign:

Under the same Edit drop down menu, select the Paste option. Be sure to pause the campaign before you paste the new Shopping campaign:

Now that you have two Shopping campaigns including the new paused campaigns, rename each campaign to reflect the purpose of each Shopping campaign and so you don’t have two campaigns with the same name or targeting:

Apply Negative Keyword Lists to the Non-Brand Shopping Campaign

Apply the core brand keyword negative list to your non-brand shopping campaign under the Keywords tab for this campaign. Assuming you have a comprehensive negative list containing your branded terms and variations of your branded terms, your non-brand Shopping campaign will not show ads for search queries containing your brand terms.

Keep in mind, you will need to regularly check your search queries report for your campaigns for keywords that you may have missed when preparing your negative keywords list. Your ads may still show for misspellings and variations of your negative keywords so you’ll want to make sure you add these in.

If you have a negative keyword list containing exact match non-brand keywords, apply this list to your brand Shopping campaign so that each Shopping campaign has a negative keyword list applied. This list too will need to be monitored. Sometimes ads from your brand campaign will still show on non-brand searches so you’ll want to make sure you add these in as they appear in your search term reports.

Change Shopping Campaign Priorities

Go to the Settings tab and look for Bid Settings. Set your Campaign priority for this non-brand Shopping campaign to High priority. As your non-brand campaign will not show up for branded search queries, the campaign will have higher priority over your other Shopping campaign to show up for non-brand search queries.

Go to the Settings tab for your brand shopping campaign and look for Bid Settings. Set your Campaign priority for this brand shopping campaign to Low priority. Your brand shopping campaign will still show up for search queries containing your brand terms as your other non-brand shopping campaign is set to not show for those search queries.

To get a better idea of how these campaign priorities work for your campaigns, let’s start with one scenario in which a search occurs containing non-brand keywords related to your Shopping campaigns. Your non-brand Shopping campaign has a higher priority than your brand Shopping campaign so your non-brand Shopping campaign will show ads in response to this search query.

Imagine a second scenario in which a search occurs containing your brand keywords. Your non-brand Shopping campaign has high priority to show ads for this search query. However, since the query contains brand keywords that you’ve added as a negative keyword for the non-brand Shopping campaign, then Google will pass this search query to your lower priority brand Shopping campaign. The brand Shopping campaign will then show ads for this search query.

Enable your new non-brand Shopping campaign to let it run! Now you have Shopping campaigns geared toward brand and non-brand search queries.

For more information on Google Shopping campaign priorities, please refer to the Google Ads Help guide.

Monitor Your Non-Brand Campaign Performance Over Time

Be sure to monitor your user search query reports for each of these campaigns on a weekly basis. This will ensure that the Shopping ads for each campaign are showing up for the types of user search queries you want them to show up for. The process is not an exact science – you will need to regularly check your search query reports for each Shopping campaign for keywords and phrases you’d want to add to your negative keyword lists. Your campaigns may still show for variations or misspellings of your negative keywords and regular search query report checks will help ensure you have clean, well-organized Shopping campaigns.

As our next step, we are looking at the potential for optimizing multiple feeds targeted towards different keyword buckets, so keep an eye out for that blog!