technology and software

Google Analytics Changes: (Not Set) Product Listing Ads Targets

Conversion Data, Values, ROI Only Found in Analytics

adwords_labels==no more?

Until recently, anyone could use Google Analytics to drill down to the keyword level, or product target level in this case, in their Product Listing Ads (PLA) campaigns.  From there, users could find data and metrics per individual product target including target-level:

  • Visits
  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • Revenue
  • Transactions
  • Conversion Rates
  • Cost
  • Click through Rates
  • Average CPC
  • Return on Investment

Depending on how these targets are segmented in a merchant’s data feed and Google PLA campaign, the information provided could get incredibly granular – even going so far as individual products or SKUs.

To merchants and ecommerce account managers, the data derived from Google Analytics for product targets is invaluable. With this information, managers could track product performance and click costs and apply these insights to their Google Shopping strategies and AdWords management including bidding and budget allocation.

Changes in Google Analytics

On May 22, 2013 in offices of Vertical Rail, we noticed that we could no longer get to the keyword level data associated with our clients’ Product Listing Ads campaigns.  Crossing our fingers and hoping it was just a bug, we tweeted Google Analytics for some more information.

Tweet to Google Analytics about Product Listing Ads reporting

No response.

So we decided to take the AdWords route; after some exchanges with an AdWords rep, we got the following response:

Hi Again,

I reached out to our technical team about this, and was informed that moving forward PLAs are going to show up as (not set) in Analytics. This is due to technical limitations at the moment.

Apologies for any inconvenience; our engineers are working hard to enable more reporting features in Analytics to give you the best experience possible.

Let me know if there’s anything else I can help with in the meantime.

What Could this Mean for Ecommerce Account Management?

Some Product Listing Ad performance data can still be gleaned from Google AdWords; however, the information in AdWords is nowhere near as in-depth as what a user can glean from Google Analytics. Conversion data, transaction numbers, average order values and return on investment, for example, can only be found in Analytics and are critical for an in-depth understanding of one’s PLA campaigns.

So will product targets show as (not set) from here on out? Or is Google planning to expand the metrics surrounding PLA data? We’re hoping for the latter.

Have you noticed this change in your Google Analytics accounts? Have they affected your Google AdWords and Product Listing Ads strategies?

Chime in below and be sure to stay tuned for future updates regarding changes in Google Analytics!


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Reader Interactions


  1. says

    Hi Chef Steve,

    I completely agree – it wasn’t the most thoughtful move on Google’s part.

    My hope now is that Google has some kind of new Product Listing Ad tracking in the works. What I don’t understand, though, is why they didn’t leave a system in place for us to use in the meantime.

    If I see any updates in Analytics, I’ll post another entry. In the meantime, you can still track some PLA metrics in AdWords. Though not as user-friendly, it can show impressions, clicks, CTR, costs, and average CPC per product target.

    – Cathy

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