FeedLab: PPC campaign automation for large product inventories

Pete Whitmarsh

Pete Whitmarsh

Head of Paid Media


FeedLab™ is Search Laboratory’s proprietary software that automatically builds and updates PPC text and Shopping ads and keywords for large product inventories.

Delivering highly-relevant PPC and Shopping ad texts for specific, long-tail keywords is a necessity for a top-performing account – it helps with user experience, conversion rates and quality scores. However, with a constantly-changing product inventory and pricing structure, it can be impossible to stay on top of all of these changes.

This experience led us to develop FeedLab.


FeedLab provides a time-efficient, accurate and granular solution to managing large-scale PPC and Google Shopping campaigns. With FeedLab, we can customise and automate the process of updating ads and keywords for large product catalogues, ensuring that our clients’ PPC campaigns reflect the latest stock levels, price changes, or special offers.

Managing PPC ad scale and complexity

FeedLab allows us to manage PPC ad complexity by automating the process of updating our clients’ PPC ad content based on product feeds.

We can customise FeedLab based on our clients’ specific needs, allowing us to deploy changes to text and Shopping ads at scale, quickly and accurately, and to schedule them to run on a daily – or even hourly – basis.

This allows us to respond quickly to opportunities to drive revenues or avoid wasted spend, including:

  • Stopping ads for items which are out of stock (or low on stock)
  • Reenabling ads when products come back into stock
  • Automating the creation of new ads and keywords
  • Ensuring that ads reflect the latest prices
  • Advertising the best discounts
  • Rolling out promotional campaigns
  • Only including ‘Free Delivery’ messages when they’re relevant

FeedLab ensures we are delivering high quality ads to maximise quality score (and therefore minimise cost per click), and providing a great user experience to drive conversions. The time efficiencies we gain from FeedLab also means that our account managers can focus their time and expertise on optimising our clients’ campaigns, driving the return on advertising spend they get from PPC.

How it works: Text Ads

Set up and importing product feeds

FeedLab allows us to customise the automation process based on the specific needs of each client and each campaign:

Feeds can be imported from different sources, or by a custom code, and allows us to preview the elements it finds in the feed:

Setting up Ad Groups

The next step is to identify standard fields from the feed which will be used in creating the ads and keywords, and add in custom “Calculated Attribute” fields to allow for additional parameters such as:

  • Discount
  • Number of items in category
  • Max Price
  • Price

We then specify the combinations of attributes which define Ad Groups:

FeedLab doesn’t just create ads for each product. It can target any combination of attributes. This attracts more generic searches (‘Red Hats’) and allows us to highlight specific features on that group.

On a large client, there are thousands of combinations, which are impossible to be managed manually.

Generating Ads and keywords

The next step is to generate the ads and keywords. We can create multiple templates per Ad Group, allowing us to generate all combinations of “best fit”, to ensure that the keyword coverage is highly specific, and the ads are written in a way that sounds completely natural whilst including key selling points and taking advantage of the full character limit that is available.

Ads aren’t just at product level: they can target any attributes in the feed e.g.

  • Brand
  • Category
  • Colour
  • Style
  • and any combinations of those

This allows us to capture non-product specific traffic and shows detailed ads e.g.:

We then generate keywords and synonyms for each product:


Scheduling synchronisation

The final step is to schedule the timing and frequency of the update:

How it works: Google Shopping

What are shopping campaigns?

Shopping campaigns are based on a client ‘feed’ uploaded to Google. The products appear at the top of search results when Google deems appropriate, and, like text ads, is based on bids.

The problem

Shopping campaigns need to be partitioned so appropriate bids can be made, and this information is then sent to AdWords so the product campaigns can be split out. For example, a shoe retailer may need to split out their campaign into the following partitions:

  • Brand: Adidas
  • Colour: Red
  • Size: 5-6
  • Item: Adidas ZX Flux Kids 5-6

Why is this a problem?

The more granular the partitions, the more granular the bidding. Bids can be made at the lowest level of partitioning (in this case, item). When you partition a feed, Google creates partitions based on the data available at that time, for example:

  • If you partition on Brand at the top level, it will create Adidas, Nike and Puma
  • If you later add Converse to your feed, it won’t create a new partition
  • This applies at any level, so new items end up in an ‘everything else’ bucket, for example if you add an Adidas Blue shoe, it will go into the “Adidas” partition, but not the “blue” partition.

This means bidding on new items isn’t accurate.


FeedLab imports the Product Listing each day and creates/updates the partitions as specified to ensure the Shopping campaigns are always up to date.

The first step is to import the feed, using the same mechanism as text ads above. This can be from a URL, FTP site or via custom code.

Having imported the feed, FeedLab allows us to define how the Shopping campaign will be partitioned. Up to six levels of partitioning are catered for, allowing for truly granular campaigns to be maintained.

FeedLab then runs every day (or more often if required), and updates the Shopping campaign in AdWords. It creates new partitions for any new products/categories which have appeared, and ensures all products are in the right place in the Shopping campaign structure.


  • Keeps Google Shopping campaigns properly partitioned
  • Bidding is more accurate
  • Works with our in-house bidding platform BidLab to ensure campaigns are managed more accurately

Summary – and how we can help you

FeedLab is a flexible ad and keyword tool that generate combinations of ads from large product inventories that would not be possible to do manually.

Campaigns can be updated daily, or several times a day, allowing fast and accurate changes to be made before revenue-generating or cost-saving opportunities are missed.

This allows us to deliver more targeted campaigns covering more combinations of keywords, and allows our PPC experts to focus on optimising our clients’ campaigns and generating the highest returns on their AdWord spend.

If you would like to discuss how FeedLab might help your PPC campaign, please contact us for a confidential discussion.

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