Google Smart Shopping Campaigns: What You Need to Know

Basics of Google Shopping

Google Shopping Campaigns are according to Google:

“This campaign subtype combines standard Shopping and display remarketing campaigns, and uses automated bidding and ad placement to promote your products and business across networks.”

The campaigns use a mix of display and shopping across their entire network including YouTube and Gmail.

Steps in Creating a Smart Shopping Campaign

  • Product selection. What product types, categories or products are you going to use?
  • Select image assets. 
  • Write headlines and copy.
  • Make sure you have an logo in Merchant Center
  • Preview your beautiful ads.

What this means for you is that after you create your Smart Shopping Campaign you can go grab a cup of coffee because there isn’t a whole lot you are going to be able to do to optimize this campaign. 

The product selection is what I think is the most important. When you have Smart shopping campaign running it is automatically going to be given priority over your other campaigns, regardless of priority settings. For example, if are running a campaign for top performing products with a campaign priority of High and you turn on a Smart shopping campaign targeting those same products, your existing regular shopping campaign is going to see a serious drop in impressions and clicks.

Be careful about what products you add so you don’t disrupt a campaign(s) that is performing well.

You only get one ad per Smart shopping campaign so when you are selecting your marketing image (specs here) make sure it matches the products you have selected to use in the Smart campaign. If you are going broad, selecting an entire product category, product type or…gasp your entire catalog select a very generic image that represents your brand as whole.

If you are being more strategic about product selection you can select an image that is geared towards the products that will be included.

The same principles apply to the text that goes along with your ad:

  • Short headline
  • Long headline
  • Description

The more broad you go with the products in the campaign, the more broad you should at least start with in the copy. If begin to segment your shopping campaigns and have logical groups on products, your copy can be more targeted and representative of the products you have selected.

Google Smart Shopping Bidding

By default the conversion strategy is Maximize Conversion Value. Your other options are Maximize Conversion Value.

You can however set a target ROAS for the campaign. Keep in mind that you only have one Ad Group for each Smart Shopping campaign so the target ROAS you set is going to be used for all products you are targeting. This is different from using the Target ROAS bidding in a normal shopping campaign where you set the Target ROAS differently across Ad Groups.  

Google Smart Shopping Tips

After running several Smart shopping campaign test across multiple products, product types, and product categories here are some tips before you get started.

Make sure your conversion tracking is working and is accurate. If your conversion tracking is not reporting all conversions or the correct conversion value you are having the campaign optimize to the wrong metrics. For example if you are double counting conversions, something I see a lot in Shopify, you are giving the campaign a false sense of success.  The campaign will begin to bid more aggressively because it things the ROAS is 600% when it is really closer to 300%

Start the campaign start without a Target ROAS, let it collect data and then apply a target ROAS that makes sense. If you set it too high you are going to lose impression and click share. Set it too low and you will not be able to hit your ROAS target. These campaigns need signals and the more data you can provide at the beginning the faster you are going to get to a profitable campaign. I’ve had similar success with setting a very low ROAS target.  This allows the campaign to start collecting so the machine learning can determine what is and what is not working.

Expect to invest at the beginning of a campaign. The initial days, weeks or possibly months of the campaign will be to collect data and allow the machine learning to determine the best CPC, keywords, placements, and other modifiers. The amount of time in the investment phase is dependent on how much you invest and the amount of data you can collect.

DO NOT turn on Smart shopping to replace all existing shopping campaigns. I have seen several accounts do this and in every case, they have seen significant drops in revenue and ROAS from their shopping programs. Take a targeted approach to test Smart shopping campaigns. Find what products work best.

While you can’t add negative keywords or change bids you can see what products are taking up the majority of the budget, receiving the most clicks, and what their click-through rates are. If notice one product is taking up most of your budget and producing poor ROAS you can exclude it from the campaign, while letting the other products continue to run. This is a dramatic step but is a quick way to see if by removing the one poor performing product can increase the overall performance of the campaign.

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