6 Things You Need to Know about Smart Shopping Campaigns

Advertisers (in America) are spending up to 80% of their Search Campaign budgets on Shopping Campaigns. This resulted in Google Shopping Ads crowding the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP). And, just when we thought we would run out of positions for Shopping Ads, Google found new placements. Welcome, Smart Shopping Campaigns.

Smart Shopping Campaigns are a combination of regular Shopping Campaigns and Remarketing Campaigns. In this article, we learn more about Smart Shopping Campaigns in detail.

What are Smart Shopping Campaigns?

Smart Shopping Campaigns are a new type of Google Ads campaigns which are powered by Machine Learning. Google uses your product feed from the Merchant Center and other resources to create an array of ads and shows them on different Google advertising networks.

Smart Shopping Campaigns will have image and text ads suitable for Search, Display, YouTube and Gmail networks.

All the ad placements and bidding are all taken care of by Google automatically. However, Google will take your budget into due consideration.


What are the requirements for Smart Shopping Campaigns?

The very first requirement of Smart Shopping Campaigns or any Google Ads campaign for that matter is to have a functioning conversion tracking. Conversion tracking is the key to understanding whether your efforts are returning the value that you desire. It is necessary to understand which ads lead to sales and which don’t. Google insists advertisers use traction-specific values for Smart Shopping Campaigns.

The second requirement for advertisers who want to use Smart Shopping Campaigns is that they need to have a minimum of 20 conversions (sales) in the last 45 days. These conversions should be specific to existing shopping campaigns in your account.

The third requirement for Smart Shopping Campaigns is a global site tag on your website and a remarketing list. Remarketing lists help you to target users who have visited your website with personalized ads. You must have at least 100 users on your remarketing list who actively visit your site before you can start using Smart Shopping Campaigns.

Note: If you have an Analytics account, you can use tags from there instead of using global site tags. You don’t need to tag non-commercial pages, if any, on your website.

Last but not the least, you will have to reconsider and make sure you stick to all the policies Google laid for Shopping Ads. For example, selling narcotics and weapons are banned entirely from Google Shopping. However, some products like alcohol and pharmaceuticals are allowed, but with extra scrutiny. Targeting the right audience with the right products is a must. Read more about Personalized Advertising Policies to avoid Google disapproving your ads.

For your Smart Shopping Campaigns to perform as per your expectations, you need to fulfill the requirements Google introduced for conversion count and remarketing list. If these requirements are not met with, Google doesn’t allow you to start Smart Shopping Campaigns.


What are the types of ads in Smart Shopping Campaigns?

As we have discussed earlier, Smart Shopping Campaigns have both regular product listing ads (shopping ads) as well as display ads which include remarketing ads. Smart Shopping Ads will be shown to users on Google Search, Display, YouTube and Gmail networks.

Google automatically creates ads for you using your product feed like regular shopping campaigns, but Google’s advanced Machine Learning algorithm is a bonus. Machine Learning makes the ads much more effective. Not just that, Google also ensures that your ads appear in the places where they will have the best interactions. Automated bids mean that Google will set your bids to provide maximum conversion values.

Google will analyze user search queries and predict their intent to select which of your products to show when a user searches on Google Search. Similarly, Google creates personalized display ads based on user’s engagement with the content on your website when they are on Google Display Network.

What are the different reports available for Smart Shopping Campaigns?

Two of the most important metrics you should be looking at when you evaluate your Smart Shopping Campaign’s performance are Conversion Value and Return-On-Ad-Spend (ROAS).

Google also provides different predefined reports which include product attributes such as product type, product category, and custom labels (if you have created them). You can access predefined reports by reports icon>predefined reports>shopping.

Smart Shopping Campaigns - Predefined Reports

Smart Shopping Campaigns also have regular metrics like clicks, conversions, and impressions. They are available on the campaign page.

How to create good Smart Shopping Campaigns?

At one point or the other, we all tried to figure out ways to maximize the performance of our Google Ads campaigns. As Smart Shopping Campaigns are new, I suggest we first understand what practices experts have put forward.

Set the right budget:

As Smart Shopping Campaigns are a combination of regular shopping campaigns and remarketing campaigns, the decent budget would be the sum of your shopping and remarketing campaigns.

Look at your historical daily spend to find the budget that is appropriate. If you minimize your spend to experiment, the results might not be promising.

Note: Google will prioritize Smart Shopping Ads over regular shopping and remarketing ads.

Understand the bidding:

Smart Shopping Campaigns follow Maximize Conversion Value bidding.

Maximize Conversion Value is a new automated bidding strategy wherein Google tries to achieve the maximum total conversion value for your campaign while sticking to your budget. This bidding strategy is only available for Smart Shopping Campaigns currently.

Google uses your historical campaign information and the contextual signals during an auction to decide the best CPC bid. As this is all automated, your bids might vary for each auction, given, there is a chance that your conversion value might change. However, your monthly budget will always be considered.

If you are already using a Return-On-Investment goal for your campaigns, you can select Target Return-On-Ad-Spend (ROAS) for your Smart Shopping Campaigns. Target ROAS tells Google to optimize your bids so that they meet your targets.

Example: If your ROI goal is to make $5 for each $1 you spend, you can set your target ROAS at 500% in the Smart Shopping Campaign.

Note: When you set high target ROAS, Google might limit your spend, i.e., all your daily budget might not be spent; which means you might see a decline in your overall conversions (sales).

Pick the right products:

Smart Shopping Campaigns are product-based. The more products you add, the better chances you have to make these campaigns profitable. While this strategy to add as many products as possible is correct, there is a better approach. From your data pull out a list of products that have good conversion history. This approach helps you in maintaining good overall ROI.

Having many products is necessary because Dynamic Remarketing ads show multiple products. Having fewer products might lead to a repetition of products when showing these ads.

Rich resource requirements:

Google insists advertisers use high-quality resources for all the campaigns that involve images and logos. Similarly, Google once again reminds advertisers to follows the same practice when creating Smart Shopping Campaigns. The resources you need to submit are as follows:

Logo: You need to set a business logo in your Merchant Center. Chances are you have already done this when you first set up your merchant center account before creating your first shopping campaign. However, it is best if you can verify it and ensure it is a high-resolution image.

Images: Generic high-resolution business images are necessary as Google creates responsive remarketing ads for those audiences who have visited your website but they didn’t show any interest in particular products.

For viewers who have browsed specific product pages, Google pulls data from your product feed to create ads.

Note: Google Display Network and YouTube support Responsive Remarketing Ads.


Create Custom Parameters:

Google collects relevant insights about your web visitors and products they browse using Custom Parameters. Smart Shopping Campaigns need not necessarily have custom parameters. Google’s machine learning algorithm is capable of pulling data from your Google Analytics account and Global Site Tag to match products and user intent. However, Google recommends you set up custom parameters to improve campaign performance; especially if you are running retail (as opposed to wholesale) stores.

Evaluate your Campaigns:

It takes some time for machine learning algorithms to optimize your campaign performance. Google recommends waiting for 15 days before you can get an idea on how your bid strategy for your Smart Shopping Campaign is working.

In 15 days, the system will also give you enough relevant data for you to interpret and evaluate your campaign performance.

It is also essential for you to consider different external factors such as holidays, weekends, special events, changes in your product data feed (if any), and most importantly, the price benchmark (what your competitors are bidding).

The correct metric to consider when evaluating Smart Shopping Campaigns is the conversion value. Your click count will decline under maximize conversion value bid strategy. This is because Google’s algorithm will reduce bids for clicks that don’t have high conversion value. Google will bid higher for clicks that the system identifies to return higher conversion value. You will also notice a fluctuation in the cost-per-click under maximize conversion value bid strategy.

Google also declares that there might be a delay in conversions. This is because some clicks don’t convert right away. Depending on the conversion window that you set, there might be clicks that are as old as 90 days converting now. Learn more here.

Should you pause your old campaigns?

Smart Shopping Campaigns promise better results than regular shopping campaigns. That is evident from all that you have read above. However, now the question is whether you should pause your old campaigns and put all your eggs in one basket (smart shopping campaigns) or not.

Let us look at this objectively.

Google explicitly states that Smart Shopping Ads will be given preference over regular shopping ads if you have the same products in both the campaign types. This means that your regular shopping ads will enter the auction whenever they are eligible, but, your Smart Shopping Ads will outbid them. This is a classic case of internal competition. This might lead to instances where your bids will be higher than required.

Google’s machine learning algorithms will bid higher to get you a conversion whose value is high. You might be manually bidding for the same conversion as well using regular shopping campaigns.

Moreover, this might hamper the progress of machine learning algorithms. This situation could result in reduced performance of Smart Shopping Campaigns. Hence, I recommend you pause your old shopping campaigns. Alternatively, you can use different products (which you are not using in regular shopping campaigns) to test your Smart Shopping Campaigns first.

Setting Smart Shopping Campaigns is not very difficult either. Learn how to set up Smart Shopping Campaigns.


About the author

Mantha Sai Praveen

Content marketer by day, a poet by night.

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