What are Google Smart Shopping Campaigns? 

Ever wondered about the possibility of automated ads? Something that won’t need you to filter the audience or set a dedicated bandwidth to generate results?

If yes, then Google’s Smart Shopping Campaign might be the thing for you. It is a relatively new idea that combines the aspects of machine learning to optimize campaigns so that they are displayed in the right place and at the right time. 

Google Smart Shopping campaigns: What Are They & When to Use Them?

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To achieve this stint, the Google Smart Shopping campaign uses google ads and display ads to showcase it across Google’s display network like YouTube, Gmail, and others.

Smart Shopping pulls product creativity from your existing product feed over your Google Merchant Center account. The pulled-out content is later utilized by Google to serve the most relevant combinations of your visual and textual assets. 

Smart Shopping helps businesses with smaller bandwidth in generating product listing ads with minimal assets and similar inputs.

However, there’s a catch in the new kingpin of automated shopping campaigns, Google Smart Shopping campaigns are 100% automated and monitored by Google. 

But is Smart Shopping the right choice for advertisers?

The idea of a 100% automation campaign where there are no targets, audiences, or placements to be set might seem confusing. However, that is not the case with Google Smart Shopping Campaigns. 

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The system uses direct integrations with Google’s database, utilizing the data of shopping campaigns across all of Google’s placements and ad types.

The chances of conversions over automated campaigns are higher because these display ads are primarily used as remarketing ads. 

Moreover, that’s not even the best part; Google Smart Shopping campaigns allow buyers to pay only for their conversions.

For example, if the user had previously visited an online shoe store, that specific search data will be used by the product feed to create a relevant ad.

Why Do You Need a Google Smart Shopping campaign

1. Broaden your reach

Smart Shopping Campaign allows Google to showcase your products over several platforms where customers search or consume content. This way, Google Smart Shopping opens new avenues for your business. 

2. Drive traffic and sales

Google Smart Shopping campaigns help you drive more traffic and generate sales by taking your products to the customers, both online and in-store.

3. Uncover insights and trends

Similar to traditional shopping campaigns, Google Smart Shopping campaigns show you insights on what sells. The different analytical tools help you understand the various verticals of your business.

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Difference Between Smart Shopping and Standard Shopping Campaigns 

“Automation is the key!”.

The most striking difference between Smart Shopping and Standard Shopping campaigns lies in their automation. 

Google Smart Shopping campaigns automate the entire process of ad placements, ranging from bidding to targeting and placements of ads, running on almost zero maintenance.

On the other hand, a standard smart shopping campaign is fully optimizable, giving you control over the entire campaign. Smart shopping campaigns leave ad placement, bidding, and targeting of the campaign at your responsibility.

However, the list doesn’t end here. There are some other crucial aspects between smart shopping campaigns and standard shopping campaigns, the difference of which are given in the table below: 

Smart Shopping Campaign vs. Standard Shopping Campaign

NatureGoogle Smart ShoppingGoogle Shopping Ads
Automation Quick and highly automatedTime-consuming and fully optimized
ComplexityEasy to set upManual and Complex setup
Time ConsumptionFully AutomatedVery time-consuming
Desired ReachLimited device and location targetingFull device and location targeting control
Network SwitchingExposure in many networksPossibility to choose networks
Use of keywordsNo possibility to use negative keywordsPossibility to use negative keywords
BiddingAutomated bid adjustmentsManual bid adjustments
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How do Google Smart Shopping Campaigns work? 

Google uses more than one vertical to make its smart shopping campaign a success. This campaign subtype incorporates machine learning to automate the entire marketing process. This way, Google gathers insights from its database and potential retailers. 

Further, the platform creates automated ads by utilizing the existing product feed and assets from your Google Merchant Center. 

The process of automated ads involves creating and placing your ads on platforms where they are highly relevant. Moreover, under the automation of ads, the ad bids are optimized to maximize the conversion value for any given budget.

Let’s see an example of an automated ad placement:

A random user searches for a product over Google’s search box. Later, the algorithm used by the Google Smart Shopping campaign extracts the user’s queries and uses the predicted intent to determine the products that are relevant to the user’s feed. 

Moreover, on their Display Network, the remarketing ads are later personalized by analyzing the user engagement over your website.

The primary goal of Google smart campaigns is to maximize revenue or meet the ROAS (Return On Ad Spend). The process used by the search engine to put your ads is 100% automated. As said earlier, the right time, place, and product to show are based on the viewer’s discretion to convert.

Moreover, to ensure maximum conversions, Google allows users to create up to 100 enabled or paused Smart Shopping campaigns in their Google Ads account. 

Yes, the steps are somewhat similar to standard Shopping and standard dynamic display ads. However, the machine learning algorithm and automation are what sets Google’s smart shopping campaigns apart.

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Requirements for Smart shopping Campaigns 

The thought of enjoying an autopilot conversion experience sounds tempting, right?

However, there are a few things that you need to make sure of before setting up such automated campaigns. Listed below are some of the minimum requirements before you can start with Google Smart Shopping Campaigns.

  • Users need to create a Google Merchant Centre account.
  • Product data feed that is uploaded onto the Merchant Centre account.
  • Access to Google Ads account.
  • Before beginning a campaign, it is essential to set up conversion tracking mode and add the dedicated transaction-specific values.
  • Ensure that Google remarketing tags are installed over your website.
  • Secure a minimum of 100 users who have tagged your website, allowing you to enable dynamic remarketing.
  • A minimum of 20 conversions over the previous 45 days across the desired Shopping campaigns that exist.
  • A suitable banner image to create brand awareness.
  • Be able to meet the demands of your shopping campaigns
  • Follow Shopping ads policies.
  • Make sure that you are following the policy on Personalized Advertising.

Before you initiate the smart shopping campaign, make sure that you have met all the desired requirements in the past 30 days. 

Checklist for Smart shopping Campaigns 

Setting up your Smart Shopping campaign is mostly a matter of clicks; however, things might get a little confusing if you do it for the first time.

To help you out with the same, we have come up with a set of checklists that you could follow to eliminate trial and error chances.  

  1. Set up a new campaign in Google Ads.
  2. Select your campaign goals (Sales, Website Traffic, Leads, Awareness, etc. )
  3. Select the ‘Shopping as a Campaign’ option.
  4. Click “Smart Shopping campaign” under the Campaign subsection.
  5. Add your budget values (the maximum amount that you can spend)
  6. Automate the bidding process by clicking on ‘Smart bidding target.’
  7. Fill in the necessary details like name, uploading the product feed, and selecting a country.
  8. Finalize your campaign options by saving them.

Once you have finalized your campaign options, remember to deactivate your regular campaign.

We suggest that because if you are running campaigns on the same product over the Google Smart Shopping campaign and Google Shopping campaign, the search engine will prefer ads from the Smart Shopping campaign to display to the potential customers. 

This way, you lose the capital spent on advertising your product over the Google Shopping campaign.

Shopify Google Shopping Feed

How to Create Google Smart Shopping Campaigns? 

If you are experienced with the standard Google Shopping campaign, setting up a Smart Shopping campaign can be relatively easy for you. If not, listed below is a detailed step to create your first Google smart shopping campaign.

Step 1 – Configuration

Once you reach the Google Ads interface, click ‘create a new campaign,’ followed by ‘Sales’ as your objective. 

Once you have selected the sales option as your objective, you get options to set your campaign type. Click campaign type (Shopping), fill up your Google Merchant Center account ID, and country of sales, and check the option ‘Smart Shopping campaign’ out of the two given options.

Step 2 – Budget and bidding strategy

Once you have configured your ID, you need to set up your budget and select a bidding strategy. Remember, you also need to develop ROAS (Rate On Ad Spend) that you want to target.

Step 3 – Specify your product groups

In the third step of setting up your campaign, you need to select the product group you want to advertise. Users are provided with the option to choose either all products from your feed or go with specific items. 

Note: Google advises users to create only one smart shopping campaign to group products of a similar category.

Step 4 – Upload your assets

In the final phase of setting up your account, you need to add assets to your campaign. Assets in the google campaign include visuals, two headlines, and a description. 

Remember, the assets you choose are automatically combined and turned into different responsive ad variants, allowing Google to display relevant ads on various platforms. Further, assets will also be combined to display it to visitors of your website who didn’t show any interest in a product. 

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How to Optimize Google Smart Shopping Campaigns

Listed below are some ways to optimize your Google Smart Shopping campaigns for better relevancy of your ads.

1. Conversion tracking

Conversion tracking allows you to track your lead conversions to a successful sale over your website. To optimize your campaign, the preferred source of conversion should be switched to online purchases.

2. Remarketing tagging

As discussed earlier, remarketing ads are the essence of Smart Shopping campaigns. Therefore, for improved reach and better traffic on your websites, custom parameters should be allowed. 

These parameters allow Google to pry data on the interests of your visitors. When the parameters are custom set, you have better chances of new leads and improved conversions. 

Whereas, when the custom parameters are not set, Google starts pulling insights from your relevant Google platforms like Analytics or your landing pages and other related platforms.

3. Dedicated Budget

One of the best ways to optimize your Google Smart Shopping campaign is to keep a similar budget to your standard and automated campaigns. Using a combination of your daily credit spend over both campaigns allows better conversions. 

It is always advisable that you don’t run campaigns for similar products over automated and standard campaigns. In that case, Google will prefer Smart Shopping over Standard Shopping to display remarketing ads to potential customers, draining you over credit spend.

4. Products

Another effective way to ensure maximum results from your campaigns is by adding the maximum limit (100) of products that are ‘applicable’ in the campaign. 

The algorithms in Google Smart Shopping Campaigns use dynamic remarketing for displaying ads. Therefore, the more products from a single campaign, the better the results. 

Moreover, it is also advisable to keep the products that the Merchant Center has approved and is ready to provide. 

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Google smart shopping campaigns FAQ 

How do smart shopping campaigns work?

Google makes use of machine learning in its Smart Shopping Campaigns. These automated campaigns use automated ads by utilizing the existing product feed and assets from your Google Merchant Center. 

Automated ad creation and placement refer to ads that are automatically displayed in the right place and at the right time using algorithms. The Smart Shopping campaign focuses on displaying highly relevant ads over Google-based third-party platforms like Gmail and YouTube.

The primary goal of Google smart campaigns is to maximize revenue or meet the ROAS (Return On Ad Spend).

How and where will my smart shopping ads appear?

Google Smart Campaigns tend to provide their customers with exposure to different channels. Once you have set up your campaign under CSS, the algorithm starts showing your ads over general search results pages and all the relevant pages with maximum chances of conversion or potential sales.

For example, Mr.A searched for boots (a product you have set up a campaign for) and showed interest in your product. However, no conversions take place. What happens now is Google Smart Shopping Ads start showing your ad content to Mr.A overall relevant platforms where they search or consume content. 

What are the best practices for Smart Shopping campaigns?

Listed below are some of the tried and tested ways for the best Smart Shopping Campaigns:

  • Begin by targeting a specific product group, allowing the other campaigns to run at an average pace and maintain a seamless flow of Google Ads activities and performance.
  • Optimize for new customers and try refreshing your feeds to set a separate conversion value for the potential customers.
  •  Make sure you check the “sales to new and existing customers,” and “store visits” options while setting up your campaign.
  • Evaluate your performance at 15 days intervals to get a report on the performance and conversions and edit your campaign accordingly.
  • Think strategically before finalizing your bidding strategy.

What is a smart shopping campaign?

Smart Shopping Campaign is Google’s new way of marketing. SSC tends to provide users with an automated marketing experience to maximize conversion values. It provides businesses with new avenues to expand their reach with Smart Shopping campaigns.

This campaign subtype incorporates machine learning to automate the entire marketing process. This way, Google gathers insights from Google and retailers. 

Can I have standard shopping campaigns along with a smart shopping campaign?

Yes, you can run both types of shopping campaigns over the Google platform: Standard and Smart. You can smoothly run both Standard and Smart Shopping campaigns to get the maximum return on investment.

However, once you have finalized your campaign options, remember to deactivate your regular campaign. 

We suggest that because if you are running campaigns on the same product over the Google Smart Shopping campaign and Google Shopping campaign, the search engine will prefer ads from the Smart Shopping campaign to display to the potential customers. 

How do you optimize smart shopping campaigns?

Listed below are some ways to optimize your Google Smart Shopping campaigns for better relevancy of your ads.

  • Conversion tracking – To optimize your campaign, the preferred source of conversion should be switched to online purchases.
  • Remarketing tagging – To optimize your SCC for better coverage and performance, you should always select your preferred custom parameters. This way, Google allows you to have better chances of conversions.
  • Setting up a budget – Maintaining a similar overall budget over your standard and automated campaigns is a smart optimization move. Using a combined historical daily spend of both campaigns allows better conversions.
  • Products – Another effective way to get the most out of your campaign is by adding the maximum limit of products that are ‘applicable’ to your campaign.

What are the top features of Google smart shopping?

Listed below are some of the top features of Google Smart Shopping Campaigns:

  • Broaden your reach: Smart Shopping Campaign allows Google to showcase your products over several platforms where customers search or consume content. This way, Google Smart Shopping opens new avenues for your business. 
  • Drive traffic and sales: Google Smart Shopping campaigns help you drive more traffic and generate sales by taking your products to the customers, both online and in-store.
  • Uncover insights and trends: Similar to traditional shopping campaigns, Google Smart Shopping campaigns show you insights on what sells. The different analytical tools help you understand the different verticals of your business.

While these were some of the verticals that SSC helps you in, automation of the entire marketing process remains the most favorable feature.

Shopify Google Shopping Feed

Final Thoughts

Google Smart Shopping campaigns are a new way of marketing. This method of automated marketing via Google’s algorithms has changed the scenario for the better. 

With SSC, customers can easily set up their campaigns without worrying about the different analytical measures that come to play when planning for a standard shopping campaign. Moreover, when combined, these two tools bring the best in both sales and conversions.

Google Smart Shopping campaigns are an excellent solution for

  • User’s who find it hard to run a standard campaign on their own
  • Debutants in Google Ads 
  • Small businesses that need the right exposure
  • Retailers that have limited a limited knowledge and experience of Google Ads

Similarly, Smart Shopping also means assigning full control of your campaign to Google. Therefore, it might not be the ideal campaign tool if:

  • Data collection is important to you
  • Want to control your advertisement analytics and change it alternatively.
  • Trying to advertise to new customers
  • Under the vents of remarketing or trying to capture new users

Further readings on Google Feed 

  1. How to Troubleshoot your Google Shopping feed?
  2. What are the Requirements for the Google Shopping feed?
  3. Tips to Optimize Your Google Shopping Feed
  4. How to create the correct Feed for multiple countries?
  5. Google Shopping Feed Guide.
Author

Ramachandiran Karthik is the Digital Marketing Manager at Adnabu. He loves to help Shopify stores grow their business with Google Shopping & Google Ads, using advanced features like multi-currencies, multi-languages, Metafields. Karthik has a lot of experience in digital marketing and enjoys exploring new ways to make advertising more effective for both advertisers and customers.