Smart Shopping Campaigns: Detailed Guide & 6 Optimization Strategies

August 17, 2023

You’ve created a Google Merchant Account and uploaded your product feed. Product listings are optimized, images are high-quality, and you’re ready to make some sales. Next step? Using Google’s Smart Shopping Campaign. Google’s Smart Shopping Campaigns help you stand out in a sea of product listings by displaying your product ad to shoppers eager to buy the exact product you’re selling. And it does it all automatically, based on your previous selling history and conversions. All you need to do is choose your campaign goal. So, what exactly is Google Smart Shopping Campaign and how can you use them to grow your online store? Let’s find out.

GooglePPCShopping campaigns

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Smart Shopping Campaigns: Detailed Guide & 6 Optimization Strategies

What is a Google Smart Shopping Campaign?

You’ve got an online store with a lot of products. Or you’re an agency that handles PPC campaigns of multiple eCommerce businesses. Creating ad campaigns for large inventories can get exhausting super fast.
This is where Google Smart Shopping Campaigns come in.
Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, Google Smart Shopping Campaigns create visual shopping ads for your products. From images to product descriptions, it takes everything from your product feed automatically.
Unlike regular Google Shopping ads, Smart Shopping Campaign automates the bids and the ad placement. This ensures that it shows your products to the right shoppers at the right time and in the right place without the need for manual tweaking.
Google Smart Shopping Campaigns

How Google's AI algorithm runs smart shopping campaigns?

Marketers who use Google Smart Shopping Campaign see a 20% higher conversion value at a similar CPC.
Because it uses machine learning to decide who to show your ads to, where, and at what time based on your business data.
It monitors sales and conversions taking place on your website; who’s buying what from your online store. Using this granular data, it shows your products to the people most likely to buy from your store, thereby massively increasing the chances of conversions.
So the more sales activity (traffic, clicks, conversions) you have on your online store and the more comprehensive your historical data, the better results you can see via Smart Shopping Campaigns.
It also takes into account holiday performance trends, seasonal activities, and so on - to further optimize your campaigns.

How to get started with Smart Shopping Campaigns?

You’ll need to set up the following (if you haven't already) before you launch your first Smart Shopping Campaign:
A Google Ads account
A Merchant Center account with an updated product feed
Linking your Merchant Center and Google Ads accounts
Some must-haves to start your Smart Shopping Campaign journey,
Install a Google remarketing tag on your website
Have an audience of at least 100 users
There should be 20 conversions over the last 45 days across your existing Shopping campaigns for Google’s algorithm to work
And lastly, make sure you meet the requirements for Shopping campaigns and follow all the Shopping ads policies for a smooth ride.

5 Different types of ad placements in Smart Shopping Campaigns

Wondering where your ads will appear via Smart Shopping Campaigns?
Smart Shopping Campaigns ad placements
With Google Smart Shopping campaigns, you have access to a whole host of channels and millions of people.

Product ads within Google search networks

Similar to regular Google Shopping ads, your Smart Shopping Campaigns appear in Google search results in the Shopping section when customers search for a query that's relevant to your product.

Display remarketing ads in the Google Display Network

Google Display Network (GDN) is a group of more than 2 million websites, videos, and apps where your Smart Shopping Campaigns can appear.
They’re basically targeting people who’re already acquainted with your business and have visited (or shopped from) your online store previously.

Ads on YouTube

From pre-roll ads to display ads, within YouTube, there are several different places where Google might display your products for relevant YouTube users.

Gmail ads

Ever seen sponsored ads by online stores in the Promotions tab of your Gmail account? This is where Smart campaigns often land, too.
 Smart Shopping Campaigns in Gmail

Local inventory ads

Local inventory ads, as the name suggests, help bridge your online store with your physical brick-and-mortar stores.

Smart Shopping local inventory ads
Smart shopping campaigns help you promote your in-store inventory to online consumers who live in the vicinity of your store. Not only does this help boost your physical store’s presence but also increases foot traffic to your store.

6 ways to optimize your Smart Shopping Campaigns and boost sales

Research shows that shopping ads,
drive 76% of search ad spend for the eCommerce industry
currently generate 85.3% of all clicks on search ads and Google Shopping campaigns combined
So they’re definitely showing results.
But how can you further optimize your Google Smart Shopping Campaigns so you can scale it at a profitable ROAS?
Let’s find out.

Optimize and update your product feed regularly

Since Google AI algorithm uses your product feed information and images for ads, make sure your product information is always updated.
From product titles to descriptions, use specific keywords that customers are using to find your products.
Next, regularly update your feed regarding the inventory, business changes, and so on.
A product is not in stock? Update the product feed.
Launched a new limited edition product? Let Google know.
Offering shipping to a new state or location? Update.

Optimize your landing page

As customers click on your products through the campaigns, they’ll likely land on a landing page. Make sure the landing product page is highly optimized.
The stronger your product page is, the higher your conversions and sales.
Make sure it’s aesthetically pleasing, looks professional, contains targeted CTAs, has easy checkout, and most importantly, is mobile-friendly.

Leverage product categorization

Different products have different target audiences. While you may target women when selling baby clothes, you’ll target men when selling fishing supplies.
So the better your product categorization, the more targeted your Smart Shopping campaigns can be.
While Google automatically categorizes your products based on its evolving taxonomy, you can also manually set your product category by choosing the closest possible category to your product type.

Make use of holidays

The best way to end the year on a high?
Leveraging holidays.
End-of-year holidays always see a significant bump in sales.
From 2018 to 2021, online holiday season sales increased year over year by an average of over 17%.
Using Smart Shopping Campaigns during holidays
keep the following tips in mind to capitalize on this season.
Adjust budget accordingly: With an increase in sales activity during these days, you may want to increase your budget for Smart Shopping Campaigns, too. This will help increase the visibility and reach of your campaigns.
Play around with your bidding strategy: Increase bids on products that usually see an upsurge in sales during holidays, and vice versa. This is where your online store’s historical data comes in handy. Analyze past sales patterns and adjust bids accordingly.
Update products and optimize the feed: Offering sales on products during New Years? Update your feed so Google can create optimized ads accordingly. Use holiday-specific keywords in your product description and attribution to further optimize your campaigns and get more eyeballs on them during the holidays!
Keep a close eye on your product inventory: Plan ahead for the crazy holiday season and if you feel a product is running low or is out of stock, let Google know ASAP.
Create separate ad groups for holiday specials: Introducing gift bundles for holidays? Have limited edition products you’ve only introduced for New Years? Create smaller, more specific ad groups within your Smart Shopping Campaign to target these seasonal specials.

Play around with your target ROAS

Target ROAS is a bidding option with Smart Shopping Campaigns that allows you to set a specific amount of return on your ad investment.
For example, you'd like to earn $2 for every $1 you spend on Google ads. So you set your target ROAS 200% and add high-performing products to your feed. Google then automatically maximizes your cost per click to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.
The easiest way to get started with Target ROAS is to look at your historical data of the conversion values per cost of the campaigns and set your tROAS accordingly.
However, be realistic when setting your ROAS.
If your ROAS target is too high, Google might not be able to deliver the expected results, so the traffic will drastically decrease.
And if your ROAS target is too low, Google will push your ads to a lot more users and buy more expensive clicks because the expected cost per conversion is higher. But this could easily make your ads unprofitable.
So find the right balance by testing and tweaking.

Monitor your best-sellers

Monitor your top-performing products during different seasons (holiday seasons, seasons when sales are slow, and so on) and adjust your bids, budget, and ad placements accordingly.
Remove products that are not performing well to optimize your campaigns.
On top of that, it might be worthwhile to put products with really big differences in performance and/or margins into different campaigns. And then adjust the TargetROAS accordingly. With this, you maintain some level of control while still benefiting from automation.

Is Smart Shopping for you?

If you’d like to increase sales massively, then absolutely.
Who doesn’t want an automated ad campaign that does all the work for you and gets impressive results? But for Google Smart Shopping Campaigns to perform optimally, you need to give it time and enough products.
When setting up a Smart Shopping campaign, please allow the campaign to run for a minimum of 2 weeks.The more time you give it, the more data it can collect. The more data it collects, the better its results.
And, make sure that you put enough products in the campaign as it makes it harder for Google’s algorithm to optimize with few products to choose from.
If you want to get started with the Smart Shopping feature, feel free to login to your account or sign up for a free trial today. You will find the new feature directly within the Shopping Ads tab.
Click here to sign up for a free trial now!

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Jacob JørgensenTeam Lead Demand Generation

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