We take a look at some of the most common Smart Shopping problems, including low impressions, inconsistent traffic levels, poor-performing products, seasonal products underperforming at key moments, low conversions from remarketing ads, and Smart Shopping underperforming against your standard Shopping campaigns.
Smart Shopping takes the campaign management headaches out of selling your products through Google Shopping. This automated campaign format uses machine learning to get your ads seen at the most profitable moments with the aim of maximising conversion value.
What you lose in control, Google aims to make up in speed and overall performance but the technology isn’t perfect. In this article, we take a look under the hood of Smart Shopping campaigns to see how they work and solve the most common problems you might run into.
What are Smart Shopping campaigns?
They are an automated campaign type that combines standard Shopping and remarketing campaigns with the aim of maximising conversions. Smart Shopping uses automated bidding and ad placement to promote your products across Google Search, the Display Network, YouTube and Gmail.
Key benefits of Smart Shopping campaigns
In Google’s own words:
- Effortless optimisation: Combine your existing product feed and assets into ads across a variety of networks. Google’s powerful systems test them and show the ones that perform best.
- Automatic bidding: Google automates ad placement and bidding for each ad in your campaigns, bidding for maximum conversion value at your given budget.
- Easy integration: Create and manage campaigns through an integrated third-party platform – like Shopify or WooCommerce – for seamless marketing and tracking.
You can also watch a nice little summary below:
As the video above explains, Smart Shopping campaigns use machine learning to “get the best performance and conversion value out of your campaigns” while taking the hard work out of campaign management.
Essentially, you set a maximum budget and an optional target return on ad spend (tROAS) and Google Ads decides how to allocate this budget to achieve the highest conversion value from your spend – and hit your tROAS, if you set one.
Google says advertisers using Smart Shopping campaigns drove over 20% more conversion value at a similar cost to those running standard Shopping campaigns.
Once you get past the Google marketing, the real benefit of Smart Shopping campaigns is that they can save you a lot of time. Standard Shopping campaigns involve a lot of work but you get more control and you should be able to achieve better performance, as long as you’re willing to put the work in.
Smart Shopping campaigns may get good enough results faster, though, and allow you to invest more resources elsewhere. You might also want to run Smart Shopping campaigns alongside standard Shopping campaigns to set a minimum benchmark and check that your standard campaigns are justifying the extra workload.
How do Smart Shopping campaigns work?
Like standard Shopping campaigns, Smart Shopping campaigns pull data in from your product feed to compile ads. However, with standard Shopping campaigns, you retain full control over bidding, ad spend and campaigns settings.
Smart Shopping is different in several ways:
- Uses automated bidding
- Automatically targets visitors with remarketing campaigns
- Uses machine learning to maximise performance (conversion value)
- Limited deliverability options (locations, placements, scheduling, etc.)
The core technology behind these campaigns is Google’s machine learning algorithm, which taps into the search engine’s vault of data to determine the most effective times, placements and bids to maximise conversion value.
Basically, Google compares your product information and campaign with millions of previous sessions to predict the best settings to achieve your goals, based on user behaviour and a range of factors, including:
- Search queries
- Product price
- Product category
- Audience lists
- and more
This involves a 14-day learning period for Google to test and verify the correct settings so you’ll need to wait at least two weeks before you assess the performance of Smart Shopping campaigns. In some cases, you may find performance peaks several weeks later.
Smart Shopping campaigns use maximise conversion value automated bidding and they also take your Target ROAS into account, if you set one.