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Google Smart Shopping Campaigns – Pros & Cons

The new Smart Shopping campaigns in Google Ads are designed to simplify campaign management, maximise conversion value and expand advert reach. This campaign type combines standard product shopping ads and display ads (including re-marketing ads and similar audiences), using automated bidding and ad placement to promote a business and products across networks. So what are the pros and cons of these campaigns?

Google Ads Smart Shopping campaignsGoogle’s Smart Shopping campaigns trump the previous standard Shopping and Display re-marketing ones and are tailor-made for advertisers with smaller budgets and less time to strategically manoeuvre them. They feature Product Shopping ads, Local Inventory ads, and Display ads (including dynamic re-marketing and dynamic prospecting), which are eligible to appear on the Google Search Network, Display Network, YouTube and Gmail.

Google recommends that advertisers target all available products within one campaign. Their system will then automatically test different combinations of the images and text provided by the advertiser for each product to determine the ad with the highest conversion value.

Pros

Smart Shopping is incredibly easy to set up and it encompasses a number of different ad types, so that advertisers can quickly get exposure across both the Google Shopping and Display networks.

It’s a way for ecommerce sites to quickly start advertising on Google, regardless of whether the business has the time to set up a full-scale advertising strategy, or have the money to pay an expert to do so.

It utilises automated bidding strategies and machine learning, but this is not unique to Smart Shopping campaigns as these strategies are available to use in standard Shopping campaigns, as well as other campaign types (including Display and Search campaigns).

Cons

As with all of Google’s ‘smart’ formats, some granular control is sacrificed over campaign performance.

In terms of tracking sales attribution across different channels, it’s necessary to take Google’s word that combining standard shopping with Display re-marketing is in the best interest, as the available reports make it impossible to attribute results to one source or the other.

There is no access to search term information in these Smart Shopping campaigns so there is no way of including negatives for extremely low-intent search queries, or irrelevant terms, from the campaign even if there are impressions or clicks from them.

There’s also no way to target specific products or put more emphasis on one or another within a single campaign.

As search term data or audience data isn’t provided and placement data (for Display ads) is only indirectly provided, advertisers have no ability to set ROAS or CPA goals based on search intent, type of user, type of ad, or type of product, and cannot control exactly where their advertising spend is allocated.

Reporting on Smart Shopping Campaigns

The typical reports (clicks, conversions, etc.) are available at the campaign, ad group, product group, device and product levels within the Reports tab to see those segmented by specific product attributes like category, product type, and custom label.

A limitation however is that there isn’t a report based on placements, so it’s not possible to see which networks support better performance for Smart Shopping ads.

Therefore, its important not to compare Smart Shopping performance directly with the performance of old standard Shopping campaigns, as lower conversion rates (because Smart Shopping includes Display) may lead to thinking that new campaigns don’t stack up to the old ones.

So it’s important to compare Smart Shopping performance to the aggregate performance of both old standard Shopping campaigns and Display re-marketing campaigns.

Conclusion

Although Smart Shopping can reduce set-up time and simplify campaign management, it’s still necessary to monitor it closely to ensure the results achieved are at least comparable to aggregate standard Shopping campaigns and Display re-marketing campaigns. That’s because using those with automated bidding strategies can provide the same benefits of Smart Shopping while also adding additional tools, data insights and consequential control from that.

If you want to know more about how Smart Shopping campaigns could improve your business’s product sales, please get in touch.