The Benefits of Using Google’s Smart Shopping Campaigns

Spencer Soloway
March 25, 2019
Smart Shopping allows you to supplement your classic Google Shopping ads, which are shown based on a combination of on-page copy, Merchant Feed data, and more.

Google recently introduced a new campaign type in Google Ads called Smart Shopping. This essentially replaces much of what used to be accomplished in dynamic display campaigns and adds predictive results to Google Shopping, while peppering in the ability for these ads to be shown on YouTube and within Gmail.

What is it?

  1. Smart Shopping allows you to supplement your classic Google Shopping ads, which are shown based on a combination of on-page copy, Merchant Feed data, and keyword maintenance. Smart Shopping shows your results in the same part of the search engine results page (SERP) but based on predicted intent. This means that Google will show your Smart Shopping ads not just based on search queries, but based on what its algorithm knows about the searcher and their past purchasing behavior.
  2. Smart Shopping also shows your Display ads based on a combination of predictive behavior (finding lookalikes to people who have purchased from you in the past) and retargeting based on product pages viewed that didn’t result in purchases. In cases where a shopper didn’t look at a specific product, Smart Shopping defaults to a combination of copy and display imagery you provided—which it continuously and automatically tests.
  3. Similarly, Smart Shopping will show display and text ads in Gmail and YouTube, allowing you to enter into these marketplaces without the usual lift required to get these types of campaigns up and running.

Should I run these instead of classic campaigns?

In terms of dynamic display advertising, our answer at current is an unequivocal yes: these campaigns perform the same functions as dynamic display, but with the benefit of adding in Google’s Smart Shopping algorithm, leading to much shorter optimization periods and better results.

On the Google Shopping side, we suggest running these in tandem with your classic campaigns, as Smart Shopping takes a lot of control out of your hands, including:

  • Keyword Control: It’s harder to find new prospective audiences that might not exactly match up with lookalikes to your current customers.
  • Ad Scheduling: If you have data that shows most of your customers purchase between 2am and 3am, it can’t be incorporated within Smart Shopping.
  • Device Bid Adjustments: With Smart Shopping, you can’t decide you want to spend more on mobile than desktop, for example.
  • Hyper Location Targeting: In short, it’s impossible to target specific regions with Smart Shopping.

Additionally, Smart Shopping is most effective for advertising your entire product catalog. If you have different needs for different parts of your catalog (you want to use Shopping campaigns to push certain products over others), that’s something that’s still better served through classic Google Shopping.

It’s best to think of Smart Shopping as automated air coverage and Classic Shopping as allowing you to make tactical strikes.

How do I create a Smart Shopping campaign?

  1. Log in to your Google Ads account and create a new campaign.
  2. Select the Sales goal and click Continue.
  3. Select Shopping as your campaign type.
  4. Select your Merchant Center account and the country in which you are located.
  5. Make sure you have Smart Shopping campaign selected and click Continue.
  6. Name your campaign, set your bid strategy (we suggest either using Enhanced CPC or Target Return on Ad Spend) and budget as well as any other options on the next page.
  7. Select Product Shopping, name your ad group, and create an ad. You can preview the different ways your ads may show up in display in this step. Here’s what you’ll need:
  8. A short headline (25 characters or less)
  9. A long headline (90 characters or less)
  10. A description (90 characters or less)
  11. Your site’s final URL
  12. A “marketing image” that represents your store’s brand. This will generally show on the display network when user’s haven’t looked at certain products on your site yet.
  13. You’re all set!

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