Optimize smart shopping campaigns: manage turnover and margin


Smart Shopping is a fairly new campaign type within Google Ads, with the goal to simplify advertising products on Google Ads platkhung by using automated bidding and ad placement.

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Smart Shopping campaigns feature “both Product Shopping ads và display ads (including remarketing ads và Similar Audiences), which are eligible lớn appear on the Google Search Network, Display Network, YouTube, and Gmail.”

Smart Shopping gives businesses with smaller bandwidth the ability lớn generate product listing ads with minimal assets and input required.

But is Smart Shopping always the right choice for advertisers?

Here’s a breakdown of Smart Shopping Campaign performance data, the pros và cons, and when advertisers should consider using standard Shopping và Display campaigns instead.

Wait, Smart Shopping Isn’t Just Shopping Ads?

‘Smart Shopping’ is really a combination of shopping (hàng hóa listing) ads and display ads that spans across Google’s display network, which includes third-tiệc nhỏ websites, YouTube, và G-Mail placements.

These display ads primarily are used as resale ads. The total data reported on a ‘Smart Shopping’ campaign encompasses the performance across all of these placements and ad types.

Source: Google

Across all ‘Smart Shopping’ campaigns that we manage, Display placements accounted for:

9.63% of clicks7.43% of conversions

Results varied strongly by client, & in one case we found clicks khổng lồ account for more than 97% from display ads.

The median for the display portion was 27.91% of clicks and 4.79% of conversions per tài khoản.

For context, this data was pulled from a 30-day window, & from a total of 24 accounts with varying amounts of traffic were included.

How Does Smart Shopping Work?

Smart Shopping creates hàng hóa ads by utilizing a product feed that advertisers submit through the Google Merchant Center. This process is the same as standard shopping và standard dynamic display ads.

These campaigns are incredibly easy to set up in the Google Ads interface, with advertisers only needing lớn phối a budget, an optional Target ROAS goal, & supply a bit of creative sầu for the display ad portion in order to get started.

Success Story: “Burke Decor boosts results with Smart Shopping campaigns“

Smart Shopping campaigns use ‘maximize conversion value’ automated bidding which will also take inkhổng lồ trương mục your Target ROAS goal if provided.

What Is Smart Bidding?

For context, automated, or ‘smart’ bidding strategies (this terminology is interchangeable) use machine learning and “a wide range of auction-time signals including device, location, time of day, remarketing menu, language, and operating system to capture the quality context of every search” lớn automatically set bids based on the likelihood of a tìm kiếm term converting.


Some automated bidding strategies, such as Target ROAS & Target CPA, are available for advertisers khổng lồ utilize within their standard shopping campaigns (as well as some of the other chiến dịch types).

“Smart bidding strategies have sầu become much more sophisticated over the years. We’ve sầu seen performance improve sầu và know that these bidding options will onlybecome more important in 2019, so it’s time to start using them to your advantage and get comfortable with them now rather than later.”


-Josh Brisco, VP.. of Growth Media at web5s.com.vn

The Benefits of Smart Shopping

The main benefit that is chất lượng to ‘Smart Shopping’ is that it is incredibly easy khổng lồ set up và encompasses a number of ad types.

Therefore, advertisers can quickly get exposure across both the Google Shopping and Display networks.

For those who bởi vì not have the time to mix up a full-scale advertising strategy, nor have sầu the money khổng lồ pay an expert khổng lồ bởi vì so, this is a way to easily start advertising on Google without much hassle.

There are some other obvious benefits, such as being able khổng lồ utilize automated bidding strategies và machine learning, but this is not chất lượng khổng lồ Smart Shopping campaigns as these strategies are available lớn use in standard Shopping campaigns as well as some of the other chiến dịch types (including Display và Search campaigns).

Source: Google

The Disadvantages of Smart Shopping

For advertisers that desire full control over their advertising efforts, data collection, and/or the ability to adjust their advertising strategy based on audience data, tìm kiếm terms data, sản phẩm information — Smart Shopping may be less than ideal.

Here’s why.

Smart Shopping campaigns provide no tìm kiếm term data và no audience data, while it also only indirectly provides placement data (for display ads), individual sản phẩm performance.

The laông chồng of data means that advertisers have sầu no ability to phối ROAS or CPA goals based on search intent, type of user, type of ad, or type of hàng hóa, & cannot control where their advertising spend is allocated lớn.

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Not only can advertisers not control their advertising approach based on these factors, but they also can’t collect this data from what is reported from the campaign, since the only metrics reported within the campaign are the best spover and conversion metrics.

Smart Shopping Campaigns may not be the best choice if:

You are advertising to new customers

You’re rekinh doanh or trying lớn capture new users

You want lớn change your goals based on real-time data

You want to lớn allocate unique budgets to lớn shopping efforts vs retargeting efforts

Collecting search term data is important to you

You have sầu terms you don’t want to advertise towards (negative keywords)

Want khổng lồ control what creative you advertise & who you advertise to

There are also several other use cases in which ‘Smart Shopping’ may be incompatible with an advertising strategy.

Smart Shopping necessitates having accurate conversion tracking và does not factor in any value that might occur offline, so any tài khoản that does not have conversion tracking properly thiết đặt, or has a significant amount of business that converts over the phone/offline, this campaign strategy will not be compatible.

How Should We Advertise Instead?

Smart Shopping is a good option for new advertisers or those who bởi not have sầu the time or money to lớn invest in an advanced advertising strategy, more advanced advertisers will benefit from the control và additional levers of optimization that can be pulled by using non-Smart Shopping campaigns.

The benefits of Smart Shopping và specifically automated bidding can be utilized in standard Shopping and Display campaigns, while all the benefits of data collection, quality goal setting, and having full control over your advertising efforts that standard shopping và display campaigns provide are too important to thua.


Utilizing advanced strategies, such as an ISO Strategy (which allows us khổng lồ control bidding based on the type of shopping tìm kiếm term), targeting in-depth audiences within both display campaigns and shopping campaigns (using RLSAs), và setting specific budgets và goals based on where in the funnel a user, is the suggested approach when advertising shopping & display ads.

Combining this with automated bidding strategies (such as Target ROAS or Target CPA) is the best way to leverage the benefits of machine learning of Google while also maintaining control of your advertising.

Some Use-Cases of Using Smart Shopping Effectively

Some of the Smart Shopping campaigns we’ve sầu run have sầu achieved client goals and proved to lớn be more effective than standard Shopping ads. Most of these instances involve segmenting products across multiple Smart Shopping campaigns, allowing us to set separate goals & products for each subset of products.

Here are some examples of segments we used for success:

The recent performance of each product, which we typically segment inlớn four groups – products that are top performers (aka ‘winners’), products we want lớn increase visibility for, products that have sầu performed poorly & we want lớn suppress, và then everything else- we have sầu coined this the WISE strategy.

The price point of a product & whether it’s competitive compared khổng lồ the market, which allows us to focus spend on products we know to be most competitive in the market at that point in time.

The relative margin of each product/brand/sản phẩm type, so that we can mix chất lượng ROAS goals và budget for each grouping.

Although we have seen varying success of these types of campaigns depending on the performance, we have seen in some cases that when using the WISE strategy, our KPIs did improve compared to standard shopping accounts.

For example, in one instance when we were trying to lớn improve the efficiency of an account, we saw WISE help cut costs by more than một nửa, while reported conversion revenue only saw a 15% decline. In another example in which we wanted to push for more volume, we saw costs actually decrease by 1% while revenue increased by more than 33%. And in one final example, in an trương mục in which a br& was getting 0 traffic regardless of how high we manually set a bid, we were able lớn increase visibility on this br& khổng lồ a point where it recently drove sầu 11% of total sales within all shopping campaigns.

Now as mentioned previously, these comparisons are not fully apples-apples as standard shopping does not technically carry the same inventory as Smart Shopping accounts, but the results still did result in overall lifts that were notable.

Final Thoughts

Smart Shopping is an effective tool to help advertisers get started advertising their products on Google.

With this said, if you have the time, expertise, & capabilities khổng lồ run a full-scale advertising approach with Google Ads, then there are better options available.

Using standard Shopping và Display campaigns with automated bidding strategies can provide the same benefits of Smart Shopping while also adding additional tools and data insights.

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Want to lớn learn more?

The Complete Google Shopping Ads Guide For Retailers 2019

The 2019 Google Ads Guide

Google’s Responsive Display Ads | How To Use & Best Practices

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2019 và has been updated for freshness, accuracy, & comprehensiveness.