Leveraging Google’s Smart Shopping for More Automation and Conversions

Google Shopping is an essential strategy for brands and retailers. It’s also one of the most time-consuming. Or at least it was, until Smart Shopping was introduced. 

If you haven’t started to tap into Google’s options for automated shopping campaigns, now’s the time. Early adopters have been known to unlock 20% more conversion value with these ads — while significantly reducing the amount of manual effort involved. Simply enter your goals and budget, and Smart Shopping will automate bids and ad placements to ensure your products are visible across the Google ecosystem, from Search and Display to Gmail, YouTube and more.

How Smart Shopping Works

When you choose to use Smart Shopping options, Google will pull from a full range of data — search queries, locations, devices, times of day and more — to determine intent and show the right ad to the right consumer, at just the right time.

It means you can create one feed and campaign to serve across a wide variety of ad networks, and have your budget automatically allocated and optimized to maximize conversion value.

Shopping Best Practices

Setup Best Practices

Since Smart Shopping relies on data to show the best ad for a particular auction, Google recommends one campaign per return goal. The larger the campaign, the more data that can be collected — and the more accurately you’ll be able to predict a successful conversion. For this reason, it’s a good idea to avoid breaking out campaigns unnecessarily.

As with automated bidding, you should also resist the urge to make any drastic changes early on. Instead, give Google enough time to go through a learning period so you can have the best chance possible at conversions after the first two to four weeks.

That’s not to say that Smart Shopping doesn’t have some obstacles. Early adopters have raised concerns over a lack of control on where ads appear and an inability to filter out unwanted traffic. When in doubt, work with an experienced consultant or Google representative to implement negative keywords.

And if you want to scale up efforts for a promotion, be sure to populate your sale prices in advance. You can also use the sale_price_effective_date tag to let Google know it should anticipate increased traffic and conversions.

Optimization Best Practices

Using Google’s many testing, planning and reporting features can help take your campaigns to the next level.

  • Shoppable Image Ads — Perfect for merchants that want to highlight apparel, home or beauty products with lifestyle imagery, this option lets you showcase multiple products within a single ad unit that appears in Google Images results.
  • 1-Click Target ROAS Experiments — For brands and retailers that are still on the fence about using an automated bidding solution, this A/B testing tool is a helpful option. It lets you run your original campaign alongside an experimental campaign to see how performance may improve using the latter. 
  • The Performance Planner — This feature lets you implement incremental budget changes and forecast the conversion volume that would be generated as a result. It’s a great way to create a budget plan and see how different campaign adjustments might impact key metrics, such as overall traffic and return.
  • Customer Acquisitions — By selecting this new conversion goal within your Smart Shopping campaign, you can tell Google to find first-time shoppers who are likely to convert — a segment often overlooked by an algorithm that’s programmed to find high-converting consumers based on past purchases and return visits.
  • Conversions With Cart Data — In addition to reporting which product groups drive product sales, conversions with cart data reporting gives you additional insight into metrics such as cart size, cart assortment and profit. This transparency can be especially helpful for advertisers that run shopping campaigns with partners. You’ll see not only which products led to conversions, but also what items were actually purchased after the ad was clicked.

Want to know more about how to optimize your presence on Google, check out our eBook: The New Pillars of Google Success.