An Introduction to Google Smart Shopping

As technology advances, we as internet users are more dependent on the retail services available online. As shopping habits are shifting towards the digital world, it is vital for advertisers and businesses to accommodate these habits or face losing out to the competition.

In 2018, global eCommerce sales reached 2.8 trillion U.S. dollars and are forecasted to reach 4.5 trillion U.S. dollars by 2021, showing how fast retail sales are shifting to digital [source: Statista]. In addition to this, for the first time ever, users now spend more time shopping online than in-store and more than half of purchases occurred online. It is also important to consider those customers on 61% of online purchases were made on mobile, 27% increase year-on-year. [source: Google/Ipsos]

Graph to show the increasing need for e-commerce

[Image source: Shopify]

As technology advances, consumers are becoming more demanding, expecting their online shopping experience to be more helpful than ever and making the advertiser’s job more and more difficult.


What are Smart Shopping Campaigns?

Google’s Smart Shopping Campaigns combine traditional shopping campaign technology with Google’s dynamic remarketing in an attempt to maximise sales across the Google network (Search, Search Partners, display network, YouTube and Gmail). To begin this, all you need is a working shopping feed and an active remarketing tag; your budget will be optimised across the networks.

Unlike traditional Google Shopping campaigns, these campaigns combine Google Insight data (search term data, seasonality and more) with retailer insights (audience lists, sales and more). This allows Google to determine patterns in online conversion data. At the time of the auction, smart shopping campaigns use all of these insights to decide whether the user is likely to provide high value to your business and which product is the right product to show to maximise your conversion value.

The other benefit Smart Shopping campaigns have is that they are able to show more relevant ads with a higher overall reach, as the number of placements is significantly higher than that of traditional shopping campaigns.

Smart Shopping has been up and running for quite a while now, and we have seen from our own data, that on average, these campaigns perform better than standard shopping campaigns, with advertisers typically seeing more than a 30% increase in conversion value.


Best Practices

Although these campaigns use a lot of Google’s automation technology to generate the best results possible, there are still tasks we as advertisers have to carry out to ensure the technology has enough information to target the right customers at the right time. So, below are a few things that you should keep on top of whilst managing a Google Smart Shopping campaign:

  1. A well-optimised shopping feed is pivotal to success in Google Shopping and even more so with Google Smart Shopping, as we are unable to manage the search terms. This means ensuring as many applicable fields for the products in your data feed are accurately filled, with unique titles and detailed descriptions. We have a comprehensive blog that covers the importance of a well-optimised feed and also how to go about implementing it.
  2. Test bidding strategies! Bidding strategies are not one-type-suits-all; each advertiser will experience different results across different bidding strategies. So, it is important to find what works best for you through experimenting.
  3. Allow time for learning when using automated bidding. The longer you allow a bidding method to run, the more information/data it has to make informed decisions, to help deliver better results.
  4. Google often suggests setting an unlimited budget to ensure you are reaching all prospective customers. We fully understand that this is often not a feasible option, especially with marketing budgets, however, we do recommend injecting more into your Google Shopping campaign if you are seeing a return on ad spend (ROAS) that you are happy with.

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