What is a smart shopping campaign? Smart shopping campaigns in the arsenal of Google Ads appeared relatively recently and have already managed to win both supporters and opponents. How do smart shopping campaigns work? The essence of the google smart shopping campaigns tool is to maximize the automation of the process of setting up and launching ads, helping to avoid routine processes and significantly saving the time of the PPC specialist.
On the one hand, it certainly sounds great. There is no longer a need to delve into a huge amount of theory, minimizing the risks of screwing up the settings of smart shopping strategies or missing something altogether. On the other hand, the amount of input for the campaign is reduced to a frightening minimum, which can affect the result. In this article, we will look at whether smart shopping campaigns are so good and who they are suitable for.
WHAT ARE THE TOP FEATURES OF GOOGLE SMART SHOPPING? WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND
SMART Shopping is a collection of product and display ads. Thus, ads are displayed not only in search results, but also in the Google display network, including third-party sites: YouTube and Gmail. Display ads are used here to remarket products to audience potentially interested in it.
Before launching this type of campaign, you need to make sure that there are 20 conversions in the current shopping campaigns (in total) in the last 45 days. Otherwise, the newly created campaign will not have enough data to analyze and its performance is likely to be unsatisfactory.
SMART Shopping uses machine learning to optimize campaigns for time and efficiency. This means that it is completely impossible to track the search queries for which the ads were displayed. Adding negative keywords here, respectively, is not possible.
Another important thing is that there is no control over the rates here either. By default, only one bid strategy is available: maximum conversion value. You can only set the ROAS that the campaign will focus on, or leave this field empty altogether.
LAUNCHING SMART SHOPPING: ALL THE PROS AND CONS
For some reason many people are sure that if the campaign is “smart”, then it should bring significant results. This judgment is sometimes wrong. To make a final decision in favor or against the launch of SMART Shopping, let’s first discuss all the advantages and disadvantages of this type of campaign.
WHAT ARE THE MOST EFFECTIVE SMART MARKETING CAMPAIGNS?
Saving time due to the simplicity of the settings. The speed of creating a campaign is a big plus for a PPC specialist, while entrepreneurs who independently launch ads have already appreciated the lack of complex settings. All you need to do to set up smart shopping campaign is to choose the average daily budget (you can specify ROAS), select the products to be advertised, write short ads and add product images (for remarketing).
Reduced cost-per-click. Let’s say you found out from the article how to create smart shopping campaign and launched it having sufficient number of conversions in your account over the past 45 days. Then, during the training phase, a smart shopping campaign will display a general pattern among users who have already purchased your product and will display ads for the most relevant queries, while reducing the cost of a click.
One budget — 4 advertising channels. This item is for entrepreneurs who do not yet have large advertising budgets, but need to start somewhere. As mentioned above, SMART Shopping ads are displayed in search, display networks, as well as YouTube and Gmail, effectively distributing the budget between them. This “versatility” significantly reduces advertising costs, eliminating the need to create additional advertising campaigns (the same remarketing), investing your money and time in them.
Minimum of management. Keeping smart shopping campaigns afloat is easy enough. In general, all you need is to monitor the results of each specific product and disable it if necessary, add and remove images in ads. Machine learning will do the rest.
DISADVANTAGES OF SMART SHOPPING CAMPAIGNS
The absence of a report on key words. You should never exclude the possibility that ads are served for non-targeted queries. Looking at the example of ordinary shopping campaigns, the situation may even be as follows: advertising has been running for many months and it seems to you that most of the irrelevant queries have long been in the list of negative keywords, but suddenly there is a surge in traffic and an increase in costs. Of course, there is no increase in the number of sales. You go to the search query report and see that your ads have recently started being served for a large number of irrelevant queries. Then with this in mind, you can take all the necessary measures.
When working with smart shopping campaigns, you can not only view the above-mentioned report, but also add negative keywords (if you already have a list from previous campaigns). All that is in our hands is to add the most detailed product descriptions to the data feed, using keywords.
“No” to manual bid assignment. Depending on the niche and the cost of the goods, bid management can be extremely important. In this scenario, it becomes impossible to redistribute the budget in favor of the most marginal products and bestsellers, which bring the largest share of profit. This can result in wasting money, or selling low-margin products, the costs of which simply will not pay off.
Smart shopping campaigns have a hard time working with a low-cost segment, because even with a low cost-per-click and a large number of sales, advertising costs can significantly exceed revenue. Think twice before launching whether you are willing to sacrifice bid management in favor of machine learning.
Uncertainty. In addition to the fact that it is quite difficult to predict the result of a smart shopping campaign, its effectiveness is almost beyond your control. Due to the minimal number of settings and available reports, optimization opportunities also tend to zero. It turns out that the campaign either works or it doesn’t, and you need to accept it.
WHEN SHOULD I LAUNCH SMART SHOPPING CAMPAIGNS AND HOW CAN I IMPROVE MY SMART SHOPPING CAMPAIGN?
Here we come to my favorite part: the one in which it will finally become clear in which cases it is possible to launch SMART Shopping, and in which cases it is better to refrain. So, what makes a good influencer marketing campaign? Below are the conditions that are most likely to bring the desired result. However, these conditions alone are not limited, and a wide variety of factors can affect the work of the campaign – from the business niche to the competition in the market. Let’s take a look:
Stable demand for the product. Perhaps the most advantageous option. Thanks to the stable demand, you will quickly gain the required number of conversions in your account, which a smart shopping campaign will then analyze and use. At the same time, if you are afraid of a drawdown on conversions, there is no need to disable campaigns that have already proven their effectiveness. Strong consumer demand, combined with detailed descriptions in the feed, will ensure a positive trend in the operation of a smart shopping campaign.
Here’s an example: for four months, we worked with the usual sales campaigns of a client who sells meditation products. During this time, there were almost no fluctuations in demand and the number of transactions remained approximately the same from month to month. Then it was decided to test a smart shopping campaign. The graph shows how the number of transactions in the account has increased in 2 months of smart shopping compared to the previous two.
Small budget for advertising. This option does not guarantee effectiveness, but it should be tested. SMART Shopping is a comprehensive tool that, in fact, combines different types of campaigns and works with several sales channels at once. Thus, instead of splitting the already small amount of money into different types of campaigns, you can set the entire estimated budget in one campaign, which will train itself, and, in general (it all depends on many factors), will be able to show better results than different campaigns individually.
In addition, smart shopping campaigns are easier to optimize by turning off products that “drain” the budget. There is no flexibility with rates here, of course, but the headache of “what settings to change to save money and how to optimize smart shopping campaigns” is also at a minimum.
SMART Shopping for best sellers. When the usual shopping campaigns have already reached their maximum potential and bring about the same number of sales per month, the most obvious thing that can come to mind is to create a smart shopping campaign with the same products. But there is an equally worthy alternative — SMART Shopping only for bestsellers.
Add the TOP 20 products that generate the most revenue to your new campaign, and turn them off in all other campaigns. What for? A smart shopping campaign has enough statistics to show bestsellers to the most relevant users and thus increase their sales several times. At the same time, other shopping campaigns will try to sell the remaining products in them, collecting statistics on them. Later, these can also be added to SMART Shopping.
CONCLUSION: BRIEFLY ABOUT THE MAIN ASPECTS
Whether or not to launch SMART Shopping is a personal matter. Someone wants to automate routine processes and is ready to trust machine learning, while others need to keep everything under control and understand where their money goes. As for me, I can say that if the product is good, then in the hands of an experienced specialist, it will sell well in ordinary shopping campaigns.
If the product was almost not sold before, then it is unlikely that it will be sold in the SMART campaign. At least because of the lack of necessary statistics. Consider smart shopping campaigns as a tool to improve your (already good) performance, and not as a panacea for the lack of transactions. And one more thing: trust only the experts.