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Google Smart Shopping Campaigns. What is it? (PracticleEcommerce Article)

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Google Smart Shopping Campaigns. I’ve written many articles in the last year that address Google Ads’ automation. Used carefully, automation — bidding, dynamic copy, scripts —  can free up time for strategy.

In this post, I’ll focus on Smart Shopping campaigns for Google Shopping.

Smart Shopping campaigns combine existing product feeds with Google’s machine learning. Unlike standard Shopping campaigns that show ads on Google Search and search partners, Smart Shopping campaigns also show ads on the Display Network, YouTube, and Gmail.

This screenshot shows Smart Shopping ads on YouTube. Smart Shopping campaigns also show ads on Google Search, search partners, the Display Network, and Gmail.

With Google Smart Shopping Campaigns both shopping campaign types can segment products by category, product type, margin percentage, and more. The main difference is that Smart Shopping campaigns don’t allow for more than one ad group. Though ad groups aren’t as consequential in Shopping campaigns (as opposed to Search), they allow for greater organization among product themes.

For example, I may create a standard Shopping campaign around “jackets” and create ad groups for:

  • Men’s jackets,
  • Women’s jackets,
  • Kids’ jackets,
  • Leather jackets.

The Smart Shopping campaign only allows one ad group per campaign. I could create four Smart Shopping campaigns for each jacket type, but the number of campaigns adds up quickly, and Google allows only 100 of them. Moreover, Google recommends more products in each Smart Shopping campaign to facilitate machine learning.

Shopping vs. Smart Shopping

Here are four key differences between standard Shopping and Smart Shopping campaigns.

Bidding strategies. Smart Shopping campaigns don’t allow manual bidding. The sole bid option is to “maximize conversion value.” This strategy requires conversion tracking and values (dynamic or static) to be assigned to all conversion types. Google will automatically update your bids to produce the highest conversion value. You can also assign a target return on ad spend.

You can’t set manual bids, but you can set bid adjustments for locations and ad schedules. For example, if New York sees higher revenue, you could increase your bid adjustment by up to 20 percent. You can also set seasonality adjustments for short periods when you expect changes in conversions, such as a Thanksgiving week sale, which may call for a conversion rate increase of 30 percent.

These bid adjustments help inform the algorithm in the absence of setting manual bids.

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