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How to Optimise Google Smart Shopping Campaigns: 8 Best Practices

Note: Google is currently transitioning from Smart Shopping Campaigns to “Performance Max,” which should further improve your conversion rates and return-on-ad-spend (ROAS). But Smart Shopping optimisation tips found in this article will remain just as relevant. Download our Ultimate Guide to Google Shopping Optimisation.

Smart Shopping Campaigns help you simplify campaign management while driving sales and reach across Google using automation and machine learning. Smart Shopping goals are based on a retailer’s business objectives. This typically means that Smart Shopping will auto-optimise towards maximum revenue for your budget.

But just because much of the work is done automatically, it doesn’t mean you can’t optimise your Shopping Campaigns from your side. Below, we explore what Smart Shopping campaigns are and provide a few best practices for optimising them. Let's start!

How do Smart Shopping Campaigns work?

With Smart Shopping campaigns, Google uses your product feed to create and display shopping ads to potential customers. This is based on machine learning and algorithms, with automated bidding across intent signals. Google automatically chooses the right bid for every user through unique contextual signals for each auction.

These types of campaigns feature both Product Shopping ads and Display ads, including remarketing ads and similar audiences. They are eligible to appear across multiple Google properties, such as:

  • Google Search Network
  • Google Display Network
  • YouTube
  • Gmail

 Smart Shopping Campaign Ads, YouTube, Gmail, Display network, Sponsored Shopping Unit

(Source: Google)

Through automated ad creation and placement, your ads will appear in the most relevant spaces and, with bids that are intended to maximise your conversion value.

On Google Search, these campaigns will rely on the users’ search queries and predicted intent to determine which item from your product feed to show. On the Display Network, Google will then personalise ads based on prior user engagement with your website.

For example, if the user has previously visited and shown interest in products on your site, your product feed will be used to automatically create a relevant ad.

Smart Shopping Campaigns Google Search Display and Shopping

(Source: Google)

Overall, Smart Shopping campaigns will automatically maximise the conversion value for your budget, delivering the highest possible ROAS.

Note that Smart campaigns will take priority over any existing shopping or display remarketing campaigns targeting the same products within the same account. Generally, we recommend pausing previous campaigns to get the best performance and make it easier to measure overall performance.

If you are only running Smart Shopping campaigns on a subset of your products, the standard Shopping campaigns will still continue to run on the rest of the products.

Note that Google’s automated optimisation will take some time to surpass your existing Shopping campaign performance. Typically, most retailers should see performance improvements after 2--3 weeks. The exact timing will vary depending on your conversion volume.

At the very least, we recommend allowing for a 15-day learning period before you evaluate your Smart campaigns

What you need to set up Smart Shopping campaigns

In order to set up Smart Shopping campaigns, you’ll need to have the following in place:

Once your Smart Shopping campaigns are up and running, you can start focusing on improving their performance.

8 best practices to optimise your Smart Shopping campaigns

In order to make sure you get the most value out of every penny spent on your Smart campaigns, we recommend focusing on the following:

1. Define your budget

Setting the right budget is key. That’s because Google will automatically maximise your conversion value within the budget you provide. 

To begin with, we recommend setting your budget based on the combined historical daily spend of your current Standard Shopping and Display Remarketing campaigns. 

2. Set a specific ROAS

If you’re using a ROAS target as an internal KPI, you can always set an optional ROAS goal within your campaign. This tells Google to stay within a specific ROAS range. 

If you don’t define a ROAS target, Google will simply default to maximising the conversion value based on your budget.

Intelligent Reach can help you set a ROAS goal that automatically optimises towards maximum conversion value within the target ROAS you specify.

3. Broaden your product scope

If possible, target all available products within one campaign for maximum performance and simplicity. This has the added benefit of making it easier to compare performance across ads and individual products.

4. Optimise your underlying product feed

An optimised feed leads to better-quality ads, since that’s where Google pulls most of key information from. Feed optimisation—including titles, descriptions, and images—is already a recommended best practice for standard shopping campaigns. It applies equally (if not more) to Smart Shopping campaigns.

5. Customise your generic creative

Make sure you have a fallback ad. You can change the image and text for the generic display creative directly in the AdWords UI.

6. Experiment with your ROAS target

If you have set a specific ROAS goal, it may be restricting your volume and ability to spend your budget in full. Try removing or lowering it to see if that will increase your conversion value.

7. Benchmark your results

You want to make sure that your campaigns are actually adding value. To do so, measure the performance of your Smart Shopping campaigns after a few weeks. Then you can compare this against performance of your previous Standard Shopping and dynamic remarketing campaigns.

8. Test the waters

If you are not ready to roll out Smart Shopping across all of your products, you can start small. For instance, pick a few specific product groups to test Smart Shopping campaigns on. If you sell in multiple countries, you could also test Smart Shopping within a specific market to begin with.

To learn more about optimising your Shopping Ads, have a look at the most common mistakes brands and retailers make when advertising on shopping engines like Google.

Remember: Your campaign performance will be affected by inaccurate or incomplete data feed. By using a platform like Intelligent Reach, you can easily create a complete, attribute-rich product feed that helps you get the most out of your Smart Shopping campaigns.

Making Mistakes With Shopping Ads?

Have a read of the common ones that brands and retailers make, so you can avoid them



Have a read of the common ones that brands and retailers make, so you can avoid them


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