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02 septembre 2021 • Grow Your Sales

Optimizing Google Smart Shopping campaigns: 13 best practices to follow

Optimizing Google Smart Shopping campaigns: 13 best practices to follow

With all of the amazing developments in technology, it’s easier than ever for entrepreneurs to find success in the exciting world of ecommerce!

Though having a high-quality, professional website is crucial, at some point, you’ll also need to develop a great marketing strategy to get the word out about your online store. 

This strategy can be made up of both paid and unpaid methods, organized according to your budget and the unique needs of your business.

An increasing number of online-store owners are turning to Google Shopping ads as another avenue to promote their products and reach a larger audience of potential customers. 

Different from other forms of marketing, Google Shopping campaigns work by putting your products in front of consumers who are already interested in the types of goods that you’re selling. At this point, your job is simply to convince them that your specific product is the one they should buy!

While the benefits of Google Shopping ads are already plentiful, Google has made the platform even more interesting with the introduction of Smart Shopping campaigns, which involve the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).

What’s Google Smart Shopping?

A fairly new addition to the Google Ads family, Google Smart Shopping campaigns function as a mixture of Standard Shopping and dynamic remarketing campaigns.

The inclusion of machine learning makes managing and optimizing campaigns a breeze for advertisers. This gives them more time to focus on other aspects of their business, which is important especially for the owners of new online stores who might be handling everything on their own.

Creating a Smart Shopping campaign is a relatively simple process that can be completed in just a few minutes after you’ve gotten your business set up in Google Merchant Center and Google Ads.

You’ll only need to set your budget and bid strategy, pick the products that you want to advertise, and upload a few visual and text assets to improve your campaign’s performance. 

Using this data and the information provided in your product feed that you’ve already built in Merchant Center, Google will automatically create ads and display them to relevant users in the search results. 

What’s more, Smart Shopping ads can also appear anywhere on Google’s Display Network, Gmail, and even YouTube!

By automating nearly everything for you, the system works to help owners of ecommerce businesses achieve maximum results with the least amount of effort on their end.

Tips for optimizing Smart Shopping campaigns

If you’re new to Smart Shopping, you may believe that with all of the system’s automation, there’s no need for you to perform any additional action when you create a campaign.

While it’s true that you won’t need to spend as much time on optimization for Smart Shopping campaigns as you would for their Standard counterparts, there are still a few steps you can take to increase the likelihood of realizing success on the platform.

Here are 13 handy suggestions for optimizing Smart Shopping campaigns and getting the best results possible!

1. Determine what you want to accomplish with your campaign

Each time that you create a new Smart Shopping campaign, you’ll want to have a good understanding of your objective(s). This way, you’ll be able to better structure the campaign to align with your particular goals.

For instance, if you’re simply aiming to maximize profit, you might want to put all your products in a single campaign to boost sales and conversions.

However, perhaps you’ve just launched a new product and want to increase its visibility. You can create a campaign that may have a relatively low return on ad spend (ROAS) but with a budget that’s just high enough to get more traffic to your ecommerce site to check out your newest release.

Maybe instead you have an extensive product catalog and have different targets regarding sales and profit margin for these items. In this scenario, you’ll want to create multiple campaigns rather than putting all of your products into one.

2. Optimize your product feed in Merchant Center

One of the major keys to success in any Google Shopping campaign, whether it’s a Standard or Smart version, is a high-quality product feed. You’ll build your feed in Merchant Center before you create your campaign, but you can make changes to many parts of your feed as needed later. 

Google Shopping feed optimization involves numerous actions that can be time consuming but are nevertheless necessary to ensure that your campaigns do well. 

For example, you’ll want to use high-resolution images that correctly depict your products and their features. In addition, it’s important to add search-friendly product titles and product descriptions that include relevant keywords.

Google takes the data in your feed to generate the product ads that shoppers see, so it’s essential that the data is accurate, informative, and up to date!

What’s more, Google will use your product feed to ascertain whether your products are relevant to a search query, which in turn helps it to determine when and where to display your ads.

3. Track your campaign’s conversions

Although tracking conversions is not a requirement to advertise on Google Smart Shopping, you’ll need to do so to really get the most out of the platform. This will allow you to see when your website earns a sale due to your Shopping ad and help you to optimize your return on investment (ROI) with your campaign.

To set up conversion tracking for your website, you’ll start by creating a conversion action that you want to track. Although sales are likely to be one of the most important activities that you’ll want to keep an eye on, you’ll also be able to track actions like site visits, newsletter signups, etc.

After completing the required steps for creating a conversion action, you’ll finish the process by adding the conversion tracking tag to your website.

4. Use historical data from other campaigns to set your budget

It can be tricky trying to determine what budget to set when you first launch your Smart Shopping campaign. Although you can always modify it down the road, the system will attempt to maximize conversions with the budget that you provide. For this reason, it’s best to optimize it for your business’s current needs if possible.

By taking a look at the data from any Standard Shopping and remarketing campaigns that you’ve created, you can see what you’ve typically spent for specific products or product categories. 

You can then employ these statistics to set the budget for your new Smart Shopping campaign, which should aid in preventing problems with not having enough funds to make the campaign run properly. 

5. Avail of remarketing tagging

Creating remarketing lists for your Shopping campaigns can help ads for your products appear to shoppers who’ve already visited your site the next time that they head to Google to look for your products.

This is especially important for Smart Shopping, as these campaigns depend on the development of a remarketing audience to which new people are continually added. 

Google states that to get your ads the best coverage possible, you’ll want to have 100+ store visitors during the previous 30 days. In addition, you should have a new visitor within the past 2 days.

You can set up custom parameters to obtain insights regarding which of your website’s products have interested visitors. This in turn can aid you in improving your campaign’s performance.

If you opt not to create custom parameters, Google will simply use the insights gathered from Google Analytics or your global site tag, which can involve, for instance, your site’s landing pages and page titles.

6. Include all of your available products

There are different ways to approach how you structure your Smart Shopping campaigns. If you’re just starting out and are hesitant about letting Google take complete control of the wheel, you might opt to add a single product category to begin. 

Then, when you get a better idea of the effectiveness of the system for your products, you can add more items to your campaign.  

However, note that Google suggests adding the maximum number of products that are relevant to your campaign. This is due to the fact that ads will frequently display numerous products from the same campaign. 

By giving the system more products from which to choose, you’ll increase the chances of your campaign’s success.

This is just another reason why it’s so important to keep your product feed up to date, with products that are approved by Google and ready to go!

7. Be careful with setting a target ROAS

When you create a Smart Shopping campaign, you’ll have the option of setting a target ROAS. This is the average conversion value that you want to receive for every dollar that you spend on the ad.

With this strategy, Google will aim to maximize the conversion value of your bids. Every time somebody searches for a product in your campaign, the system will estimate how much value the potential conversion will have. 

With this in mind, it will then make adjustments to your bids automatically to achieve the highest return.

While setting a target ROAS can certainly be beneficial for your campaign, it can make it difficult to spend your budget. You may find that you’ll need to experiment with your target ROAS by either lowering or removing it altogether to improve the conversion value of your bids.

8. Make adjustments during seasonal events or holidays

Depending on the kinds of products sold, holidays and seasonal events often have the potential to be crucial periods for online stores around the world. During these times of the year, retailers frequently see more site traffic, conversions, and sales.

The bidding algorithm used by Smart Shopping is ideal for these situations, as it’s designed to notice changes in performance and can make quick adjustments when needed. 

To get the most out of your campaigns during these events, you may need to adjust your budget and/or target ROAS to account for increased activity. This in turn can help to bid more aggressively, which is especially advantageous if you have a significant number of competitors.

Finally, you can also create a seasonality adjustment to communicate to the Smart Bidding system that conversion rates are expected to change for upcoming events.

However, note that seasonality adjustments generally work best for short periods, usually from 1 to 7 days.

9. Simplify the shopping experience for customers

Today’s ecommerce shoppers can take their pick from the plethora of online stores available to them. What’s more, many people have short attention spans and don’t want to spend their time on websites that are complicated or difficult to navigate.

To boost the likelihood of your campaigns converting site visitors into loyal customers, it’s crucial that you make the user experience as smooth as possible. For instance, ensure that your ad links directly to the product page on your website and that your FAQs are easy to locate. 

In addition, consider making the checkout process a single page and allowing shoppers to check out as guests rather than forcing them to create an account to purchase from your store.

10. Ensure that your website’s free of broken links

As stated in the previous tip, offering your site visitors and potential customers an excellent user experience is essential. Shoppers clicking on your Smart Shopping ad expect to be led to the product page for that particular item. 

If they’re instead directed to a page with a broken link that states that the page cannot be found, they’re likely to exit your website and head to a competitor’s to make a purchase.

It’s not only your product pages that are important, though. Even if visitors are able to land on the correct product page, they might also explore other areas of your site, such as your FAQ page to find more information regarding shipping, your business, product origins, etc.

By making sure that all of your pages work properly, you can help maintain your brand’s credibility and increase the chances of shoppers making a purchase after they click on your Shopping ad. 

11. Watch out for targeting exclusions

To improve audience targeting, Google Smart Shopping campaigns employ a variety of targeting parameters. If the system finds that a particular method isn’t doing well, it’ll switch to one that’s more effective and cease spending on the poor performer.

From a budget perspective, this may seem like a good idea, but it can be harmful for your campaign’s success if you’re not careful. This is because it may remove certain audience groups that are actually ideal for the products that you’re selling.  

For this reason, you’ll want to keep an eye on any exclusions that Google adds for your Smart Shopping campaigns. Make sure that it isn’t blocking especially important groups, such as those in the main location area that you’re trying to target. 

12. Give your campaign time before analyzing its performance

The Smart Shopping algorithm requires quite a bit of data to be able to optimize campaigns effectively. In addition, it’ll take time for your bidding strategy to adapt as the system’s machine learning determines how to optimize your campaign.  

This means that you need to allow it to do its thing for a while before you analyze the campaign’s performance and determine its effectiveness for your store.

Plan on giving the campaign 2 or 3 weeks to run before you begin to evaluate how well it’s doing and if any changes must be made.

When it comes time to analyze your campaign’s performance, don’t forget to consider any outside factors that may have an impact on its effectiveness. For example, special events or holidays, weekends, modifications to the data in your product feed, and other factors can all affect your campaign. 

Furthermore, as your campaign runs for a longer period of time, you’ll also want to keep conversion delays in mind. Conversions can require varying amounts of time. While some may happen in just a few days, others may need weeks. 

You might find that your campaign’s recent performance pales in comparison to its earlier performance due to conversion delay. That’s completely normal!

However, to make analyzing your campaign’s performance less of a challenge, you can run a report that’ll show you the history of conversion delays for your account.

13. Use custom labels for Smart Shopping testing 

Although control is definitely limited with Smart Shopping campaigns, you can still take advantage of custom labels to segment and test your products. In this way, you can discover which items are more successful in Smart Shopping rather than Standard campaigns. 

For instance, you can add custom labels to your product feed in Merchant Center that allow you to place products into groups such as most-reviewed products, bestsellers, products with a high profit margin, etc. 

You already know that these items perform well with Standard Shopping and will soon learn if you should keep them there or if they’re better off with Smart campaigns.

In addition, you can alternatively take your products that aren’t doing so great with Standard Shopping and try them out with Smart Shopping to see if you can boost your ROI with the platform.

Conclusion

There’s no doubt that Google Smart Shopping offers ecommerce entrepreneurs a level of convenience that’s hard to beat. The simplicity of setting up and managing campaigns makes it an attractive option for advertisers of all kinds to add to their marketing strategies.

The downside is, of course, the lack of control that you’ll have with your campaigns, which may or may not be a major drawback, depending on the individual needs of your online store. 

What’s more, you won’t be able to obtain the same insights for search terms and your audience that you can with Standard Shopping. This means that you can’t set campaign goals according to things like search intent, user type, and product type. 

Nevertheless, as you’ll have seen in this article, you still have plenty of opportunities to optimize your Smart Shopping campaigns to guarantee that you have the best experience possible with the platform!

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