Here’s the boring video by Google introducing Smart Shopping campaigns explaining the general idea of what they are all about:



If you’re creating Smart Shopping campaigns for the first time – this article might seem complex. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for advanced strategies on how to optimize and scale – better buckle up because you’re in for a ride!

What’s Your Current Campaign Structure?

The biggest complaint we’ve heard so far about Smart Shopping campaigns is that Google doesn’t give advertisers enough data to actually improve their campaigns. We’re here to break down how you can obtain a lot more data and make decisions based on your findings.

It doesn’t matter if you have a single campaign or a split campaign structure; the following article will be actionable for your account as we’re about to go into detail of what we’ve found to work best with Smart Shopping campaigns so far in 2021.

As of right now, there are 2 strategies that have worked in accounts with previously good track records. 

STRATEGY #1

Google Smart Shopping campaigns incorporate ad placements on Search, Display & Video across all of their platforms. While we don’t know exactly where the traffic comes from – we do know the performance for each product within these campaigns.

That leads us into the first strategy – splitting out your Smart Shopping campaigns by product ROAS.

If you look at the following screenshot, you’ll notice how each product has a significantly different ROAS.

ROAS table from Google Ads Campaigns

Is this the time to cut .. or scale your ad spend? 

The answer is simple – look at the Click Share column. If your click share is under 50% – you can scale, scale, scale! 

While this screenshot includes only 7 products; this strategy is meant for companies with at least 50+ products that have generated sales within the last 180 day period.

Go ahead & follow these steps:

Step 1 – Export all product data for last 180 days

Step 2 – Sort your products by ROAS

Step 3 – Divide the products within at least 3+ ROAS ranges

If your top ROAS is 8x, lowest ROAS is under 1x, then it’d look something like this:

ROAS table for Campaigns

IMPORTANT NOTE – You want to make sure you have at least 5+ products per each range. 

Step 4 – Build out your campaigns with products from each ROAS bracket shown above

Step 5 – Set the campaign bidding method to “Maximize Conversion Value” bidding strategy with a tROAS goal based on each ROAS range

Step 6 – Review the ad performance after approximately 2 weeks & make necessary adjustments to your tROAS goal.

IMPORTANT NOTE – All of your changes should be made within 15% increments.

STRATEGY #2

Another great strategy for the campaign structure is to break down products by their categories. This strategy will heavily depend on how many products you have available in your store.

Go to Reports > Predefined reports (Dimensions) > Shopping > “Shopping – Category”

Google Ads dashboard
Google Ads ShoppingToolbar
Google Ads Shopping - CategoryToolbar

From there, you’ll get a view which we’re going to use for the campaign structuring.

The sections you’re looking for in this table are:

Row:

  • Category (1st level)
  • Category (2nd level)
  • Category (3rd level)

Column:

  • Cost
  • Conv. value / cost

We’d suggest viewing this report for the last 180 days or so. To condense the strategy into something a regular human being would be interested in reading – we’re going to explain how we’d split the campaigns based just the Category (1st level).

BACK TO REPORT – you want to sort the view based on Ad Spend.

From there – you want to look at the product category & ROAS.

Based on the data you’ve uncovered in the view above:

Step 1 – Build a campaign based on each of the product categories. You may break them down further in the 2nd and 3rd level, if data permits.

Step 2 – Set the campaign bidding method to “Maximize Conversion Value” bidding strategy with a tROAS goal based on your category ROAS

Step 3 – Review the ads performance after approximately 2 weeks & make adjustments to your tROAS goal. 

NOTE – This is also a viable strategy for accounts with no historical conversion metrics. Simply build the campaigns based on their categories & allow Google to “Maximize Conversion Value”.

Additional ways to maximize your performance

One of the biggest misconceptions about Smart Shopping is that there are no levers to adjust anything but the target ROAS. That’s actually incorrect.

A great way to adjust your campaign is by geographic locations! You should get back to your Pre-defined reports & pull up your Shopping Campaign geographic location performance. 

The report can be broken down by States, Metro Areas or even Cities. You may use your findings to down bid or EXCLUDE these locations completely.

We usually suggest excluding bad performing locations rather than just down bid, as it seems like automated bidding strategies tend to override bid adjustments.

Same thing goes for your Ad Schedule. Review your performance by day of the week / time of the day & make adjustments accordingly! 

Keep in mind – it’s super important you never make adjustments that are larger than 15% at a time (or, exclude completely!). Patience is key when it comes to smart shopping campaigns.

If you’re going to implement either of the strategies – let us know. Yet, if you’re unsure about your skill set, you can always contact us and we can offer you a complementary account audit alongside a step-by-step strategy on how to maximize your shopping campaign ROAS on Google!

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