With advances in Google’s Smart Bidding, it’s becoming easier for online retailers to put all of their eggs in the Google Smart Shopping basket. Doing so has its benefits and its pitfalls. Smart Shopping takes advantage of Google’s Machine Learning to help reach more shoppers looking to buy the products you sell. However, if you’re not correctly set up or optimized, you could be leaving money on the table.
Another thing to consider is whether you’ve maxed out your Google Smart Shopping Campaign. If you can’t spend more whilst achieving the returns you require, you may need to look at expanding your advertising formats.
Read on to see if you can improve your Google Smart Shopping campaign performance and what ad formats you should move to when you’ve done all you can.
Optimize Your Shopping Feed
Optimizing your Google Shopping feed is the most tangible action you can take to improve your visibility. The more relevant your feed is to searches, the more likely your ads are to appear. There are many steps you can take to optimize your Smart Shopping feed attributes but the best place to start is with your product titles.
What are product titles?
The title of your Ad can let consumers know about your product’s specifications i.e the brand, size and colour. Being as descriptive as possible allows you to appear for all relevant searches. Whether or not you show for a search will be down to what’s included in your product title. For example, if there are two Shopping ads for the same dress, one has the title “Orange Pleated Maxi Dress Size 14” and another “Summer Dress”, the more descriptive ad is more likely to match to a specific search term.
People searching for “Dresses” are generally less likely to be ready to purchase. You’re more likely to make a sale on a more specific search, where someone might know what colour or style they want. So you need to make sure that the product titles in your feed are as relevant as possible and contain the words you want to match for.
The next question to ask yourself is, “What is my target? Am I targeting the maximum possible revenue I can achieve or do I need to ensure I hit a target return on ad spend (ROAS) to make advertising profitable?”
With Smart Shopping campaigns and digital advertising, the goal should always be to generate revenue and to maximise your conversion value.
For a better understanding of revenue goals and ROAS as a KPI read our blog on the goal of digital advertising.
Optimize Your Target
If you are achieving your ROAS target and would like to achieve a higher conversion value, consider increasing your budget. If your ROAS target isn’t achievable or you cannot increase your budget, consider decreasing your target to achieve a greater conversion value.
Now might be the time to set a ROAS target if you didn’t originally set one when creating your campaigns. Be aware that setting a goal above what you have achieved may limit your ads from being shown as often as they could. A recommended strategy is to look at the ROAS results and set a target within 10% of these results.
The key to successful optimization of these campaigns is incremental changes that give the algorithms the opportunity to learn and optimize after each change. Ideally, no more than 1 budget or goal change should be made every 14 days.
Now It’s Time To Consider Search Ads
One of the biggest misconceptions in Search Engine Marketing is that Smart Shopping Campaigns are better than Search. This often means that advertisers are reluctant to move to Search Ads when they’ve maximised their returns from their Smart Shopping campaigns. But this is not always true.
Let’s consider what a Smart Shopping Ad is. The product ad element of your Shopping Ad is constructed from your website’s product data. It consists of your brand, a product title, product description, your product’s price and an image. Smart Shopping Campaigns then use Google’s Machine Learning to show these product ads to shoppers likely to convert.
Aside from your product’s image, the other attributes can be included in your Google Search Ads. You can also use Google’s Machine Learning to target an audience more likely to convert. With your brand narrative, product title, price and other attributes in your ad, targeting conversions or a certain return, you stand every chance of matching or even exceeding your Shopping Ad returns. The reason Search can seem less profitable is that the comparison is not equal.
Comparing Search Ads with Smart Shopping Ads
Smart Shopping campaigns are not just the product ads that appear at the top of Google Search results. Smart Shopping campaigns use dynamic remarketing display ads and dynamic prospecting display ads to encourage conversions. They also show product ads for branded search terms.
Anyone running a brand or website name search campaign will know the kind of returns these campaigns can achieve. Conversions for these branded terms are included in your Smart Shopping reporting data.
You can’t compare apples with strudels. Non-brand search ads, if set up correctly, can have the same effect as Smart Shopping ads without the sugar and pastry of dynamic remarketing and branded search terms. For a fair comparison of the effectiveness of Smart Shopping v Search you’d need to look at the total return on any search remarketing and brand search campaigns alongside your non-brand search ads.
Setting Up Search Ads
Search can absolutely match or improve the returns you are achieving in your Smart Shopping Campaigns but as mentioned, they must be set up correctly. Smart Shopping ads are set up to take advantage of Google’s Machine Learning and so Search Ads should be the same.
Make sure your Search Ads adhere to best practices and are effectively optimized. Some key areas to look at are to include specific attributes in your product titles, create long tail search ads, create single keywords ad groups and more. If you want to know more about how to set up your Google Search campaigns for success you can read our blog on the topic here.
Taking the next step into Google Search can be a scary one, but if done correctly, you can still grow and scale your sales and revenue when you’ve done all you can in Google Smart Shopping.