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Google has been moving advertisers closer and closer toward automated campaigns, which we’ve seen with their addition of Performance Max campaigns for Google Shopping. This doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon, as Google has added further automation options for Google Ads. 

However, manual campaign management is still available - it’s just a little harder to spot. Manual Shopping campaigns are here to stay, and there’s no ‘sunset’ for this feature on the horizon.

Google Ads now comes with both a Smart Mode and an Expert Mode. Let’s dive into how these compare and how they’ll affect Google Shopping campaigns.

Smart Mode campaigns

Smart Mode is now the default option for Google Ads campaigns and is an automated management solution.

Created to provide a simple solution for businesses with limited time to manage campaigns, Smart Mode is automated and works to a goal as set by the user. As well as a goal, advertisers have some limited targeting options, such as geographic location, but advertisers can’t select specific channels that they want their ads to appear on.

Due to its simplicity, Google has made Smart Mode the default option when setting up a new campaign on Google Ads. The only way to revert back to manual management is to change your settings once the campaign has been made.

Unlike manual campaigns, advertisers can’t set a maximum keyword bid limit with Smart Mode, meaning users could pay a higher CPC for their campaigns. Google’s Smart Mode also primarily focuses on top-performing products, leaving the rest of your catalogue with less attention. The automation run by Google doesn't work at the individual SKU level, meaning you could be missing out on optimization opportunities.

Expert Mode campaigns

Expert Mode is more suitable if you’re looking for more control over your campaigns. This option involves manual campaign management, but you can utilize third-party automation such as Bidnamic to take care of this on Google Shopping or text ads.

Manual bidding gives advertisers the opportunity to have greater control over how much they’re paying for their campaigns, helping advertisers to target the most profitable CPC for their ads.

In contrast to Smart Mode, Expert Mode campaigns utilize the full range of Google Ads features and campaign types. However, this comes at a cost: manual bidding can be particularly time-consuming.

Advertisers using Expert Mode have more control over bidding, as well as more targeting options such as age, gender, and location. You can also make use of different keyword options: Expert Mode provides broad match, phrase match, exact match, and negative keyword match.

One of the most valuable features of Expert Mode is the ability to control ad spend at SKU or item level, giving you the most control over your campaigns.

Manual management on Google Shopping

When it comes to Google Shopping, manual management is still available to retailers.

On Google Shopping, Expert Mode can be run via Standard Shopping campaigns - advertisers will be able to have control over their campaigns without relying on Google’s machine learning-powered automation.

Manual management takes more time than an automated approach, but with more data insights and control over your campaigns, it can often be hugely beneficial.

Although they’re more time-consuming, Standard Shopping campaigns that allow for manual management are still a very viable option for businesses looking to make Shopping a profitable channel.

Bidnamic’s machine learning platform takes the guesswork out of campaign management, and a product catalogue of SKUs can be managed on a granular level. Our automation runs Expert Mode via Standard Shopping to achieve this, helping clients pay the best price for the most profitable position on the Shopping carousel, increasing visibility without compromising ROAS.

Unlike automated solutions like Performance Max, we provide 100% data transparency to our clients as well as more control over ad spend.

If you’re interested in how we can help you grow your Google Shopping channel, book a demo today.

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Tom Cross

Tom Cross

Tom is a Content Marketing Executive, producing content and case studies to simplify the Google Shopping experience, and help our clients discover if Google Shopping is the right channel for them. With an MA in English Literature, Tom has a passion for writing and sharing information with the masses.

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