Updated on November 23, 2022 | 4 minute read
Google has retired Smart Shopping campaigns and has replaced them with Performance Max campaigns. Get up-to-date information on Performance Max here.
Automation and AI are shifting the landscape of digital marketing, offering different ways for you to get your Shopping ads in front of potential customers.
In the world of PPC marketing campaigns, Google Smart Shopping has become increasingly popular for businesses looking to automate the bidding process in the hopes of getting more conversions.
With so many different routes to take, it can be difficult to work out which is the right bid management option for you. At the end of the day, the management provider you choose has to suit your business. So let’s talk Smart Shopping because we’re not actually anti-Smart Shopping. Well, not always...
Learn more about PPC marketing here.
Smart Shopping uses machine learning to reduce the need to manually set bids and employs automation with the intended goal of simplifying the process of advertising items on Google Shopping. This can save you time as you no longer need to manually set bids on keywords or intensively manage the PPC campaign.
Ad campaigns done through Smart Shopping are displayed across Google’s display network, which involves third-party websites like YouTube.
Read our extensive guide to Google Shopping
Smart campaigns test different image and text combinations for your products and determine which is the best-performing for your audience. By doing this, Google continually improves your ad and shows each user the most relevant and personalised version of your Shopping ad.
Alongside this, Smart Shopping works to show your ads to users over multiple networks and over a short period of time. This is done to shorten the customer journey, leading to more conversions for your business.
Even campaigns with a relatively low number of SKUs can still have thousands of bidding options, making it difficult to manually manage. The ability to ‘set it and forget it’ can save you time when it comes to Shopping bids, letting you spend time on other aspects of your digital marketing strategy.
Smart Shopping is a good option if Google Shopping itself is a secondary channel for your business, or if you have a low amount of campaign changes to implement.
Google’s automated platform is great if you’re just getting started advertising your product and you lack knowledge in the PPC arena. It can also save you the money of hiring an expert to help you manage the bid process.
The set-up of Smart Shopping is quick and easy and includes a variety of ad types for you to take advantage of. Segmenting products across multiple Smart Shopping campaigns can allow you to set individual goals for subsets of products, offering some control.
Whilst Google’s automation provides intelligent, hands-free bidding, it naturally comes with a set of drawbacks.
Using Google’s Smart Shopping service prevents you from accessing search term performance data on a granular level which could otherwise be used to maximise your Google Shopping experience. As a retailer, having a lack of access to your performance data may restrict your ability to scale your business through Google Shopping.
The service provides no audience or search term data, meaning you lack the data required to accurately set goals for your campaign. This unfortunately also means you will struggle with changing aspects of your campaign and optimising your approach.
Google doesn’t specify how much of your budget is being spent in different ad locations, rendering retailers unable to see how much of their money is going into prospecting or remarketing, for example. This lack of transparency on the platform makes it difficult to enact meaningful changes to your Shopping strategy.
You’re limited to what insights you gain from Smart Shopping. From the search queries consumers are using to find your ads, to the placement of your ads and their conversion data. Google keeps users in the dark. This is one of the biggest disadvantages of using Smart Shopping as it severely limits your ability to improve your campaign.
Do you know the true value of your performance data?
There’s also a clear conflict of interest at play: Google is simultaneously buying and selling your clicks, so Google would actually benefit from overbidding on keywords associated with your products. Clients using Smart Shopping typically want to minimise their CPC whilst Google wants to maximise its revenue, making it difficult to view Google as impartial.
Luckily, we already answered this one and in full. Read our Guide to Google Shopping to explore your options and compare the benefits and drawbacks of each.
Bidnamic’s machine learning platform offers a human touch aspect that other automation services lack. Businesses can see an additional 15% boost to their campaign focus when using machine learning technology with a human touch. Utilising technology such as the one we offer at Bidnamic can also increase your ROAS for digital marketing by up to 33%.
Read our 2021 Google Shopping Playbook
At Bidnamic, we offer full transparency of all data insights, allowing us to tailor bids for Targeted Search Terms for a more customised experience. This will get your ads seen by the most relevant possible customers for the best price, neither bidding too high or too low but instead finding the sweet spot between the two.
For more information on how Bidnamic can improve your Google Shopping experience, book a demo with one of our Google Shopping specialists today.
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.