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Google Smart Shopping: a Closer Look

Google has evolved into such a ubiquitous part of the human experience that we now use the brand name as a noun, a verb, and sometimes an exclamation… although that last one is a little rarer. Google!

Google is constantly releasing new and exciting options for marketers to take advantage of, and in this article, we will take a closer look at Google Smart Shopping and the benefits it provides.

In case you aren’t familiar, Google Smart Shopping is an advertising option that uses a product feed to show ads for products of a variety of brands featured across Google search results, display ads, and video networks.

Here are the specifics of what the platform can do for you:

  • Your product appears as a clickable item in Google search results, display ads, and video networks.
  • The product is accompanied by an image of your choosing
  • Much like standard Google Ads, you are given a 25 character short headline, and a 90 character long headline and a 90 character long description.

But these are just variable inputs, the ad can take many forms across the entire Google platform depending on if it’s a search result, display ad, or video network ad. The user almost doesn’t even have to visit your site to convert. Not too shabby!

We have been experimenting with this advertising option with some of our clients and so far we are seeing some great performance across all industries. If you take a look at the image below, it represents before and after implementation of Google Smart Shopping and its effect on the overall conversions for a single client.

This particular client was a good candidate for testing this new platform due to their goal of 3:1 ROAS (Return On Ad Spend) and their proclivity to ROAS targeting in the past. They had tried this previously in other facets and wanted to experiment with a clearer path to the product.

Shortly after implementation here is how their sales were affected:

  • We saw a 246% increase in conversion volume. People were converting at a much higher rate due to the simplicity of finding the product, simple as that.
  • The cost per conversion went down 35%, most likely due to the ability to purchase the product right from the search results and or display ad.
  • Finally, their revenue went up 480% and that one is pretty self-explanatory. More purchases more money in your pocket.

Although this seems like a slam dunk, there is a slight drawback worth mentioning. Overall, there is very little visibility as to where, in what network, and what ad form generates the best performance. While this doesn’t seem like much of an issue considering the positive increase in the numbers, it does make decisions making slightly more difficult. We are able to make device level bid adjustments, for example, bid up on mobile platforms if performance is strong vs desktop, but that is about it.

The other small caveat is that in order to be eligible for this advertising option, the system needs at least 20 conversions in the past 45 days in order to implement. While this should be no sweat for a decent sized e-commerce account with a feed, it is not very feasible for smaller accounts looking to break out.

Overall, Google Smart Shopping is worth trying out, even in its early stages to see if it is the right option for your brand. It is easy to use, it doesn’t give you much insight, but it does give you some increase in your revenue, conversion volume, and helps save money on your cost per conversion… but don’t take our word for it, try it yourself and see if it’s right for you!

Who knows, perhaps in the near future Google will offer more insight, and more control over each piece making this tool even more valuable than it is already. Google away!

Would you like to experiment with Google Smart Shopping? It is part of our Google Ads service. Get in touch!


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