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Time To Get “Smart” With Your Google Shopping Campaigns

Everything is “smart” these days! Smart watch. Smart car. Smart toaster. Smart wallets. Yet, do we really know what this means? What exactly is a smart toaster? Does it do math or contemplate life and all its intricacies? I doubt it. In this day and age, the term smart simply refers to machine learning. A next level of automation that not only does a collection of predetermined actions based on triggers, but learns from those actions and optimizes on its own.

With machine learning developing more and more, Google has integrated this function into shopping campaigns to bring the best results for your business. How? Great question!

Smart shopping campaigns detect search phrases that are relevant to your business, which is actually not that different from a classic Shopping campaign… But let’s dig a little deeper into what smart shopping really means. Smart campaigns don’t just use what they have, they make predictions about your ads based on past patterns. When deciding whether a potential customer is relevant to your business needs, they assess a broad range of factors to determine the likelihood of conversion. From there, Smart campaigns continuously tweak and refine their strategies - helping you find the right prospective customers for your business at the right time.

Your campaign’ s performance is monitored constantly and the algorithms are always learning how to better predict which user interactions will help you achieve your goals, thanks to machine learning algorithms. 

That sounds like a great deal right? Take some of the guesswork away from your simple human mind, and put it in the hands of the Google supercomputer. So how do you take advantage of such a smart assistant?

Like standard shopping campaigns, in Smart Shopping, you need to have a Google Ads account linked to a Merchant Center account. Provided your products are updated in your feed, you can proceed to the setup of the smart shopping campaign. The steps are pretty much the same as the ones you follow for a standard shopping campaign, but with a slight variation. 

The first thing to note is that Smart Shopping will take priority over your standard shopping campaign if you are running both. This means that if you advertise on the same inventory with both campaign types, you should switch off the standard one. You don’t want to lose resources for no reason. Might as well allocate it to the right place so you can spend more efficiently.

Because Smart Shopping is a combination of standard Shopping and display remarketing campaign, you will have to upload a remarketing list of at least 100 active users, in your google ads account to get started.

So what are some of the advantages and disadvantages of a smart shopping campaign?

The pros of a Smart Shopping refer pretty much to the easy setup and the complete automation. You get all of the benefits of a regular Shopping campaign, but with the added benefit of machine learning and full automation. There are not many things that differentiate the two other than those two added benefits, which can either be incredibly important, or not depending on the campaign you are running. Each brand and each campaign is different, and the efficacy of both types of campaigns largely depends on what you are selling.

The cons of Smart Shopping refer to the impossibility to optimize and make granular analysis upon the campaign; things like: adding negative keywords, adjusting bids, limited device and location targeting. Less control is the main con, but in theory, you chose Smart Shopping to relinquish that control anyway! One thing you can can do in both Shopping campaigns type, however, is that you can pause the products that are swallowing your budget quickly.

Here’s a graphic that gives you a bit more information about how each type of Shopping campaign is different. 

Everything is smart these days, even your advertising. Sure, you lose some control over your Shopping campaign but you gain so much from the predictive analysis Google offers you. I don’t own a smart toaster, and I’m sure you lose some control and analytics about your toast, but maybe this smart toaster will know you better… and make you some special toast on your birthday without even asking!


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