I’m a huge fan of Google shopping. Everyone that’s worked with me knows just how much I love that platform and how I think it’s the easiest way for any eCommerce store to start generating sales. It’s almost magical how easy it is and how well it works. So this week on Marketing in 10, I’m talking all about shopping campaigns and specifically the difference between regular shopping campaigns and smart shopping.
Hey everyone. This is Jim Lastinger. Hope that everything is going well for you this week. Hope that you’re staying sane if you’re working from home and you’re not used to it, it’s interesting times that we’re living in so hope you’re doing well.
So today we’re talking about my favorite type of campaign and that is shopping campaigns and Google ads. So to start off, let’s talk about what exactly are Google shopping campaigns. A shopping ad is the ad that you see when you’re searching for a specific product. So on the Google search results page, you’ll see a list of product images, prices, and usually it has like a buy button with it. So those are Google shopping ads. Google shopping campaigns are the campaigns that take your product data and generate shopping ads. What’s different about a shopping campaign is that you have to have a Google merchant center account set up and running and it has to be approved, and you have to upload all of your products data there. So once you’ve done that, you can use that product data to create Google shopping ads.
So today, specifically, I want to talk about the two types of shopping campaigns that are available right now. So there’s the standard shopping campaign that’s been around for years and over the last couple of years, Google released something called a smart shopping campaign. So standard shopping campaigns are more like driving a stick shift transmission, where you have control over just about every setting in the campaign and you’re relying on your own management ability to get sales. You get to set all of the bids throughout the campaign. You can set individual product groups higher or lower. You can easily exclude different product groups, all that kind of stuff. And you have the ability to add negative keywords to standard shopping campaigns. So you have a little bit of control over the type of searches that you’re showing for.
And one of my favorite strategies with standard shopping campaigns is to set up something like a funnel where you have three different campaigns and each of those campaigns is targeting a certain level of buyer intent. So for example, the first level would be for very low quality traffic. So people that may not know much about the product or service that they’re looking for. So it’s very low quality traffic, low buyer intent. So you would bid low for that, bid very low. The next level will be somewhat knowledgeable traffic where maybe they know a brand name, or maybe they know about a product that they’re looking for. So that’s kind of immediate intermediate level of buyer intent. So you would bid a little bit more for that. The last level would be highly qualified traffic. So these are people that might know your brand and products, and maybe they’re looking to buy a specific product. So these are much more likely to convert. So you would want to bid a little bit more highly there. This type of funnel works really, really well. And before smart shopping came along, it was my go to strategy.
So that brings us to smart shopping, which I’m a huge fan of smart shopping is like being chauffeured around town. You just set the destination, sit back and relax. And most of the work has done for you. With smart shopping, you don’t have as many options as you do with regular shopping campaigns. You don’t get to directly control bids. Really the only things, the only levers that you can pull are your daily budget, raising that higher or lower and the products that you’re advertising for. You can still with a smart shopping campaign control the product groups. Smart shopping is built all around smart bidding strategies. And I always recommend you use the target return on ad spend with that. Once the campaigns get some conversion data, the machine learning should get smarter and you should theoretically perform better over time.
One of my favorite strategies for organizing smart shopping campaigns is to use a different campaign for each range of products. So if you have say two different product lines that are very different, this is a bad example. But if you had, if you were selling t-shirts that maybe had a 25% margin and you were selling furniture that might have a 50% margin, then it would confuse the machine learning to have both of those things be in the same campaign. So what you would do is you would have a different smart shopping campaign for each of those, and then you would adjust the target ROAS settings accordingly.
So how do you know which way to get started? I always recommend that stores go straight for smart shopping. It used to be that you had to have a history of conversions before you could start a smart shopping campaign, but that’s changed over the last couple of years. So now you only have to have conversions set up and working to be eligible to start a smart shopping campaign. So if for some reason you don’t see conversions, when you start running a smart shopping campaign, then I would try to do something like using Google analytics to figure out what’s happening to those visitors once they got to the site. That might give you some insight as to why that’s not converting. Maybe if the bounce rate is too high, people just aren’t expect aren’t seeing what they’re looking for. So that kind of gives you some ideas of things to look at. And if you still have conversion issues after that, then I would try maybe doing a standard shopping campaign where you have a little bit more control.
There’s still going to be a few times where standard shopping campaigns just work better for whatever reason. And it’s not always predictable when that’s going to be.
So if you have any questions about smart shopping campaigns or need any expert advice then feel free to reach out to me. The best way is through our Google Shopping agency website at deepfieldinc.com. I’ll have a link in the show notes for you, just click on contact and the messages that go right through to us.
And I’ll be back soon with another episode of Marketing in 10, where we’re going to be talking about SEO audits. Take care, everybody. Talk to you soon.