Google Shopping – making the most of automation

In a recent Croud Academy Live session, Chandni Kothari, Croud’s Biddable Account Director, presented on Google Shopping and making the most of automation. Below is a summary of her webinar. You can watch the recording of the webinar, and all of our Croud Academy Live webinars on our YouTube channel.

Timeline of Google Shopping

From Froogle to Froogle, Google Shopping goes full circle.

The recent change back to ‘Froogle’ doesn’t mean the SERP is changing per se; paid ads will still remain at the top and the bottom of the page. It is only when you move onto the shopping tab that you will see organic listings, and in order to opt-in to this, you just need to log into the merchant feed settings and check the box to appear on ‘Surfaces across Google’.

The current impact of Froogle, its effect on CPCs or whether we might see a decrease in paid impressions is unknown, yet it is speculated that organic will account for 3-15% of total traffic.

Smart shopping and how it works

“Smart Shopping campaigns use Google’s machine learning technology to automatically drive sales and reach shoppers across Google sites and networks.”

It combines standard shopping campaigns with a display element and encourages users to convert by targeting them with ads containing products they have viewed in their feed across the Google network.

Google utilises automated machine learning to pull data (so granular that don’t have access to or the visibility of) from your product feed to appear for both shopping searches and display retargeting. This is to ensure that users receive the most relevant messaging across all formats of the Google ad network.

Bids and targeting are automatically selected by the engine, with the campaigns defaulting to a maximise conversion value bid strategy. Although, if you have a minimum goal for your campaign, you can also set a target return on ad spend (ROAS).

The impact for brands and advertisers

Even though we don’t have an in-depth level of visibility, when using Smart Shopping there are some things you want to consider;

  • Unlike standard shopping campaigns, Smart Shopping has expanded reach across the network, meaning that is it on both the SERP and the Google Network (Search, Display, YouTube, Gmail), so you are really are tapping into all the locations the user might be and maintaining a high level of engagement. Ensure you’re images within your feed meet best practices and have more than one to ensure you benefit from this expanded reach.
  • Even though Smart Shopping is completely led by machine learning, you need to ask yourself whether this is helping to grow your bottom line. Even though it is delivering results in isolation, is it helping you to increase your overall revenue from your paid marketing or is it cannibalizing between the two search and  / or display campaigns?
  • As Google continues to invest in Smart Shopping and updates to the product, a contrast to standard shopping campaigns which will not be supported by any new product releases.

What can you do as a marketing practitioner?

From a practitioner’s perspective, the things which you can control are the products within the campaign, budgets and target ROAS. Here are some steps you can take for your feed & campaign optimization efforts;

  1. Assess your keyword volume – Assess keywords with a high number of average monthly searches in the keyword planner volume to test variations or to add common phrases to your descriptions where you have more room to add.
  2. Learn from the past – what can you learn from the standard shopping campaigns you ran previously? Review your search terms report to understand the common keywords with high traffic, the best converting, and non-converting, keywords.
  3. Test multiple variants – It’s important to test iterations of product titles and description to ensure you pick up more, relevant traffic. Google only picks up the first 100-150 characters, so put your keywords to the front of the description.
  4. Focus on revenue-driving products – It may be the case that 20% of your products drive a significant amount of revenue for your brand on your Google shopping campaigns.
  5. Assess your search campaigns – you might see a change in your search campaigns when you have smart shopping campaigns on. Make sure you take a holistic view of your campaigns, rather than reviewing results in isolation, in order to get a full picture of results.
  6. Review your attribution model – Naturally, we would expect to see better results when using smart shopping as it learns from its own results and uses a data-driven attribution model, and it’s likely to improve overall performance and bottom-line revenue.

To find out more, or to speak to our shopping team, get in touch. You can also catch up on our previous Croud Academy Live sessions here.


by Chandni Kothari
5 May 2020



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