Google Smart Shopping Campaigns: the rise of successful automation or the fall of standard campaigns?

Google Smart Shopping campaigns have been rolled out for a while now and are probably the easiest way to get your paid revenue off the ground. The campaigns can be setup with just a few clicks and will return you with impressions, clicks and, if you are lucky, conversions within the first day.

Everything is automated. From the search terms the ads show for to the products that are shown. The only real things you have control over are the daily budget, the target ROAS and the product groups for the campaigns.

As an agency, we’ve been using these campaigns since the get go so we are pretty familiar with how they work, the return they are likely to deliver and the tips and tricks to successfully run these.

But do these campaigns give too much power to automation, leaving nothing for the advertiser to have control over? We’ve got some pros and cons on running these campaigns.

Pro: Great for getting visibility for your products across the Google network

Con: Visibility appears to be prioritised for the Smart campaigns over the standard campaigns

Explained: Whilst running Smart campaigns across our accounts, we have seen a average decrease in CPM by £1, with more impressions from the Smart campaigns rather than the standard campaigns when looking at the same product groups.

 

Pro: Revenue is generated by these campaigns often at a lower ROI

Con: This can prevent your other campaigns for hitting their revenue targets

Explained: We can’t fight this point; Smart campaigns have proven successful for us at gaining high revenue at their target ROAS. But you should be aware that this can lead to a drop off in the revenue gained by your standard campaigns. We have seen a 125% difference in revenue generation for the Smart campaigns vs the standard campaigns.

 

Pro: You have control over the budgets, target ROAS and can monitor the search terms the ads show for

Con: As with every Google campaign, they can overspend the daily budget and not hit the ROAS targets. It’s also important to keep an eye on the search terms you are showing for.

Explained: With almost full automation, these campaigns are great for less-technical people who want quick and easy campaigns. However, as advertisers we struggle with the lack of control we have over the campaigns. Preventing us from making detailed optimisations.

 

So, what’s the verdict? Overall, Smart campaigns are a great way to get revenue from ads, and even better if you are less technical. But, there are downsides that come with this. Including; less control, visibility taken from standard campaigns and revenue taken from standard campaigns.

 

We recommend using these alongside standard campaigns and keeping a close eye on the daily spend to ensure your other campaigns are not missing out.

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