How does Google Smart Shopping work?

The latest and greatest of Google Shopping has resulted in a machine-learning-driven campaign manager, otherwise known as Google Smart Shopping (GSS).

This sophisticated feature allows you to broaden your reach, drive traffic and sales, in a way that reduces your hours required to achieve it.

Clever automation

In an attempt to maximise conversions and free up your time, Google Smart Shopping automates ad placement and bids in line with your chosen ad budget and strategy.

The automated power will drive your existing product feed and assets across a variety of ad networks, automatically testing various combinations of the image and text you provide. Using that information to strategically place the best ads across the right networks at the right time.

Essentially GSS allows you to set up your campaigns, and forget — knowing there’s strategic automation going on behind the curtain that ensures a steady revenue stream… or does it?

One of the biggest pitfalls of GSS is the hidden nature of it’s insights — the automated campaign manager is commonly thought of as a “Black Box” — running automations constantly based off of data-driven insights, but never actually giving the retailers visibility into what those insights or automations are. So while GSS seemingly makes it easier to run a retail campaign on Google, the programme is entirely mystified, so you don't actually know how or if your campaign is actually running optimally.


Why you need to go beyond
Google Shopping

Siloed data

The effectiveness of Google Smart Shopping (GSS) performance is limited by the data it has access to. The only sources that will influence the performance of your GSS are Google’s own data points — ignoring valuable information from your inventory, delivery and returns data etc.

What’s more, GSS doesn’t actually give you visibility into your data, it collates the information and uses it to augment your campaigns without showing you why or how.

No competitive differentiation

When Google Smart Shopping first launched it lowered the barrier to entry, allowing more ecommerce retailers and brands to get involved without the complexities of Google’s Standard Shopping bidding management.

However, now GSS is commonplace — everyone’s using it. And so, competition is much greater, diminishing the returns as costs increase to advertise.


How to effectively use Google

Take a blended ROAS performance approach

Traditionally, ROAS is prioritised as a metric for success — partly because it’s intuitive to do so, but also because GSS recommends it. But, this is misguided. GSS only provides ROAS results from the last 30 days, giving you somewhat effective campaign management in the short term, but forsaking long term planning altogether.

Solution #1: Performance needs a seat at the campaign structure table. By taking a blended ROAS performance approach to your campaign structure, you can effectively use ROAS as a metric without forsaking key insights from other vital areas of your business. Giving you campaign structures that reflect your true business goals and help you achieve them. But, you can’t do this with GSS alone...

Broaden your data scope

A lack of data outside of Google’s ecosystem is one of the biggest pitfalls facing GSS retailers. After all, without an insights platform, your campaigns are only informed by native Google data. In order to effectively uncover insights about your entire retail business performance, you need data sources that can reflect your entire business, not just your Google native data points.

Solution #2: When you gain access to business data from warehouse to delivery, you gain a much better picture of your overall performance, and can contextualise ad budgets more appropriately within your retail ecosystem in real-time.


Strategically structure your campaigns

Structuring your campaigns around intuitive categories like ‘product’ or ‘new arrivals’ can seriously hinder your retail success. GSS campaigns are much more complex. While the automated side of them removes the need for time-intensive campaign monitoring and managing, the Google recommended structures do not necessarily mean campaign success...

Solution #3: We recommend you structure your campaigns around the following —

  • Gross margin: Ensuring you maximise ad spend, eradicating under or over spend by structuring by products with a similar gross margin.
  • Similar spend ratio: Conversions will soar when you optimise your campaigns based on similar spend ratios. That is, products listed within a campaign should all have a similar CTR and CPA.
  • Business goals: Importantly, if you have wider business goals, such as boosted customer acquisition, let that goal inform your structure — or you’ll never be able to reach it.

The Solution is Upp!

Partner with us to overcome the limitations facing every other retailer using Google Smart Shopping and achieve true retail success.

Round the clock strategy evaluation

Our platform works 24/7, 365 days to ensure your campaign is altered and augmented to reflect real-time business and market updates. No longer are you restricted to the 9-5 monitoring, with Upp you can trust our platform is constantly looking for ways to improve your campaigns, always seeking out ways to boost conversions and crucially, it’s working for you 100% of the time.

Effective, sophisticated automation

Our platform boasts a highly sophisticated AI neural network in combination with semi-supervised machine learning and ARIMA modelling to effectively make sense of vast data sets, in real-time. Upp’s automated network allows you to combine data silos, unlocking insights from across your entire business and report on them clearly and concisely. This way you can produce commercially-digestible information that accurately forecasts your campaign performances.

Fully connected ecosystem

You appoint your campaign goals and metrics, and we’ll take care of the rest. Our automated system will manage your campaigns effectively, so you don’t have to — from campaign structure reviews and alterations, to updates and reporting that goes through rigorous forecasting and trend analysis — we’ve got you covered.

Wave goodbye to the days of misguided campaign structure, say hello to retail bliss!

Take your Google Shopping to the next level

Chat to one of our Google Shopping experts today to find out how you can get the most out of Google Smart Shopping.