The shortcut to setting up your campaign is Google Smart Shopping — it was created to make the setup process simple, speedy and seamless. Since its release, it’s become very popular among expert digital marketers. In fact, they commit over 80% of their ad spend on Google Shopping campaigns and 90+% of that budget is to Smart Shopping. There’s no denying that every retailer should be using Smart Shopping. But, you can’t just sign up and close your laptop. Let’s find out why…

Why is Smart Shopping not enough?

Smart Shopping has undoubtedly improved the campaign performance of Google retailers everywhere. Our audit data shows that marketers, on average, see a 24% uplift in account performance with Smart Shopping compared to Standard Shopping. Not least, there is an unofficial feeling that Google prioritises the product listings that are part of Smart campaigns over those in Standard campaigns — which clearly demonstrates the initial effectiveness of Smart/Standard campaigns. But, Smart Shopping is not enough on its own, and here’s why —

  1. Siloed data: Smart Shopping only grants its users access to native Google data — so, your campaigns cannot be contextualised within your wider business strategy.
  2. Competitive differentiation: Seeing as Smart Shopping is the preferred choice of the majority of Google marketers, reliance on the solution alone is no longer a differentiating factor.

So what’s the solution? In short, you need to adopt a third party intelligent performance platform to supplement your Smart Shopping experience. We are going to look at this in broader detail whilst providing you with practical, actionable tips. Let’s get started.

Tips and tricks to effectively set up your Google Shopping campaign

Here are our top tips and tricks that you can implement to effectively set up your Google Shopping campaign(s), and gain a competitive edge.

Tip #1: Broaden your data-scope

Google Smart Shopping can only access Google Shopping data, and won’t contextualise your strategy with information about your wider business. So, to maximise the effectiveness of your Google Shopping campaigns, you need to look beyond native Google data, and take in wider business information from sources such as —

  • Orders
  • Competitor performance
  • Return volumes
  • Promotions
  • Price points
  • Customer data

Fundamentally, this is about adding business data to contextualise your PPC, GS sales and listing information. You must be able to understand your entire retail journey performance to effectively run a campaign because you can’t understand your performance by isolating and rigorously analysing one small element of the journey.

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Strategies to help:

In order to get a clear picture of your entire retail journey, you need more data that Google can offer you. But, without the help of sophisticated tech, it is not possible to analyse and present insights from all this data while it is still in real-time, and not redundant. So, this means that you need to deploy a sophisticated intelligent performance platform that can help you understand your retail performance, from depot to delivery.

Tip #2: Strategically structure your campaigns

Google has provided insight into Google Shopping campaign best-practice, and number one on their list is the way you structure your campaign.

Typically, the structural mistake retailers make is when they base their campaign structure off of seemingly intuitive categories that reflect their website — that is, Product Categories, New Arrivals, Seasons etc… This can lead to wasted ad-spend as they could be investing in products that are not selling, or are in a negative margin for example.

Moreover, without looking beyond native Google data, you cannot truly understand and delineate between structural variables to a degree that you are equipped to strategically structure a campaign around any of them.

Strategies to help:

Thanks to our expertise and extensive knowledge of key Google Shopping optimisations pulled from various audits, we suggest that you structure your campaigns around the following —

  • Gross margin: Products that have a similar gross margin. This will ensure you experience no under or overspend.
  • Similar spend ratio: When you optimise based on similar spend ratios that will drive conversions. In other words, products within a campaign should all have a similar CTR (click-through rate) and CPA (cost per action).
  • Business goals: Segment your products by the different goals you have as a business.

Note, you can focus on one of these variables, or take a blended approach. But still, in order to prioritise any of the variables above, you do need to take into account data beyond native Google data sets.

Pro tip: Considering how you harness Google data and business data in real time is an important part of strategically structuring your campaigns, and finding the right software platform to help can have a big impact on outcomes.

Tip #3: Don’t put all your metric eggs in the ROAS basket

Your ROAS is the revenue you generate divided by your ad spend — using ROAS is important as it can provide a greater understanding of your ad-performance in the short term. This is because Google only provides ROAS results from the last 30 days, and so the metric is effective in the short term, but less so in the long term. But do not make the mistake of relying entirely on ROAS (return on ad spend) as a metric for success — there are plenty of other key metrics for online retailers out there that you should consider.

What’s more, digital marketers may focus on attaining their product Target ROAS’, but not every product has the capacity to actually reach its Target ROAS — sadly, Google will only promote the products that can do this. So the chances are you’ll end up with products in campaigns that are totally redundant and doing nothing at all. Not least, Google’s access to data is limited to only their native data, so while you can set a Target ROAS, they provide no means of actually benchmarking it, and nor actually reaching it.

Strategies to help:

Building on the previous tip — you need to structure your campaigns at least somewhat by performance — taking a blended ROAS performance approach will allow you to utilise ROAS as a metric in an effective way, overcoming the pitfalls of using Google Shopping alone.

However, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, you cannot formulate a blended ROAS performance approach using only native Google data alone. With the use of wider business data and native Google data, in conjunction with augmented automations, you can ensure a strategic balance between ROI and the % of inventory advertised. Ensuring your ROAS is high, while your ad spend is low. In order to do this, you need to deploy a sophisticated intelligence platform that can run all the numbers for you, and automate the balancing of your approach so that it is maximising budget.

Suggested reading: For more insight into what metrics are the right metrics for your Google Shopping campaigns, check out our blog — A Guide for Retailers: Essential Marketing Metrics for Google Shopping and How to Use Them.

The ultimate tip is: Upp

So you want to build strategic partnerships that offer you intelligent insights, that operate around the clock in real-time, and that suit your business needs. One company might have the resources to run a platform like this in-house, another might not. But both need access to a platform if they want to stand out from the highly competitive Google Shopping crowd.

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We, at Upp, have solved the limitations of the Google Smart Shopping problem by creating the platform that all Google retailers need. Our platform’s neural network is capable of identifying patterns, opportunities within your data, automatically maximising performance for both Standard and Smart Shopping, whilst still providing full data transparency. Helping you to effectively set up, and run, your Google Shopping campaigns in a way that will ensure retail success. We are trusted by digital marketers because we help them to boost product visibility, achieve strategic goals and deliver a true ROI — so much so that they typically experience —

  • 33% uplift in revenue!
  • 54% Google Shopping visibility increase!
  • 115% margin increase in the first 3 months!

But don’t just take our word for it — come and get a free audit to see how we can help you!