A Complete Guide to Google Smart Shopping

A Complete Guide to Google Smart Shopping

Almost every social channel and online platform now offer some form of shopping facility. This is proving extremely popular with consumers as online shopping reaches an all-time high.

In the summer of 2018, Google created their Smart Shopping platform, and with the British high street fading fast, there’s no better time to introduce Google Smart Shopping into your marketing strategy.

In this blog, we will break down the fundamentals of Google Smart Shopping- what it is, how it works and how to set up campaigns. Time to put the kettle on…!

What is Google Smart Shopping?

Smart Shopping Campaigns use machine learning to make automated bidding on situations in which a consumer is most likely to purchase your product/service offering. The system selects the right bid for each user through unique signals for each auction. Automated ad creation and placement means that your ads will appear in relevant ad spaces, and your bids will be set to make the most of your conversion value.

The goal of Smart Shopping Campaigns is to help its users to simplify campaign management at the same time as driving sales and reach across Google. Using machine learning, users simply enter their campaign objective and budget, and Smart Shopping takes care of the rest.

Like responsive search ads, Smart Shopping serves the most relevant combinations of your textual and visual assets to prospective clients across Search, Display, YouTube and Gmail.


Before you can begin implementing Google Smart Shopping Campaigns into your marketing strategy, you must make sure that you meet Google’s requirements and have the following:

  • Google Ads account
  • Google Merchant Centre Account
  • Product data feed uploaded and approved on your Merchant Centre account
  • A conversion tracking tag installed on your website
  • Tracking set up on transaction-specific conversion values
  • A remarketing global site tag on your website
  • Tag your site for dynamic remarketing
  • A minimum of 20 conversions over the last 45 days across existing Shopping campaigns
  • Have an audience list with more than 100 users


As always, using high-quality logo and image assets that show off your business in the best possible way is essential. These assets, along with the text you provide, will be used to create your responsive remarketing ads. These will then appear on the display network and YouTube to users who have previously visited your website, but who haven’t yet converted to sale.

Campaign Setup and Budgeting

If you’re already using standard shopping campaigns on your account, it’s a good idea to pause them before launching the same products using Smart Shopping. Knowing what to set your budget at with the new system will take some time to figure out, so it’s best to use the same budget as your existing campaigns in the initial phase. By adopting this practice, you’ll also generate some sound comparable data to help you assess how well Smart Shopping is working for you versus standard shopping.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll then need to select your product group and upload your creative assets. When Google places Smart Shopping ads on the display network, the system will look at the products your prospects have already interacted with on your website, and then deliver ads to them that feature associated information from your product feed. Google will also test a combination of images and text you upload for each product to determine which combination offers you the highest conversion value.

Reporting on Smart Shopping Campaigns

Reporting for Smart Shopping is a typical standard campaign dashboard which you will be used to operating, so there’s nothing new to learn here- hurrah!

As always, there are multiple factors that can affect your results and it’s important to always take this into account. These factors can be anything from days of the week, competitor’s activity or changes in product data. You know your market best, so keep an eye on the common variables.

Google Smart Shopping doesn’t have a performance-based reporting option so it’s important that you compare Smart Shopping performance with your old standard shopping campaign reports.

We’ve now highlighted the benefits behind introducing Smart Shopping into your marketing strategy, but there are a few downsides to consider before making the shift over from standard shopping. Don’t worry, there’s nothing major, but you should still consider the following:

  • Product Controls
    • If you’re looking to sell stock of a specific product, or to introduce a new product to your campaign there’s unfortunately no way to do that on a singular basis.
  • Negative Keywords
    • There’s no way to remove a low-intent query from your campaign.
  • Assignment
    • If you choose to operate standard shopping with display remarketing, you won’t be able to assess the results of one channel from another.

That just about covers it! You’re now “in the know” about all things Google Smart Shopping. With its offering of automated bidding, hands-off conversion optimisation and extensive reach, less time required to manage your account and the ability to A/B test campaign performance, we definitely think Google Smart Shopping is worth a go!


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