Smart Shopping vs Standard Shopping Campaigns on Google Ads – Video Transcript

If you’re an e-commerce business and you sell products online, then the first thing you want to do when you go to Google Ads is to try a shopping campaign. Because, of course that campaign if you don’t know will put your products in front of people looking for them, meaning that when someone goes to Google and types in whatever it is that you’re selling, they can find your products on the search results page directly.

Now, in terms of doing shopping instead search campaigns, the advantage of shopping is that people can see the product before they click. Meaning that with a search campaign promoting your products, people need to click the advert before they see your product, whereas with a shopping campaign people only click your product if they’re happy with what they see. Of course, your products are next to your competitors. That means shopping campaigns have a big advantage when it comes to e-com businesses.

What is the difference between a Standard Shopping Campaign and a Smart Shopping Campaign? Of course if you go into Google Ads to start a shopping campaign you’re going to be confronted with those two options. In this video, I’m going to break down the differences between the two types of campaign, but in addition to that give you the ins and outs of why you should use one over the other, and the kind of use cases where one may prevail as the better option. Overall, go into detail as to which one is right for you.

Hey there guys, Darren Taylor of the, the number one resource for online SEM training. If you’re new to the channel my name is Darren Taylor, I specialize in SEN training so mostly PPC, but I do go into SEO as well so if that sounds of interest to you you should consider subscribing to this channel. Now, let’s take a look and understand the difference between Smart Shopping Campaigns and Standard Shopping Campaigns. Let’s start off first of all with looking at the Standard Shopping Campaigns.

When I say a Standard Shopping Campaign, what I mean is that you go into Google Ads and you create a shopping campaign without choosing the Smart option. Now, a Standard Shopping Campaign believe it or not despite the name difference, has more options available to you as an advertiser for your products and services. With a Standard Shopping Campaign, you have access to the entire portfolio of options within Google Ads for shopping campaigns. Let me elaborate a bit more for you.

With a Standard Shopping Campaign you can put into place the max CPC bids you’re willing to pay for a click, to your particular products. You can set your bids at product level, that is if you break your products down into product groups and you decide to have them as individual products, you can decide to say for this particular product I am willing to pay a maximum of $1 a click. For this particular product I’m willing to pay 50 cents per click at maximum. That is a very important part of an advantage of a Standard Shopping Campaign because you can control the bids.

Now, in this particular area if you look at a Smart Shopping Campaign, it doesn’t allow you to control your bids on a product level. With a Smart Campaign what you’re doing is giving Google your budget and saying to optimize towards a particular goal using Smart bidding. You’re not setting your bids at product level, you’re not even telling Google the max CPC essentially, what you’re trying to do is bid towards a strategy. Whether that’s a target CPA or a target return on advertising spend. Those are the things you’re looking to bid on when looking at a Smart Campaign.

Google will change bids at auction time based on your strategy if they feel that somebody is more likely to convert, they could increase the bid to increase the visibility of your products. If they feel somebody is less likely to convert, they can reduce the bids minimizing your risk and lowering your visibility to make sure that you don’t spend money on clicks that are less likely to convert. That’s the idea of how Smart Shopping Campaigns can work, and then conversely as I say, with the Standard Shopping Campaigns you’re setting your bids yourself and you are in full control over your bids and then making sure that you’re paying the right amount for different clicks to different products.

On the face of it, when I go into detail in terms of Smart versus Standard, quite often on the channel, I often say that having full control as an advertiser is better, but I’m going to surprise you because actually Smart Shopping Campaigns outperform Standard Shopping Campaigns every single time. I’m going to tell you why. Unlike Search campaigns where you tell Google the amount you’re willing to pay per click, Shopping Campaign is a bit different, because, of course, with a keyword you understand the intent of what the user is searching for and you can easily see specifically what kind of keywords are going to convert, versus which ones aren’t based on your search terms.

You can go from there and optimize manually yourself which is a good thing to do if Smart bidding doesn’t work for you. You can use normal bidding strategies to get the results you need. However, with a Shopping Campaign, you don’t have that same visibility, you don’t see specifically the keywords someone’s typing in. You do get search term data but the intuitiveness of a keyword is very different to how people may react to a product. In addition to that, with most Shopping Campaigns most businesses, running Shopping Campaigns have a lot of products.

Now, I don’t just mean, for example, with a campaign with 50 keywords or even 100 keywords, some businesses have thousands and thousands of products. Now, can you imagine changing bids manually for hundreds and hundreds of products, or even thousands of products going forward. You’re going to struggle so much, because you won’t be able to stay on top of the trends. One keyword bid might need to go down, one might need to go up from week to week based on performance. In a bit different to a Search Campaign, you need to be able to adjust bids according to your goals with a Shopping Campaign.

That is where the Smart bidding of a Smart Shopping Campaign really really shows how good it is. I often criticize Google for their Smart bidding, I’ve seen numerous campaigns that have the conversion threshold needed in search to get the kind of results Smart bidding should be getting. For example, I’ve worked on campaigns, where there are dozens and dozens of leads a day when using manual bidding, switching over to a target CPA model. The CPA actually increases, the performance can dip down or even going towards a target return on advertising spend or a maximized conversion strategy.

Then I can also see sometimes the results can decrease when I move from manual management to Smart bidding, and this happens to a lot of advertisers. When Smart bidding works for Search, it’s absolutely brilliant. It works perfectly, but sometimes it just doesn’t work for, whatever reason that may be and you need to revert to a manual method. Now, with a Smart Shopping Campaign, I’m going to be very very honest with you. I have never seen a Smart Shopping Campaign underperform, compared to a manually optimized Shopping Campaign.

The thing is, it might start off very well for your manually optimized campaign because you’re setting bids yourself, and you’re making sure you’re paying a certain amount per click to make sure you get the right results. Over time, when the small trends occur and your product portfolio increases, you’ve got to lose control. You’re not going to be able to see specifically what’s working and what’s not working. You’re not going to be reacting in time to changes in the market, to changes in user behavior and Google’s Smart bidding for shopping campaigns can do that, and it does it really really well.

The question we asked at the beginning of this video is when you go into Google and you want to set up a Shopping Campaign, do you choose Smart Shopping or Standard Shopping? The answer to me is always choose Smart Shopping every single time. Now, there’s one use case, a very very very niche use case, for when you’d use a manual shopping campaign, a Standard one.

That is, if you’re running a Shopping Campaign for a one product business, if your business is on Google shopping and you sell one product, you might be able to get better results with manual bidding in a shopping campaign, that’s Standard as opposed to Smart because you can have full control over what you’re willing to pay for a click to that particular product. You do lose out on the smart bidding side of things in terms of Google optimizing based on likelihood of conversion, but with enough data points enough understanding of how people behave across different devices, and different audiences you can probably get better results doing it yourself over time because you’re optimizing a single product.

If you’ve got more than one product and you’ve got a portfolio of products like most e-commerce businesses have, then it makes sense to use Smart bidding every single time.Thank you guys so much for watching this video, if you liked it please leave a like below. Let me know in the comments if you have had experience running Shopping Campaigns and you’ve used Smart shopping, you’ve used Standard shopping.

Tell me the results you got from either, I’d be really interested to know, I reply to pretty much every single comment I get on new videos. Hit me up below whether it’s about this video or anything you want to discuss in digital marketing. Hit me up below, like this video if you like it, don’t forget to subscribe. Check out the other content across the channel and I’ll see you guys on my next video.

Darren Taylor

Darren Taylor is a PPC and digital marketing expert with over 10 years experience in delivering winning campaigns and training the next generation of marketing leaders.

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