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Running Multiple Smart Shopping Campaigns

Can you run multiple smart shopping campaigns at the same time? Yes, and you probably should, here’s why.

The only optimization for smart shopping campaigns (leaving out feed optimizations) is changing the target ROAS for the campaign. If you have different margins across your catalog you will likely want to split out your smart shopping campaigns so that you can have a different target ROAS set for each of your margin levels. Or run a campaign without a target ROAS for some products.

It is important to note that there is no such thing as campaign priority in smart shopping campaigns. You can’t have the same products across multiple smart campaigns using campaign priorities and varying levels of target ROAS. When you split out the campaigns make sure that each product is in only one smart campaign.

You can now also optimize for new customer acquisition in addition to sales to existing customers. This allows you to add in the LTV on top of the order value when you acquire a new customer through the smart shopping campaign.

Keep in mind that if you have a product in a standard shopping campaign and in a smart campaign the smart campaign will always take priority even if your standard campaign has a high priority level. If you notice a certain product or product group has completely stopped spending in standard shopping campaign check your smart campaigns and make sure that group is not in the smart campaign.

Why else would you split out your campaigns?

If you have a set of top selling products that you know sell well and will likely hit or likely exceed the target ROAS you set you might want to have these products in a separate campaign with the target ROAS set lower than the rest of your catalog. The goal of this strategy is to maximize visibility and increase revenue. Make sure you test this and watch the metrics because the results might not be what you are expecting but in the testing I have done this strategy has worked well.

Keep in mind that you can split your smart campaigns too much. If you are consistently not hitting your budget that means you either need more products in the campaign (more options & data for the machine learning) or you need to lower your ROAS.

Sometimes having too many top sellers together doesn’t work either. Google is going to always give priority to the products it believes can hit the goal of maximizing conversions or hitting target ROAS (if it is set). This makes sense for Google because it makes it look like Smart Shopping campaigns work. The issue is that you are losing search impression share, clicks and sales if they are consistently giving spend to one or a few products in a Smart shopping campaign.

For example recently I had a Smart Shopping campaign with ~100 products in it with a target ROAS set to 300%. Over the past 6 months that campaign has performed very well with ROAS always above the target. This is mostly because these are great selling products that is why they are in this campaign. The issue is that about 65% of the spend went to 5 products. The other products would receive receive clicks and hit target ROAS numbers but overall revenue was small in comparison. Then the top 5 products went out of stock and guess what happened? The campaign performed better. The other products that are also top sellers when given the budget actually produced more revenue and a higher ROAS.

What is the take away? Smart Shopping campaigns still get locked into what they think the winning products are which means you are losing impression share for the other products. I split this Smart Shopping campaign into two campaigns and have been able to increase revenue and profitability.

Ad Relevancy

With Smart Shopping campaigns you get one ad. If you have a diverse catalog one ad might not work for you. You get to select one marketing image, one video, one headline, one long headline and one description. If put 10,000 products into a Smart campaign there is very little chance you can create an ad that is relevant for everything. For example you sell both men’s and women’s apparel, you will likely want at least two Smart campaigns so you can use marketing images and videos that appeal to the gender.

New products

If you launch new products and they are included in a single smart campaign with existing products it might take longer than you want for those products to receive clicks and sales. Smart campaigns are trying to maximize sales while maintaining the target ROAS you set. They do this with data and machine learning so when you introduce new products into the campaign there isn’t any data for those products. The campaign will likely only slowly allocate budget to the new products because with the existing data Google knows that allocating budget to certain products will be the most likely way to hit target ROAS numbers. I suggest not using smart shopping campaigns at all. I prefer to launch new products into standard shopping campaigns. Why? I want to monitor the search queries to see what the new products are being displayed for. This data can be used for feed optimization. Launching in a standard campaign also gives me a better idea for benchmark CPC, CTR and the overall market for the new products.

Only a few products receive clicks

If you run your entire catalog in one smart shopping campaign you will likely notice that only a small number of products use the majority of the budget. Again this is Google trying to get the most sales they can while hitting the target ROAS you set. You can split out your products into multiple smart shopping campaigns to get around this. Each campaign will have its own budget and the products that were not receiving budget allocation will start to spend.

When a product doesn’t receive clicks does it mean that it isn’t possible to profitably advertise that product in shopping? No, while smart is in the name that doesn’t mean they always are. However here are a few things you should check when a product isn’t receiving any spend:

  1. The campaign might not be spending on those products because of your feed. Check the products that are not spending and double check your feed attributes. It might be the case that the products spending are doing so because they are better optimized.

  2. How does your pricing compare to the competition? If you have higher priced products relative to competitors it will be more difficult for the smart campaign to continually increase spend on the product and maintain ROAS.

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