How We Built a Successful Google Smart Shopping Campaign

Michelle Jennette / 27th February 2020 / Comment / SEM

Case Study: Improving Conversion Value for an eCommerce Client with Smart Shopping

We tested Google’s Smart Shopping campaign on an ecommerce client – a B2C horticultural and tools supply company. Over the course of 3.5 months, conversion value increased 38% while conversions increased by 26% all while achieving the campaign’s target ROAS.


What is a Smart Shopping Campaign?

Google Ads’ Smart Shopping is a campaign type intended to simplify the process for setting up shopping campaigns, while promising to increase conversion value and expand your reach. Smart Shopping campaigns are a mixture of standard shopping and display remarketing campaigns – using automated bidding and ad placements to simplify the process for serving shopping ads not just on the Google Search Network, but also within the Google Display Network, Youtube, and Gmail. Smart Shopping campaigns create product ads by utilizing the same feed in Merchant Center that traditional shopping ads use.

How to Build a Smart shopping Campaign

**Note: Before going all-in on Smart Shopping Campaigns, we recommend running a 45-day test on a small group of products to assure performance is adequate.

The first step to building a Smart Shopping Campaign is choosing which products to include in the campaign. In Google Ads:

  • Locate to the Reports tab > Predefined Reports > Shopping > Shopping – Category.
  • Set your date range to the last 30 days and filter the data by Conversion Value/Cost.
  • From here you are going to want to select a group of products with a similar ROAS that have total conversions of 50-100. It is imperative that you pick products that are going to provide Google with enough historical conversion data so that the smart campaign can “learn”.


Once you’ve chosen the products you’d like to include in the SSC, personally, I like to filter out all of the products I am not including and save that report to use as a “control group”.

Now that our products are chosen and the report is saved, it’s time to create the campaign.

  • Locate back to Google Ads home page > Shopping Campaigns.
  • Click “Add a New Campaign” > Sales > Shopping > Choose your account and what country you are selling your products in > Smart Shopping Campaign > Continue.

  • Enter your campaign name; we recommend using a familiar naming convention that you use for standard shopping campaigns. When determining your maximum daily budget, you may want to look at how much the products you’ve chosen for the SSC spent as a whole over the last 30 days and divide that amount by 30 to get your average daily spend. Take this average daily spend and add an additional 25% to the daily budget. Because Smart Shopping will be showing your ad in more placements than traditional shopping campaigns, you will want to allow for a higher level of spend than the same products would have spent in a standard shopping campaign. Additionally, you don’t want to cap the budget, especially during Google’s “learning period”.
  • Set bidding to a target ROAS goal of your client’s choosing. Save and continue.

  • Choose the product groups to add to your SSC. For now, we will just be adding the first level of the product groups, not filtering down to the subcategories until later in the process.
  • Add a logo (Google will automatically pull this from the Merchant Center. Image specs: square logos must have a ratio of 1:1. Rectangle logos need to be wider than 1:1 but less than 2:1),
  • Add a marketing image that represents your business. (Image specs: landscape image with a ratio of 1:91:1, that is also greater than 600 x 314 pixels. Recommended size is 1200 x 628 pixels).
  • Add a headline and description text (make this generic enough to work with all of your products ie. Shop the Most Reliable Gardening Tools at ABC Farms),
  • Add the final URL (brand’s homepage). Hit save!

You now have a Smart Shopping Campaign built, but there is just one more step before setting the campaign live. You need to filter down the subcategories in the product groups that have been added to your SSC. To do this:

  • Locate your new SSC in Google Ads Shopping Campaigns > Product Groups.
  • Hover over each product group and click edit, then search your subcategories
  • Select each subcategory by clicking the box on the left-hand side and click save. Do this to the remaining product groups until you have filtered all the way down to just the products you want to have in your SSC.

You are now ready to activate your campaign. Once enabled, Google strongly advises not to make any changes to the campaign for the next 15 days (though sometimes this period will be shorter due to high impression volume). This first couple weeks is called the “learning period”. Although it is going to be tempting to adjust budgets and your target ROAS, this can jeopardize Google’s learning period and throw off future performance. If performance is not where you’d like it to be after the 15-day learning period is complete, you have two levers: adjusting the campaign’s maximum daily budget or adjusting the campaign’s target ROAS. Note that any time you adjust either of these settings, Google may need to reinitiate the “learning phase”.

Keep in mind that Smart Shopping campaigns will take priority over standard Shopping and display remarketing campaigns for the same products. This means that if you have a product included in your new Smart Shopping campaign as well as another Traditional Shopping campaign, all impressions for that product will go to the Smart Shopping campaign. Essentially, it’s not possible to test including a product in two types of Shopping campaigns at once.

How Can We Help?

Have you seen success with a Smart Shopping campaign? Or would you like Wheelhouse to help set up your Smart Shopping campaigns? Tell us in comments!

By Michelle Jennette