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When Should I Use Smart Shopping Campaigns?

Today’s question is about smart shopping campaigns. I brought my friend Nik Armenis to answer this question because he is the shopping campaign expert. 

This question comes from Jason, who asks:

“I struggled when I turned the ‘Merchant Center Smart Campaign’ on with a specific return on adspend (ROAS) goal. Nothing worked, so I had to go back to let the system get what it gets. That is the puzzle I have at the moment.”

Nik Armenis:

Jason, thank you for your question. My apologies, mate, if I’ve misunderstood your question. But basically, I’m thinking you are having some issues with your smart campaign. 

A smart shopping campaign can be troublesome, I find. For me personally, and my clients, these tend to work better than a normal campaign, probably a third of the time. So two-thirds of the time, they don’t work for people, in my experience. 

You might find other people that say otherwise. And for the people that they work well, they tend to be people with large product catalogs, and people that have a lot of conversion data before starting and (are) able to spend enough to gather a lot of conversion data. 

Remember that this is utilizing machine learning or AI. So the more data and the better data we can give it, the more accurate and better results it’s going to give us. So if you don’t have a lot of conversion data (I would say anything less than fifty conversions a month, and I would prefer to be getting more than 100 conversions a month), I wouldn’t like to touch it. 

I believe Google says twenty (conversions) is a minimum to start doing smart shopping. I would suggest having more than fifty or one hundred to be safe. And again, if you don’t have a big product catalog, personally, I would steer clear from it. But if you don’t want all the hassle of having to manage a normal campaign, stick to it if it’s profitable.

Now, to actually address what you’ve said. It’s hard. So whatever was working before, revert back to it and see how it goes. For smart shopping, it’s very very hard to scale them. And that’s the problem with them, you lose that control. So, go back, and if the ROAS before, whatever you’d set it to, set it back to what it was, or potentially set it to even lower. So the lower the ROAS you give it, the “more loose” it’s going to be with your spending. But I find if you set it too high, it’s not going to show at all. So go back, try that.

You can actually just try going for conversion value as well, if that’s another way. So don’t actually set a ROAS goal. Tell it to optimize for the maximum conversion value. 

So you can try either of those, mate. But I hope that has answered your question. If you want that extra bit of control (so you can remove keywords and stuff like that), just use a standard campaign. That would be my advice to you. So thank you, Jason. And I hope that’s answered your question.


Once again, great advice from Nik, thanks for answering that one for me. 

And for the readers: if you guys want to hear more from Nik, he has a YouTube channel where he puts out a lot of great content. Go to YouTube and search Nik Armenis.  And if you have a question about Google Ads, you can ask here.