How to Use Google Smart Shopping For a better Digital Display Strategy

Google’s Smart Shopping campaigns incorporate both Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs), as well as Dynamic Display  Ads. The inclusion of Dynamic Remarketing can typically contribute to strong campaign performance, in addition to the Smart Shopping’s real-time bid considerations (user intent, location, day/time, etc.). That said, how much spend and revenue is truly coming from Dynamic Remarketing vs. PLAs? Does remarketing attribute 5% or 60%? 

While marketers do not have levers to shift investment between Display and PLAs within the Smart Shopping campaign, understanding the breakdown is informative, and can lead to complementary Shopping Campaign strategies (i.e. breaking out campaigns further, isolating Dynamic Remarketing, etc.)

So where can we find Display metrics in the Smart Shopping campaigns (it’s slightly hidden)? And why does the breakdown matter?

Display Spend Within Google Smart Shopping

Unfortunately, Display performance is not available within a Smart Shopping campaign. Fortunately, however, it is available through Google’s Predefined Reports:

Following, the path Reports > Predefined reports (Dimensions) > Display/Video > Automatic placements (group), the report lays out Display placements across all campaigns:

This report can be customized to your liking (with changes to Columns to include Conversion Value and Conversion Value/Cost, etc.). To isolate Display Placements specific to Smart Shopping campaigns, we recommend filtering for those campaigns. I prefer downloading the report to excel where data can be more easily manipulated and analyzed. 

Why The Breakdown Matters

Why should this matter if we’re unable to exclude certain placements or modify bids on placements?

Remarketing Vs. Prospecting

Dynamic Remarketing is a great opportunity to complete the sales process after a user has taken a break in the funnel. Additionally, PLAs are a great opportunity to either reach completely new customers, or re-engage with past customers that have not committed loyalty to a brand quite yet (otherwise they could be directly searching on your ecommerce site). In other words, two completely separate opportunities are combined together in Smart Shopping. While this can result in strong performance, understanding the breakdown gives insight into whether one strategy is monopolizing the other, or if one strongly outperforms the other.

Note: Display impressions within Smart Shopping can allocate to dynamic prospecting (“similar to” audiences), however, the majority of spend is typically from dynamic remarketing.

Actions To Be Taken

Across clients, we’ve typically seen Dynamic Remarketing account for ~20% of Smart Shopping Revenue. While it’s still common to see contributions up to 30% and as little as 10%, a deep dive may be worth it in unique situations where Dynamic Remarketing accounts for ~5% of Spend or Revenue, or over 50%.

Low Dynamic Remarketing contribution:

If Smart Shopping performance is strong despite low Dynamic Remarketing contribution, this is a great sign that PLA customer acquisition is performing well, and changes to the Display Ad, Feed attributes, Dynamic Remarketing Tags, or Audience growth can further boost performance. We recommend revisiting the Display Ad image and text, ensuring Dynamic Remarketing tag is set up currently, as well as reviewing feed attributes for products in the Feed that are eligible for Dynamic Remarketing. 

High Dynamic Remarketing contribution:

If the Smart Shopping campaign is performing well, but new customer acquisition through PLA is being monopolized by Dynamic Remarketing, there are some options to improve prospecting. First, within the campaign, lowering the ROAS target or opening up the Budget may give the campaign more room to allocate towards prospecting. Outside of the campaign, it may be worth exploring opportunities with different campaign structures (isolating certain products). Additionally, testing out the combination of Smart Display and Standard Shopping campaigns may improve control over PLA prospecting reach. Finally, if prospecting opportunities through Shopping continue to remain low, expanding efforts into NonBrand Search and Standard Display can further increase new customer acquisition reach.

Ultimately, while immediate bid modifiers are not available between Display and PLA within Smart Shopping campaigns, finding and analyzing their breakdown can lead to more holistic marketing optimizations within an account. Adjustments regarding Display and PLA spend within Smart Shopping campaigns can span from updating creative in the campaign to boost Dynamic Remarketing performance, to expanding prospecting through other campaign types such as Standard Shopping or NonBrand Search campaigns.