Now You Can Show YouTube Videos in Smart Shopping Campaigns

google smart shopping ad best practices

Smart Shopping campaigns get their kicks by showing products to your potential customers across multiple channels. One of the cool things about Smart Shopping, is that you can advertise with more generic ad text and a banner image (that Google turns into multiple formats) when Google doesn’t have enough data on that user to select products for their dynamic prospecting or dynamic remarketing ads to appear.

Typically, I recommend keeping your product segment tight, and marketable to a specific audience, so you can also have targeted ad text (and image) for the static ad side of Smart Shopping. In other words, rather than go all boring and generic (Best deals here. Free Shipping. YAAAWWWNN), you can get much more specific with your Smart Shopping Ad text:

smart shopping ad text and headline


Now, we’re delighted to announce you can also advertise YouTube videos in your Smart Shopping ads as well! While there are some really cool aspects of this, we’ll point out a few things to be aware of in adding videos to your Smart Shopping campaigns.

Adding Videos to Smart Shopping Ads

The first thing to know, is that these must be YouTube videos. Unfortunately you cannot upload any native videos, so you need to ensure they’re on YouTube, and we would recommend (this isn’t a requirement) that they be connected to your channel (but hey, get building that channel out while you’re at it).

youtube video for smart shopping ad


Video Length: For what it’s worth, Google actually recommends the video length be under 30 seconds. My personal opinion is that this is marketing, and best practices only apply in marketing to a certain extent. If you have a fantastic, longer video ad that draws eyeballs and keeps interest… then don’t worry about finding a worse one that’s under 30 seconds.

Video Style: Our recommendation is you think like a social media marketer here (EWWWW, right?! 😆) . Get shorter, entertaining videos that can grab attention on a busy website and keep it. Ensure that those first 3 seconds are enough to grab interest and keep it moving.

While I think the style can become overdone, the old school Harmon Brothers style (Purple Mattress, Squatty Potty, etc) are fantastic for achieving these results. Actually, one of our clients just put out their own video that we’re pretty proud of too:

Groove shot that video themselves, and earned a ton of views (and sales) doing it!  It is at least one example of the style of video we like to pair with our Smart Shopping campaigns.

What if you don’t have a video?

Google says “not to worry”, if you don’t have a video then they will opt to create a video-like experience from the assets you add to the Smart Shopping ad and your feed (business name, logo, product title, etc). So depending on your view of a healthy brand experience… that might cause you to worry! Regardless, just be aware that this is a possibility with your Smart Shopping Ad.


Tracking Smart Shopping Ad Video Actions

While we have been vocal before in what Google doesn’t allow you to track within Smart Shopping, curiously, you can track Free Video actions within your Google Ads reports. To do so, click on the pre-defined report “free clicks”

google ads free clicks report smart shopping campaigns


Once you click through, filter for your Smart Shopping campaigns (shout-out to great naming conventions so you can easily use filters like this, quickly)… and check out the free clicks you can observe of people playing and pausing your videos!


reporting google ads free clicks in smart shopping ads


Interesting stuff here, if anything to demonstrate branding value clearly occurring from your ads that may not initially result in an ad click, but are certainly resulting in some difficult-to-track awareness that can’t be entirely discounted.

I hope this was helpful! Nothing to complex, but get those videos posted to your Smart Shopping campaigns, get some additional eyeballs on your products, and start logging some wins!


More details from Google: Smart Shopping Ad Assets