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Kirk Williams
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Google Shopping

Should You Still Use Standard Shopping with Smart Shopping Campaigns?

Should You Still Use Standard Shopping with Smart Shopping Campaigns?

10/25/19 UPDATE: Hello Facebook Agency Visitor Person!  We’re delighted to have you visit this awesome post. About a year ago, ZATO stopped offering Facebook Ads solutions so we could focus solely on what we do best: Google Ads. Because of this, we’re always interested in partnerships with great Social Advertising agencies (like yourself, wink wink!) and we offer referral fees for signed clients!  Anyway, back to it, and happy reading…

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I get this question a lot, so I thought I would go ahead and share my thoughts with you here. If you have additional questions, I cover this and much more in my Google Smart Shopping Course on Udemy... go check it out!

The question has to do with running Smart Shopping and Standard Shopping campaigns at the same time. For those who are unaware, Smart Shopping Campaigns cannibalize from Standard Shopping campaigns when they are targeting the same item ID in your Google Shopping Feed. In other words, if an auction is run that Google believes your Shopping Campaigns are eligible to appear on, the Smart Shopping Campaign (SSC) will always take priority over the Standard Shopping campaign... well, except for a few instances which I'll discuss below.

So, should you even create Standard Shopping campaigns, if SSC takes priority over them? 

The answer is, yes, most definitely! Here are two reasons we still build Standard Shopping Campaigns at ZATO:


  1. To target unique product IDs in each campaign type. You may decide to actually target different products in Standard that you are targeting in Smart. Of course, if you do this, keep in mind that Google may still prefer your Smart Shopping campaign for certain auctions (for instance, brand searches) even if you are targeting unique products. This is why I like to target completely unique Product Types (after filling them out well in the Google Merchant Center product feed!) so the machine is generally targeting completely different audiences, not just different products. For example, you may create a Smart Shopping that only targets you mattresses, and then build a Standard Shopping Campaign to target you couches and chairs. This ensures that (for the most part), your Smart Shopping campaign stays in its lane, and you can get some insight into how each campaign type will do in an individual account. This is also how I recommend an account begin testing Smart Shopping if it has only been running Standard Shopping up until this point.
  2. To use Standard to "clean up" existing auction gaps from the Smart Shopping Campaign by targeting the same product IDs. In this instance, you have determined that Smart Shopping works well in your account, but you want to ensure your campaigns are picking up all of the possible auctions. Gaps can occur in the SSC's algorithms, because of a number of reasons. For instance, the daily budget and target ROAS you give a Smart Shopping Campaign may lead it to ignore a potentially good search query auction, not because that auction won't be able to convert, but because the system has determined it is not as likely to convert at your assigned ROAS as another auction (perhaps on a different channel, such as YouTube). For this reas, we like to have Standard Shopping Campaigns set up to manually target high quality queries regardless of the SSC's judgement on them, and we may then see incremental growth since they are supplementing the SSC auctions rather than battling for the same queries.

I will note, that if you do run Standard Shopping Campaigns with Smart Shopping, that you still learn and implement the more advanced Query-Filtering Standard Shopping strategy as that allows you to ensure you are targeting higher quality queries that the SSC auction is ignoring.


So there you have it, I think it's always a good idea to keep Standard and Smart Shopping running at the same time in your accounts, for those two reasons. If you would like more tips on running Shopping Ads in 2021 and beyond, then go check out my Smart Shopping Campaign Course on Udemy (1100 students and growing!).

Kirk Williams
Owner & Chief Pondering Officer

Kirk is the owner of ZATO, his Paid Search & Social PPC micro-agency of experts, and has been working in Digital Marketing since 2009. His personal motto (perhaps unhealthily so), is "let's overthink this some more."  He even wrote a book recently on philosophical PPC musings that you can check out here: Ponderings of a PPC Professional.

He has been named one of the Top 25 Most Influential PPCers in the world by PPC Hero 5 years in a row (2016-2020), has written articles for many industry publications (including Shopify, Moz, PPC Hero, Search Engine Land, and Microsoft), and is a frequent guest on digital marketing podcasts and webinars.

Kirk currently resides in Billings, MT with his wife, six children, books, Trek Bikes, Taylor guitar, and little sleep.

Kirk is an avid "discusser of marketing things" on Twitter, as well as an avid conference speaker, having traveled around the world to talk about Paid Search (especially Shopping Ads).  Kirk has booked speaking engagements in London, Dublin, Sydney, Milan, NYC, Dallas, OKC, Milwaukee, and more and has been recognized through reviews as one of the Top 10 conference presentations on more than one occasion.

You can connect with Kirk on Twitter, and Linkedin, or follow his marketing song parodies on TikTok.

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