Smart Shopping

A new Smart Shopping format will also roll out later this year, and videos are coming to Display ads.

Google announced several updates for Smart Shopping campaigns, which run across Search, Display, YouTube, and Gmail, on Wednesday. Here’s a look at what’s rolling out and what’s coming later this year.

Shipping annotations

Starting Wedesndsay in the U.S., Smart Shopping ads can include annotations such as free or fast shipping. Google has long showed annotations, or flags, on standard Shopping ads to highlight price drops and shipping offers. With consumers shopping online more and higher demand continuing to cause shipping delays during the pandemic, highlighting fast or free shipping offers in your ads can be a real draw.

The annotations appear dynamically and pull from your product feed and Google Merchant Center account.

New customer optimization in Smart Shopping

Also starting Wednesday, advertisers can optimize Smart Shopping campaigns for new customer acquisition with conversion goals.

Smart Shopping campaigns get shipping annotations, 'new customer' bidding control

“Conversion value for new customers is the sum of the purchase value and the new customer value you set. The combined value is attributed to a purchase made by a new customer,” explains Google in its help page on the topic.

Google will capture new customers in one of two ways. If you have conversion tracking set up to track purhcases, it will automatically set up an audience based on the last 540 days of campaign activity and tracked purchases. You can also add your own tagging for more control over which customers Google counts as new versus returning.

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Immersive ad format and video

Google also announced it may start displaying Smart Shopping ads in a new format starting later this year.

Smart Shopping campaigns get shipping annotations, 'new customer' bidding control

Browsable Smart Shopping ad formats coming later this year.

“Just as Smart Shopping campaigns can optimize bids and placements, the format in which products are displayed will also respond to customers’ needs. We’re adding more visual features to help customers easily discover more retailers, explore options and narrow down who they want to make a purchase with,” a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land.

“For example, let’s say a customer is browsing around for furniture ideas across websites and apps. They may see a video Display ad from a retailer’s Smart Shopping campaign (the sample image on the right) to help showcase relevant products in that moment. After more research, the customer narrows down their choices and starts searching specifically for ‘side chairs’. They may see a more immersive, browsable experience with a carousel of multiple retailers’ most relevant products. (the left and center images),” the spokesperson added.

Why we care

As with the updates to responsive search ads that Google also announced Wednesday, these updates for Smart Shopping indicate that machine learning-powered formats and campaign types are where everything is headed. Advertisers will have to understand how to leverage controls such as the new customer acquisition conversion value to further inform automation and make them more effective.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

Ginny Marvin was Third Door Media’s former Editor-in-Chief (October 2018 to December 2020), running the day to day editorial operations across all publications and overseeing paid media coverage. Ginny Marvin writes about paid digital advertising and analytics news and trends for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, Ginny has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

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