We’ll be honest—a year ago, we never recommended Google Shopping to beauty brands.
There was too much competition. Individual sellers list products on Jet or eBay for a fraction of the retail value, and those listings would gain preference every time. The lowest price always wins.
But now, when we consult with our current or prospective beauty clients, we almost always recommend enacting a Google Shopping strategy. So what shifted?
Google Smart Shopping.
We talked about Google shopping being free a few weeks ago, but this is a different conversation. Google Smart Shopping is part of the advertising side of Google Shopping, not just listing your product so it shows up in organic search.
Google Smart Shopping
The advent of Google Smart Shopping transformed how we as an agency viewed the platform.
Essentially, Google Smart Shopping lets Google’s algorithm optimize your product campaigns when you advertise on Google Shopping. Google does all the hard work of testing and automating your ad imagery, copy, placement, and bidding:
“With Smart Shopping campaigns, your existing product feed and assets are combined with Google’s machine learning to show a variety of ads across networks. Our systems will pull from your product feed and test different combinations of the image and text you provide, then show the most relevant ads across Google networks. . . Google also automates ad placement and bidding for maximum conversion value at your given budget.” (via Google)
This automation will save your brand a ton of time, since you won’t have to make product feeds from scratch. The algorithm and bidding is really efficient as well, additionally saving you money. Even brands who have MAP issues have seen semi-successful results.
We’ve seen the results of these optimizations with our own beauty clients. Whereas before, we might spend $2,000 and only return $200, now we are returning at a 1, but often return at a 2 or 2.5—without a human analyzing and optimizing each campaign.
Tips for Google Smart Shopping
Optimize Your Product Feed
Google Smart Shopping pulls information based on your product title and product description, so make sure that information is optimized for search. Make sure that all your products are correctly named and optimized for search; they should feature your brand name and the product name.
Treat it as Awareness
Smart shopping really supplements all of your brand’s pre-existing search efforts, making for a more well-rounded Google Ads account.
Don’t expect Google Shopping to be a main stream of revenue for your brand. Instead, think of this ad type like you would a prospecting or awareness campaign. Google Shopping is a defensive move that won’t actively drive profit, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important.
The purpose of Google Shopping is to take up real estate and hopefully convert someone from buying from another retailer—but the most important part is just having your brand’s name out there.
Don’t Feel Like You Have to Rely on Smart Shopping
Smart Shopping has worked incredibly well for most of our beauty brands. However, that doesn’t mean that will be the case for your brand.
We theorize that brands with a lot of SKUs that span different product categories might not do well on Google Shopping, despite the fact that you can divide campaigns:
“In order to maximize performance, Google recommends that you consolidate your Smart Shopping campaigns and only create separate campaigns when necessary due to business requirements (e.g. different ROAS goals for different parts of your product inventory).” (via Google)
So even though you can divide campaigns to combine products with similar goals, it might not be ideal if your products have vastly different audiences, as Google’s algorithm might have trouble optimizing a set of products that don’t align audiences.
Need help navigating the world of Google Smart Shopping? Reach out to the experts at Blue Wheel today!