With so much control given to Google’s algorithm, it’s tempting to set up the campaign, let it run and hope for the best.
If it fails to produce any desirable results, the temptation is to blame it on the algorithm that isn’t working for you.
However, if it outperforms your manual, standard shopping campaigns, you’ll keep it running.
Why fix something that isn’t broken, right?
Although the majority of the process is handled by Google’s algorithm, don’t fret.
There are still things you can do to improve the performance of your smart shopping campaigns.
Here are four strategies we’ll explore in this blog post:
- Improving page load time
- Up-to-date pages & product feeds
- Improving click-through-rate
- Getting the basics right with Google’s guidelines
1. Improving page load time
Everyone knows how Google loves a speedy website.
So if your site is taking a long time to load, you’re wasting your budget!
One way to find out if your site is fast enough is to check Google Analytics.
- Head over to Google Analytics - Behaviour > Site Speed > Page Timings
- Are any of your key pages loading faster or slower than others?
- Have a browse about, compare your results across multiple pages.
- Compare it against last year, last month, last week.
Can you see any changes?
Keeping an eye on your average page load time will help identify whether your site is performing well.
- Further reading: About Site Speed
It also helps spot any changes to your site’s health. Don’t forget to compare your page load time against the industry benchmark, which is 1-3 seconds.
Staying competitive with your page speed helps reduce your smart shopping campaign costs.
We’ve seen a direct correlation between improving site speed and a better smart shopping campaign performance.
The results include capturing more search traffic than competitors and usually at a lower cost. Ultimately, this should mean more revenue for you!
In addition, quick page speed helps retain users to your site and reduce your bounce rate, a huge benefit for all marketing channels.
In other words:
Lower page load time = less budget used
Our go-to tools for measuring pagespeed & load times:
2. Up-to-date pages & product feeds
Keeping your web pages and product feeds filled with relevant content is a must.
The need for an up-to-date product feed and site is even more prominent if you’re using smart shopping campaigns.
Google’s machine learning algorithm combines your existing product feed and assets, testing them in various combinations, as well as taking care of bidding and the placements it’s showing it to.
In other words, it takes almost full control of the entire process where traditionally, you would’ve been the decision maker.
There are still some things we can do to monitor the performance of our smart shopping campaigns. In this instance, we need to check our landing pages and product feeds.
While you’re reviewing your page copy or product feed, ask yourself these three questions:
- Are they relevant enough to the audience you’re targeting?
- Are they speaking your audience’s language?
- Are you using the right (key)words?
If the answer is “yes”, you’re doing a great job. Well done!
Just remember to keep checking your landing page every so often to stay on top of this.
If you answered “no” to any of the questions, you might want to add that task to your to do list.
Good SEO & CRO practices are key here so it’s time to make use of your SEO skills, or get professional help if needed.
Refreshing your keyword research is a great way to start. Include both organic and paid keywords in your analysis for the best of both worlds.
3. Improving click-through-rate
How are your CTRs looking these days?
Are they high or lower than average? If your CTR is high enough, chances are you’re doing a great job monitoring your smart campaigns.
If you’re noticing a drop then go back and check your page load time.
Your CTR is at its lowest when the page load times are the longest.
CTR comes before page load. So why is that being affected? As mentioned, page speed is a huge factor in your smart campaign performance.
If your page speed is low, then the algorithms won’t push your site as much. It will cost you more to reach the same amount of traffic and your CTRs will drop.
You’re not reaching as many impressions or clicks as before, your ads are likely to show in lower positions.
In other words
Lower page load time = less budget used = higher CTRs
4. Getting the basics right with Google’s guidelines
Going back to basics once in a while is a good strategy to follow. Making sure you have the essentials locked in place will help you identify other areas of improvement. Such as the ones we mentioned above.
That brings us to Google’s guidelines on how to track performance of smart campaigns.
- Make sure you’re adhering to Google’s recommendations.
- Take the extra steps to comply with the requirements.
Then you’ll be in the right place to further monitor and improve your smart campaign’s performance.
Google has made it clear that automation is the future of PPC.
Finding ways to increase the performance of our smart shopping campaigns is the best way of embracing this shift to automation.
So, take our recommendations, test them out, let us know if they work for you!
Rafaela spends her days immersed in Google Ads and other advertising platforms. Migrating from in-house to agency, she enjoys working with a variety of clients across many industries.