5 Ways To Extract Data From Google Smart Shopping Campaigns

Find out WTH your SSC campaigns are really doing. 

Google Smart Shopping Campaigns have all the promise – sales performance and brand positioning in a single easy-to-setup campaign interface – but they don’t have all the data.  

They run on all networks – search, display, YouTube, and Gmail – but remove most of the dimensions and metrics advertisers are used to.  

For example, you can’t see any search terms – not even significant ones

You may be asking, how can one optimize shopping campaigns without search terms? 

Easy! You don’t! Apart from creative, advertisers are left with only two adjustable levers: budget and a return on ad spend target. Shifting each individually controls campaign aggressiveness.   

That said, I am not here to tell you about the why or the how – Kirk Williams from Zato Marketing has a great Udemy Course for that. 

I’m here to talk about 5 ways to extract data out of the black box that is Google Smart Shopping. 

After a few weeks of SSC data collection, I dove headfirst into reports, adding & removing every metric/dimension/data point it would let me.  

What did I find? A handful of reports that actually returned data.

I’m sharing my findings with you in this post. Keep reading or watch my video to learn: 

  • The data you’ll find
  • How the data can help you
  • How to build the reports yourself 

 Let’s get into it!

The Reports

Demographic Data 

Demographic data – gender, age, etc. – isn’t available to any shopping campaign type, so this quick custom report build will deliver insight for both standard shopping campaigns and smart shopping campaigns.

You’ll uncover insights into campaign performance across a variety of metrics including Impressions, Clicks, Conversions, Cost, Conv. Value / Cost, and more. 

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to add any exclusions or bid adjustments to your shopping campaigns (either type) based on the data you find with this report, but it can give you an indication of the demographic segments that are performing best. 

I have a women’s apparel client that currently targets the female demographic only. I was happy to see that the large majority of my SSC spend was targeting that demographic segment:

Google smart shopping demographic reporting

Nice work, Smart Shopping!

How To Build This Report

  1. Click reports in the dark grey Google Ads header > click reports again.
  2. Hit the + CUSTOM button. 
  3. Select table.
  4. Give it a name – I used “SSC – Data Discovery – Demographic Data”.
  5. From the metrics and dimensions sidebar, add Campaign first.
  6. Filter by your SSC/campaign names.
  7. Select a demographic dimension of your choice (I used gender, but could be age or others).  
  8. Then, add a few metrics of your choice. 
  9. See what you get! 

Google Retail Category

You might want to sit down for this one! 

Another quick custom report build will uncover a list of Google Retail Categories that represent the search terms that are triggering your SSC ads. 

The Google Retail Category dimension is a list of “labels” that Google uses to categorize the terms users type into Google search. This is fully automated by Google and has nothing to do with the custom product type levels you set in your Google Merchant Center feed.

There are five levels of Retail Category labels. The first level is the most broad category, the fifth is the most specific category. Depending on the product your SSC targets, you might only see two or three levels when pulling this report. 

This is arguably one of the best ways to see if your SSC is serving impressions to the right users on Google search – that is, if you trust Google’s categories. 

After pulling this report, I was pleased to see that 94% (!) of my spend was allocated toward a (3rd level) Google Retail Category that perfectly matched the products in my SSC.

Google smart shopping retail category reporting

Note: this is a truncated view of Retail category level 3 to protect my client’s interests. 

How To Build This Report

  1. Click reports in the dark grey Google Ads header > click reports again.
  2. Hit the + CUSTOM button. 
  3. Select table.
  4. Give it a name – I used “SSC – Data Discovery – Google Retail Categories”.
  5. From the metrics and dimensions sidebar, add Campaign first.
  6. Filter by your SSC/campaign names .
  7. Add as many retail category dimensions as makes sense for you (there are 5 levels).
  8. Then add a few metrics of your choice. 
  9. See what you get! 

YouTube Impressions

These next two reports are not custom reports, rather custom campaign level views within the standard Google Ads interface.

Note: This next section only applies if you’ve added a YouTube video to your Smart Shopping Campaign’s creative. 

Running YouTube placements in Smart Shopping campaigns is a great way to gain incremental brand exposure without the extra cost of running separate YouTube campaigns. 

Adding the “video played to” dimensions to your SSC is a quick and easy way to confirm if your YouTube video is serving impressions or not.

Beyond impressions, a high video completion percentage is an indication that your YouTube creative is resonating well with users!

When I set my custom columns, I was happy to see that 74% of SSC YouTube viewers were watching to 100% completion. 

Google smart shopping YouTube reporting

Since my SSC was hitting it’s return on ad spend target, this was bonus! 

How To Build This Report

  1. Click All Campaigns from the dark gray left-hand navigation pane in Google Ads. Note, this won’t work from the Shopping Ads breakdown. 
  2. Confirm that you’re at the campaign level. 
  3. Filter by your SSC/campaign names. 
  4. Click Modify columns. 
  5. Type “video” to search for “Video played to”.
  6. Select that dimension and apply.
  7. See what you get! 

Pro Tip: If you create a duplicate of your video and upload it to YouTube unlisted, you can use that unlisted version for SSC only. 

This will allow you to confirm viewership a second way via YouTube Analytics’ Top Traffic sources. This method will leave your original video ranking and accessible to organic traffic. 

Youtube views smart shopping ads

New Vs. Returning Customers

Smart Shopping Campaigns can use any audience to target users across display and search, including remarketing audiences. 

Many PPC practitioners fear that the large majority of conversions from SSCs will end up coming from remarketed users, not new users. 

Applying this simple segment at the campaign level can give you insight into the split between your new vs. returning customer breakdown over a variety of meaningful metrics, including ROAS. 

Before showing the data I found, it is worth noting that  SSCs currently have two options for selling to users: 

  • Online sales to new and existing customers (default)
  • New customer acquisition 
Google smart shopping new vs returning customers

When I added this segment to my SSC, I was shocked to see that 69% of my conversions came from NEW customers.

google smart shopping new vs returning customers reporting

How To Build This Report

  1. Click All Campaigns or Shopping Campaigns from the dark gray left-hand navigation pane in Google Ads. 
  2. Confirm that you’re at the campaign level. 
  3. Filter by your SSC /campaign names. 
  4. Make sure the columns show meaningful metrics (Impressions, Clicks, Cost, Conversions, Conv. Value / Cost. and more).
  5. Click Segment > Click Conversions > Click New vs. returning customers.
  6. See what you get! 

Search Term Match Type

Search term match type is pretty self-explanatory for most Google Ads advertisers. 

In a search campaign, there are 3 main match types

  • Exact – same meaning or same intent as the keyword target
  • Phrase – same meaning as the keyword target
  • Broad – related to the keyword target, but does not have to include the same terms

In both standard and smart shopping campaigns, there are no match types because there are no keywords. 

Shopping ads are dynamically and automatically triggered by the information provided in your Google Merchant Center feed. 

So, WTH does Search Term Match Type have to do with shopping then? 

It’s hard to say

But when I ran this report I saw that 100% of my spend was allocated to the exact match type. 

Google smart shopping keyword match type reporting

Exact what?Exact title match to search query meaning?Exact title match to search query intent?
Who knows! Why this dimension pulls data in the first place for SSC is a total mystery.

How To Build This Report

  1. Click reports in the dark grey Google Ads header > click reports again.
  2. Hit the + CUSTOM button. 
  3. Select table.
  4. Give it a name – I used “SSC – Data Discovery – Search Term Match Type”.
  5. From the metrics and dimensions sidebar, add Campaign first.
  6. Filter by your SSC/campaign names. 
  7. Add search term match type as a row. 
  8. Then add a few metrics of your choice as columns. 
  9. See what you get! 

Let me know if your report shows anything other than exact match!

Bonus: Negative Keywords for Smart Shopping

Removing brand terms is one way to really push the limits of smart shopping campaigns. 

While there isn’t an interface for us PPC practitioners to add negatives, Google reps CAN add negative keywords to SSCs. 

Once the negatives are added, you will not see any changes to the Google Ads interface. 

You won’t see any change history and you won’t see the keywords tab magically appear. 

But you can ask your google ads rep for a screenshot to confirm the negatives are added. 

While you might see an initial drop in performance after adding negative keywords, give your SSC a few days of learnings. 

We saw our ROAS targets completely recover with NO brand included 😀

Google smart shopping negative keywords

And there you have it folks, 6 ways to find out WTH your Google Smart Shopping campaigns are up to.

In this post, I covered all six reports, the dimensions of each report, what data to expect when you build them, how they can help you, and how to build them! 

I even gave you a bonus tip to remove brand keywords from SSCs – you’re welcome 🙂

Now, I know you want to drop everything and go see for yourself, but before you start building reports, I want to remind you that these reports should not make or break SSCs for you.

None of these reports individually deliver enough data to determine if a smart shopping campaign  is worth it for your e-commerce store. 

These reports pull interesting data that can help confirm or deny your biases about SSCs, but they should not be the individual deciding factor for pausing any SSC. 

If you have a great use case for Google Smart Shopping Campaigns and they’re hitting your ROAS targets, keep on keeping on!

Please don’t hesitate to Tweet me @cjsoldwisch with any new findings in your own data discovery sessions! 

If you want to learn more about Google Shopping data (this time for standard shopping campaigns) check out this blog post covering how to see audience data across campaigns. Or, learn more about 澳门拉斯维加斯官方网站’s E-commerce services.

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