As an eCommerce retailer, running Google Ad campaign experiments is a critical exercise within your smart shopping arsenal. The ability to actively measure your results and test potential changes to your campaigns before their implementation gives you an insight into the potential ROI and their performance, without the associated risks.

Unfortunately, this insight doesn’t extend to specific shopping campaigns. Leaving users in the dark about whether a manual or an automatic bidding approach will give them the fully optimised and smart shopping campaign that they need.

Understanding Manual Bidding vs Automated Bidding

Before you consider what strategy to use, the benefits and disadvantages of manual and automated bidding strategies are listed here.

Automated Bidding – Benefits and Disadvantages


  • Time Efficient – Google will do the hard work for you freeing up more time to focus on other areas and avoid lengthy campaign monitoring
  • Better Audience Segmentation
  • Accurately predicted campaign data helps you to make better decisions
  • Ideal for those with limited knowledge of campaigns


  • You’re required to keep an eye on any changes to ensure your goals are still being achieved and requirements are met
  • Changes take a while to be implemented and are not instant
  • An extensive budget is preferable

Manual Bidding – Benefits and Disadvantages


  • You’re in full control of your bidding and your keywords, allowing you to bid aggressively and shrewdly when needed
  • Changes to manual bidding processes are instantaneous
  • The freedom to run reports and react quickly to sudden downturns and poor performances


  • The more data, products and campaigns and strategies you have, the more challenging this becomes to manage at a larger scale
  • Human error is also likely
  • Manual bidding practices and subsequent campaign monitoring is time-consuming and lengthy

Understanding the pros and cons of these impressive smart shopping approaches is vital in terms of ROAS (return on ad spend) and making the right choice for your business.

But before you make your choice, we’ve covered important 6 factors you need to consider before selecting your most effective shopping campaign route. Check them out below.


When you’re choosing between a smart or standard shopping campaign for your eCommerce business, time is an important factor you need to consider. How much time can you dedicate to your campaigns? Or is strict campaign monitoring an important aspect of your eCommerce strategy? Let’s examine the demands of smart shopping campaigns and manual campaigns below.

Time and Automated Bidding

If you’re a business that is pressed for time, or perhaps you don’t want to spend excessive periods bidding manually, then an automated smart shopping approach is ideal. Campaign monitoring is incredibly time-consuming which is why many businesses use automated bidding and let Google take control of their accounts. Whether your business is growing, and your resources are stretched, or you’re a fledgling business juggling multiple responsibilities, automated bidding is a strategic approach. That ensures your shopping campaigns remain prioritised.

Time and Manual Bidding

Alternatively, if you have a lot of time for campaign monitoring and you prefer to remain in control of your shopping campaigns then manual bidding is ideal. Additionally, a manual bidding approach allows you to react to your campaign’s performance in real-time, so if you noticed a sudden drop in the performance of your ads then you’ll be able to change your approach and limit the damage to your budget.

Your Experience

Whether you’re confused between manual bidding and automated options, or the entire framework of an eCommerce Shopping Campaign leaves you scratching your head, choosing the right path at this crucial eCommerce junction can influence the success of your campaigns and even the future success of your business. If your experience is lacking and you’re concerned about being left behind, then you may feel tempted to allow Google to take over the complicated and confusing world of shopping campaigns for you. Or maybe you’re hoping to take a steadier approach and manage your keyword bids, make clever decisions and take action when needed on your own carefully conceived strategy. Let’s explore your options further.

Experience and Automated Bidding

If you’re new to the world of Google Shopping, then automated bidding is an advanced smart shopping solution you can use to your advantage. Despite your lack of knowledge with smart shopping campaigns, an automated bidding process will effectively do all the hard work for you, helping you drive your success forward and anticipate a good ROI.
Jumping straight into the often complex and overwhelming world of Google Shopping without the right understanding can lead to plenty of expensive mistakes. An automated bidding approach, however, minimises these risks, allowing users to build on their knowledge of Google Shopping without letting the grass grow under their feet.

Experience and Manual Bidding

In contrast, if you’re a business that is hesitant to relinquish control over your Shopping Campaigns, especially if your enterprise is new, then you may prefer a manual bidding approach to your shopping campaigns. If your experience is minimal but you anticipate changing your goals based on real-time data gathered from your campaigns, then a manual bidding approach will keep you in control of your bid adjustments and fuel your understanding whilst you learn on the go.

Your Budget

Within any business, established or fledgling, budget plays an important role in every decision and every strategy. Therefore, you may not have the financial capacity to simply hand over your Shopping Campaigns to Google, or be able to take financial risks by managing your own campaigns with manual bidding. Ultimately, the goal of your eCommerce campaigns is to obtain a strong ROI and ROAS (return on ad spend) therefore making the right choice between manual and automatic bidding is one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Budgets and Automated Bidding

If your budget is much more flexible and you’re happy for Google to take control of your smart shopping campaign, then an automated approach is a good match. When we use automated bidding, you’re not only paying for the right keywords at the right time, but also for Google to manage your campaign from the outset, this means everything from your priorities and product groups to your bids and negative keywords are taken care of and for some businesses, that’s money well spent.

Budgets and Manual Bidding

If you currently have a limited budget, then remaining in control of your bidding is essential. Despite your financial input, by embracing a manual bidding approach, you’ll still have the opportunity to bid at the right keyword level and bid aggressively to get the terms you need for your campaign subsequently increasing your ROAS.

Have Items Been Advertised Before?

Whilst developing your latest eCommerce Shopping strategy, it’s important that everything you do – whether manual or automated – supports the optimisation of your campaign, therefore giving Google the information, it needs to enhance your online presence is essential. Whether you’re taking a manual or a smart shopping approach your product categories and the segmentation of your products must be prioritised, so you’re promoting a specific range of specifically categorised items, rather than blocks of multiple categories.

Product Advertisement and Automated Bidding

Automated bidding works well when you’re targeting a select number of products within a singular group. This allows other ads to continue to run in the background, influence conversions and increase your ROI.

Product Advertisement and Manual Bidding

If you’re a retailer with multiple listings, you may find that a manual bidding approach fails to provide the flexibility you need to structure your account effectively and meet your campaign goals.

Is There A Lot of Conversion Data?

Your conversion data plays an important role in where your bidding strategy and future shopping campaigns should go next. The ability to benchmark these averages is a smart way to measure the effectiveness of your eCommerce site, your campaigns and is a KPI that should be taken into consideration when choosing between automated and manual bidding shopping campaigns. The amount of data you have can also be an influential factor in your final choice.

Conversion Data and Automated Bidding

As an online retailer, you may already have vast amounts of conversion data to handle, this kind of information can be difficult to strategically apply to a new shopping campaign, which is another reason why automated bidding is such a beneficial smart shopping approach.
Automated bidding is also recommended for target CPA (cost per acquisition) strategies, where retailers allow Google to obtain as many new conversions as possible at the cost set by you. To achieve this, Google Shopping will create a new PPC campaign based on current conversion data.

Conversion Data and Manual Bidding

With manual bidding, you’ll have less flexibility with how you’ll handle your conversion data and structure your accounts. And as the amount of conversion data you collect continues to grow, the challenge of managing all this data along with multiple campaigns can quickly become overwhelming.

What About Remarketing Lists?

Remarketing lists are essential in terms of tailoring your bids and customising your Shopping campaigns to target site and app guests who visited your site but didn’t buy anything. Remarketing lists – in conjunction with your search ads – will help you retarget and connect with these customers as they continue looking elsewhere online, creating high quality, personalised remarketing ads to encourage them to make a purchase and increase your sales.

Remarketing Lists and Automated Bidding

Managing Google Shopping when you have excessive amounts of data and remarketing lists can quickly become confusing and leaves a lot open to human error and missed opportunities. Using automated bidding practices, and smart shopping campaigns means you can make the most of this wealth of untapped data, using it to your advantage and adding dynamic remarketing to your latest strategy with ease.

Remarketing Lists and Manual Bidding

Placing your brand in front of your potential customer’s eyes even when they move away from your site or app is what remarketing is all about. Studies have shown that conversion rates increase when ex-visitors are reminded of products within remarketing campaigns, so creating a dynamic remarketing strategy makes sense, however in terms of manual bidding you’ll be fully responsible for monitoring these campaigns, something which is time-consuming and challenging at a large scale.

Final Thoughts…

The comparison of smart shopping campaigns and manual bidding options is certainly extensive. Now you know what factors to consider before making your choice, it’s time to look at your current situation and decide which approach is best for your eCommerce position.