06 December 2022
Let’s start from the beginning, Smart Campaigns are fully automated Google Ad campaigns; They are easy to set up and make decisions for you using Artificial Intelligence. What kind of decisions, you ask? It could be bidding strategies to maximise conversions for your budget, it could be showing your shopping campaigns to new audiences they think could convert... the list goes on. Google Ads will even encourage you to select all the default options to run a Smart Campaign, so you might not even realise your campaigns are ‘Smart’.
Google describes Smart Campaigns as “the new default campaign type for Google Ads, designed to help business owners improve the way they promote their products and services online. These campaigns can be set up in minutes … so you can spend more time on other business tasks.”
Win, win, right? We explore some disadvantages too:
In theory, Smart Campaigns should harness all the intelligence and machine learning Google holds to give you the absolute best results and best value for money. However, that’s not entirely true... With more automation comes less control and unfortunately Smart Campaigns mean you get less data about ad performance, and ultimately that makes optimisation more challenging for the average digital advertiser.
The Artificial Intelligence also needs a lot of data to perform in the right way, and when an ad is just launched it doesn’t have that level of human understanding yet. Think of it like learning to drive – the car is data, and ultimately you just can’t drive without the car.
Smart Campaigns, being that they aren’t human like us, will have different motivations than you might have. This too can get in the way of performance, unless you know what you’re doing and can act with real precision. For example, targeting and bid control. Google earns money based on clicks not lead generation, so you can imagine how this can skew Smart Campaign success... Google is prioritising clicks, when you want decent engagement and conversions off your website too. So, this begs the question:
The good news is, it’s not all fully automated and run by robots, there are areas you can adjust and remain in control of! If you’re managing your own ads, check out our checklist below on how to improve your Smart Campaigns and continue maximising conversions:
Our experts have been successfully optimising campaigns for years, even earning an exclusive partnership with Google – safe to say, they know a thing or two.
Whilst Smart Campaigns are hugely beneficial when you’re just getting started, our experts use more advanced Google technology which has earned us our Google Premier Partner Status. This incorporates elements of automation and Google AI but also allows for more customised campaigns for our clients, meaning we have more control over objectives, target audiences, business strategy, business goals, revenue, ROAS, etc.
You might be thinking, I already do most of the above steps and my campaign results still aren’t improving! This might be the reason why - as an agency, we have access to more advanced features which means we can input much more detail into the ad set up. Smart Campaigns are unfortunately quite limited in that they remove many of the input and analysis features which allow experts to optimise campaigns.
For example, when analysing campaign performance, we can make the decision to add different ad extensions e.g., image extensions to achieve our objectives and in doing so reduce the cost per click whilst driving click throughs. But with Smart Campaigns, they limit the amount of data you have to analyse, and it can sometimes cut off your ability to really understand campaign performance.
It's all about conversion tracking for long term growth. This is the most common area our clients start to scratch their head, luckily for you, our ability to turn data into strategies is where we shine!
Depending on the objective, we monitor and optimise campaigns based on target audience website actions that are considered ‘valuable’. This is the most challenging data to interpret but gives high quality information which is essential to fully understand the customer journey for optimisation.
We believe in harnessing the power of new technology for long term growth including smart bidding, responsive search and display ads, performance max campaigns etc, without handing over the reins.
If you’re looking for a digital strategy partner and PPC expert to drive sustainable growth for your business, you’ve come to the right place. Get in touch today and see how much further your budget can go with our experts.
We might even go as far as to say, it would be a ‘Smart’ decision 😉