Get Smart | Making your Smart Campaigns, Smarter

06 December 2022

// What is a Smart Campaign? 

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: 

// How do you optimise Smart Campaigns? 

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: 

  • Review your keyword themes It’s important that your keywords are combined into highly relevant ad groups, so that you can then serve the most relevant ad copy for each group of keywords. The more relevant your ad copy is to your group of keywords, the higher your ad quality score would be, which ultimately means that the algorithm will like your ads better and help you perform better.   
  • Adjust your location settings Make sure you are only targeting the locations where your target users regularly are, and don’t waste budget elsewhere. 
  • Review your budget Is it big enough to reach your target audience effectively? Is it too big for a niche demographic and is struggling to spend? Check this regularly, PPC can offer 200% ROI but the work has to be put in and regularly monitored. 
  • Consider your ad copy and assets - Google recommends a minimum of three different ads, but you also need to make sure your USPs and business info is included in the ads. Don’t forget a call-to-action too! 
  • Optimise your actual website for users - Make sure your landing page is relevant and appealing, believe it or not Google can tell if it's not a relevant page and will not prioritise visibility on your ads. 
  • Link your Smart campaign to Google Analytics Google Analytics is an essential tool for measuring overall website performance. It reports live on how your ads are performing compared to other channels like organic, direct, social etc., so you can make informed decisions about your business. 
  • Link your Business Profile to your Smart campaigns If you don’t have a Business Profile yet, then go ahead and setup one now - ( ). Your Business Profile shows essential information about your business organically on the SERP and on Google Maps. Linking it to your Smart campaign means that all this information (opening hours, location, business reviews) will be shown as an extension to your paid advert. Knowledge is power after all! 
  • Regularly review your Search Term report Search Term reports show the actual queries users searched for that triggered your ads to show. Some of them may not be relevant for you and could be wasting budget, so review your Search Term report at least once a week and make sure you add the irrelevant keywords as “negative” keywords. 

// What's the advantage of an agency optimising your campaigns? 

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. 

// So, how do we know ‘how and when’ to optimise? 

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 😉