Google Ads Smart Campaigns – Are they really that smart?

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In June 2018, Google introduced Smart Campaigns as the default campaign type setting in Google Ads. So if you sign up for a new Google Ads account, your campaigns would be created as Smart Campaigns unless you otherwise select the standard Search Campaign or other type.

What are Smart Campaigns?

Smart Campaigns attempt to automate the advertising for your business including how the ads are created with automatically generated headlines and targeted. The algorithm scans your website to draw out this information. It can create both Search and Display advertisements. It’s all designed to make getting up and running with Google Ads easier and more accessible to the average business owner.

But are they really that smart?

Well, sort of. The Google algorithm can do a pretty great job at drawing information out from your website and from similar advertisers.

Take for example, a luxury women’s pyjama brand we were working with. Their target market was women in their 30s-50s who were a little more affluent and wanted high-quality, contemporary styled pyjamas and loungewear. Before we looked in the account, they were relying solely on Google Smart Campaigns. The problem was that the Smart Campaigns generalised the advertisements to pyjamas so there was ad copy for men’s and children’s pyjamas as well. They don’t in fact even sell these ranges so to be advertising for it was not only a waste of money but also misleading to their brand image!

If you were to do it manually (or enlist the help of an expert) you would be able to add more granular targeting to give higher weighting towards the female demographic of this age range, plus write more compelling ad copy to showcase the brand in the best light.

Part of this also relies on what content you have on your website. If your website has a fair amount of descriptive content and some SEO optimisation then a Smart Campaign could be even more accurate. But if there is very little content to go off of or content that is vague then I believe the Smart Campaigns would have a harder time getting it right.

We’re not quite there yet

Whilst I do see the appeal of Google Smart Campaigns and I’m very excited to see where this is all headed (hey anything that can make advertising on the web get up and going more quickly) I don’t think we’re there quite yet to be relying on Smart Campaigns. There is still massive value in getting an expert to help you get setup or have a look over what you’re currently running to ensure you’re spending your money wisely and representing your brand well.