So you’re interested in advertising on Google?

That’s great! But which campaign type should you be running to start with?


Google Ads smart campaigns are one of the best campaign types to dip your toes in the water if you are new to the world of PPC advertising. But what exactly is the difference between running a smart campaign and a regular Google ads campaign?


Let’s deep dive into the similarities and differences and how you can set up your own Smart Campaign. 


What will we cover?

  • What are Google smart campaigns? 
  • What are regular Google Ads campaigns?
  • How to set up Google ads smart campaigns.
  • In summary: the pros and cons, choosing the right Google ads campaign for your business.
  • How can CampaignHero help?

What are Google Smart Campaigns?


Smart campaigns are the new default campaign type for Google Ads users, they are designed to streamline the process of setting up a regular Google ad campaign by using automation and machine learning to best meet business objectives whether it be calls, leads or website visits. Smart campaigns appear in the format of either search, display ads or shopping. 


Let’s take a look at an example Google Smart Campaign. 


Amy’s Bakery in London is new to PPC advertising but wants to promote their London branch to increase their leads for interest in orders within the area. As Amy is new to the platform, Smart Campaigns would be the best option for her in terms of functionality, budget and effectiveness. Google will automate and tailor ads for bakery products of interested audiences within the London area by placing the business on both the Google Search Network and the Google Display network, enabling her to reach a wide range of her target audience.

Who should be using Google Smart Campaigns?

  • Small businesses
  • Businesses with low advertising budget
  • No marketing team or money for a marketing agency
  • If you’re too busy to learn the in’s and out’s of the Google Ads platform.

What do we mean by regular Google Ad Campaigns?

The way regular Google Ad campaigns function remains essentially the same as smart campaigns, except you have more control on different building blocks ranging from campaign type, placements, keywords and assets. 


Types of Google Ads Campaigns

Google search ads, Google display ads, Google video ads, Google Gmail ads

Search Campaigns 

Search ads appear in Google’s search results either at the top or the bottom of the page. These ad types help you reach people who are searching for specific products or services that your business has to offer. This could be to purchase or to find a solution for a problem they have.


Display Campaigns

Google’s Display ads are eligible to appear across more than two million websites within the Google Display Network, including YouTube, Gmail and Apps. These are shown to potential consumers who have shown interest in your business category, these are usually visible earlier in the buyer cycle, before they start searching and exploring your business further. 


Shopping Campaign

If you are an ecommerce business, then shopping campaigns are the one for you. Shopping campaigns allow you to display your products in a much more visual way. They can appear in the search results page and within the Google Shopping tab.


Universal App Campaign

If you have an app you want to advertise, then this campaign type is for you. Similar to how they appear in apps on the display network, app campaigns are a little more automated, you do not have to design each individual ad, rather Google’s automation will take your assets and will construct them for you. 


Video Campaign

Video ads appear within the YouTube platform which come in a variety of different forms including unskippable ads, discovery ads, overlay and banners.

How to set up a Google Ads Smart Campaigns

Let’s use our example of Amy’s bakery to set-up a Google Smart Campaign, watch the video to learn more, or take a step-by-step walkthrough with me.

Step 1: Create a new campaign

Creating a Google Ads Smart Campaign

If you already have a Google Ads account, you can simply head over to campaigns and click the blue + sign to get started on creating a new campaign. If you have just set-up a new account, the option for Google Smart Campaign set-up should already pop-up as a default.

Step 2: Select your campaign type

Selecting your campaign type with Google Smart Ads

Firstly, select your objective: what is it you are trying to achieve? Be mindful that only some of these options are available for smart campaigns. Once you’ve selected your objective, select your campaign type, in which you want to choose Smart, like above.

Step 3: Enter information about your business

Entering your business name in Google Ads Smart Campaigns

Enter your business name, or select the account you want to advertise from, so for example purposes, we swing back round to Amy’s Bakery.

Step 4: Enter your website and preview it across mobile and desktop devices

Preview your website for your Google Ads Smart Campaigns

Enter your website URL (don’t worry, you don’t need to add any UTM tracking here). You will then get a preview of your website on desktop and mobile devices, make sure your website is also optimised for Mobile as you’ll waste a lot of your budget on bounced visitors. 


Step 5: Add your ad headlines and descriptions


Writing your ad headlines and descriptions for Google Smart Campaigns

You’ll then reach the exciting part, what your ad will look like! Add your headlines and descriptions within the character limit, remember to capitalise and follow Google's advertising guidelines and best practices in order to produce the most effective text that will grab your target audience’s attention.

Step 6: Add your keywords

Adding keywords to your Google Ads Smart Campaign

The other important element to your campaign, adding your keywords. By scanning your website Google will suggest some keyword themes to add to your campaign, but you can also search for your own. Using our example, we will select bakery related keywords which will match audiences searches. Here you will also select what language you want to advertise in, which is already defaulted to English. 


Step 7: Enter the location where you want your ads to appear

Entering location to your Google Ads Smart Campaign

Enter the location where you want your ads to appear, you can add a radius around a certain address or you can advertise in specific cities, postcodes and regions. If you just want to advertise locally and get people to visit your location, I recommend you select the radius option.

Step 8: Enter your budget

Entering budget for your Google Ads Smart Campaign

On this step, Google will suggest daily budgets for you and will show you a forecast of results, but you can go against the grain and enter your own budget if their suggestion is either too little or too much. If you’re stuck on what the right budget is for you and your business, try out the CampaignHero Ad Spend Calculator.


Step 9: Review your campaign and finalise 

Finalising your Google Ads Smart Campaign

And your campaign is ready to go! You’ll reach this final review page where you can preview your Smart Campaign and make any last minute changes. 


To summarise: The pros and cons of each campaign

So, what is the best campaign option for you? 


Well Smart Campaigns bring the benefit of automation through their machine learning, research has shown that Google’s Smart campaigns are three times better than traditional campaigns at getting ads to appear in front of the right audience. These campaigns continuously tweak and refine strategies by themselves which makes the perfect go-to for PPC beginners. But if you’re looking for a little more control and ability to really refine your campaign strategy, then maybe try a regular Search Campaign, without the smart option. This will require more optimisation from your side, but if you already have previous data and have tested assets that work within your audience landscape then dive in and give it a go!

In summary - comparing Google Smart Campaigns and regular Google Ads Campaigns

Unfortunately, Google’s Smart Campaigns have a bad reputation, especially from the standpoint of agencies and marketing freelancers, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. If you’re a small business and new to the PPC landscape then smart campaigns offer you the benefit of budget control, automation and guidance until you’re ready to dive deeper into all of the other campaigns Google has to offer.


How can CampaignHero help?

If you’re new to Google Ads or just looking for a little extra support, CampaignHero is designed to fit around your business goals and help you meet objectives. The CampaignHero app and support team help SMBs advertise across Google Ads whether they are new or experienced on the ad platform. Head over to our offers page to find out what Google Ads spend coupons we have to offer your business to get you started.


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