How to create your smart ads campaign

Ellie Burns Written by Ellie Burns

5 min read   -  6th March, 2024

How to create your smart ads campaign

Smart ads are a bit of a buzzword in the digital marketing community, especially in an increasingly AI-driven, PPC world. But what exactly are they and how can they be a benefit for your business?

These ads have emerged as a dynamic tool for online advertising, offering an enticing streamlined approach to ad creation and a fresh approach to reaching untapped audiences.

Let’s go through exactly what they are, their limitations, and when they might best be put to use. By the end of this delve into smart ads, you’ll know whether they are right for your business, and exactly how to get started:

What are Smart ads and how do they work?

Smart ads are a type of Google ad campaign that use machine learning algorithms to automate the creation, targeting and optimisation of your ads. These can be created across a variety of digital platforms including search, display and shopping.

These ads use real-time campaign data along with user behaviour insights to automatically change all sorts of elements in your campaign. From the copy and messaging, to the placement and bidding strategies. The aim is simple: maximise your ROI. 

How to make smart ads
This is one of the quickest ways to create an ad campaign in Google Ads, across multiple sections of Google (Search, Display, Google Maps etc):

1. Click the Campaigns icon in your Google Ads account.
2. Click Overview.
3. Click through to “All smart campaigns” and select “+ New Campaign”.
4. Select your smart campaign type:

  • Search
  • Display
  • Shopping
  • Video
  • App
  • Smart
  • Discovery

5. Then choose which customer action is most desirable for your campaign:

  • Calls to your business
  • Visits to your site
  • Actions on your website

6. Add your business details.
7. Choose your target locations for your ads.
8. Select some keyword themes for your campaign.
9. Craft your ad templates.
10. Pick your budget.
11. Review and launch your first campaign!    

What are the benefits of using Smart ads?

Automated optimisation
Smart ads can help streamline your campaign management by autonomously optimising ad placements, bids and targeting based on real-time data analysis. The meticulous, time consuming elements of campaign creation are all taken care of.

Think of how much time you could save through strategically using smart ads in some of your campaigns. There’s little need for manual management, especially when it comes to creating ads that are similar but with specific unique differences. (For example, a company selling TV wall brackets, each with their own unique measurement for the perfect fit. You’ll need hundreds of ads, which would take weeks to manually build out.)

This frees up substantial hours of your day, giving you more time to focus on analysis, strategy and optimisation for your business. The important bits!

Enhanced reach and relevance
Smart ads leverage some pretty advanced targeting capabilities so you can reach a more relevant audience. This increases the likelihood of engaging with future customers, driving those conversions forward.

When and why should you use Smart ads?

When you’re new to Google Ads
This method of ad creation is accessible, cost effective and simplified. It’s  easy to use. This also forms the basis of your education in Google Ads. You can learn as you go and as your campaign grows, so does your education in Google Ads management.

When you have limited historical data
Smart ads make use of machine learning algorithms to aim for the best results for your campaign, even when you don’t have lots of data to go off of. This ad type can be a really useful starting point as you develop your understanding of your brand and audience personas.

When you want to save time
You can get a basic smart ads campaign up and running in literally a few minutes. So if speed is the most vital order of the day, consider smart ads as a good foundation. 

Where can you advertise with Smart ads?

Smart ads are predominantly available on the Google Ads platform, allowing advertisers to reach audiences across various channels, including Search, Display, and Shopping.

You can also use smart ads to target users on Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail and many more Google partner websites. It’s really unprecedented coverage of the available online advertising space, so explore and see what options are best for you.

How do Smart ads compare to other ad types?

Smart ads are revolutionary in their automation. Compared to traditional online advertising campaigns that required a manual setup and ongoing management, smart campaigns automate the majority of the process.

Any keywords for your smart campaign are generated for you, based on your business’s products or services, thanks to Google’s machine learning model. Simply add in a few keyword suggestions when you initially set up your campaign. “Search phrases” can also be used in these campaigns, which group your keywords into categories. You can then manually toggle these groups on or off as you prefer. 
By contrast, standard campaigns have a detailed keyword section where you control every single detail. It’s useful, but only if you have the time and commitment to dedicate to changing keywords, negatives and match types manually.

Bidding is all automated too, based on the budget parameters that you set. Say goodbye to manually adjusting every little part of your bidding strategy; smart ads take the weight off your shoulders for a bit. Contrastingly, standard campaigns can be manually updated with specific bidding strategies in mind, such as Target CPA or Max Conversions.

It's important to take a look at URLs in smart campaigns too, as this is another key difference. Smart campaigns can only add one landing page per campaign (use a category page for your smart shopping ads), whereas traditional campaigns allow you to add in multiple URLs to each campaign.

In summary

Smart ads are a game-changer, if you use them in scenarios where they are actually beneficial to you. If you’re looking to save time or have limited resources or data available, smart ads can be a great option. 

They represent a part of a new frontier for online advertising; machine learning meets manual management. Smart ads are a simple way to dip your toe into this emerging marketing opportunity, without giving absolutely everything over to AI.

Understanding the suitability of these ads to your specific business requirements is the key to whether or not you’ll have more success with them, or with a more conventional campaign. We say the best way to find out for yourself, is to give them a try.

It starts with discovery

Speak to us today and let’s start growing your business.

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It starts with discovery

Speak to us today and let’s start growing your business.