by Bal


Internet Marketing

Unleash the power of Google Ads Smart Display campaigns

Smart Display campaigns, which were launched last year, utilise the power of Google’s machine learning to automatically reach users at all stages of the buying cycle.  If you are looking to drive new conversions whilst increasing brand awareness (who isn’t!) and are unsure which targeting criteria would be best to start with, this format is designed for you.

What are Smart Display campaigns?

This campaign type requires a user to input a Target CPA, campaign budget, landing page and upload assets which Google will automatically combine and serve to audiences and placements that are most likely to drive conversions at the chosen Target CPA.

This is done by combining 3 optimisation technologies:

  1. Automated Targeting – using machine intelligence and browser data Smart Display campaigns leverage all targeting methods available in regular display campaigns (keywords, placements, demographics etc) and test out all of these in order to learn which users are most likely to convert at your chosen Target CPA. In addition, Smart Display campaigns also remarket to users who have visited your website but not yet purchased. Google state that if you already have remarketing campaigns in place, Smart campaigns tend not to shift users away from those.
  2. Automated Bidding – bid levels will vary depending on the likelihood of a conversion taking place. The campaign may bid more aggressively when a chance of conversion is high but at the same time bid lower for a placement where results have shown there is a lower chance to convert.
  3. Automated Ad Creation – the ad headlines, descriptions, images, and logos provided on creation of this campaign will be combined to responsively fit a range of ad spaces across the Google Display Network. Different variations of these assets will be tested across different ad sizes with each other and over time only the best combinations will show.

What are the requirements for Smart Display campaigns?

To be eligible for Smart Display you will need conversion tracking set up and have at least 50 conversions on the Display Network or at least 100 conversions across the Search Network in the last 30 days.

How has it helped our clients?

Smart Display campaigns have added value to each account we have added this campaign type to. One of the most notable results are from a client account where there were already a number of well optimised Display campaigns running. After the addition of Smart Display late last year, year-to-date this campaign has delivered 50% of all total Display conversions for this client at a 9% lower cost per acquisition when comparing against all other Display activity.

How do you set up Smart Display campaigns?

It is very quick and easy to set up a Smart Display campaign and Google have covered the step by step instructions in detail here.

Smart Display Campaign Tips

  1. The assets you upload must be fully interchangeable e.g. any headline could be paired with any description.
  2. It is important to upload both a 1:1 square logo as well as a landscape logo with an aspect ratio of 4:1 as different logos will work better with different ad space sizes.
  3. Due to this being an automated campaign, there is a learning period of a few weeks so it is really important to avoid any big changes during this time. Google advise to wait for about 40–50 conversions before making any changes.
  4. Ensure you have enough daily budget to account for at least twice your target CPA bid.
  5. There is an option to create account-level placement exclusions to prevent your ad showing on particular websites highlighted in the placement reports.
  6. Under the ads tab, assets will be ranked ‘best’, ‘good’ or ‘low’ based on how well they’re performing. If the label applied is ‘learning’ this means the system needs time to gather more data. It is recommended to remove any assets labelled ‘low’ and replace them with assets similar to the ones labelled ‘best’. It is important to make small, incremental changes in order to not radically change the learnings the campaign may have made thus far.


Having tested this format extensively for a range of clients across different verticals, we are confident in stating that this campaign type is without fail something to trial in your account.

If you have any questions about this campaign type or need any help setting up a campaign, please feel free to get in touch.


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