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Are Your Google PPC Campaigns Smart?

Updated on September 25, 2023
Posted on October 13, 2020 by Brent Wildman

What are Google Smart PPC campaigns?

Smart Campaigns have nothing to do with the intelligence or the savviness of your PPC strategies; they’re a service from Google designed to simplify the Google Ads process for people short on time and technical expertise. 

If you struggle with the complicated dashboards, ultra-deep analytics, keyword research, and cutthroat bidding, then Google Smart Campaigns might be for you.



What Are Google Smart Campaigns?

Google Smart Campaigns are like training wheels for your PPC campaigns. All the complicated, time-consuming processes of traditional Google Ads are simplified and automated to make the PPC advertising easy. 

Google Ads are powerful; there’s no doubt about it. The top three advertising spots at the top of the search results get 46% of the clicks on the page. Google also processes around 70,000 search queries per second and controls 92.42% of the global search engine market. Putting your ads at the top of the search results can bring massive awareness to your business—but you have to work for it.

To truly master Google Ads, you need technical and marketing expertise, coupled with lots of time to devote to research and bidding. For most small companies, that’s simply not an option. They either don’t have the time or the technical knowhow to get the job done.

Google Smart Campaigns simplify the process. Within 15 minutes, anyone can have a PPC advertisement running on Google—just like if you used Google Ads—with no experience necessary. You can benefit from some added exposure and sell your products and services just like major corporations do.



Smart Campaign Features

While Smart Campaigns don’t have all the features of a full-fledged Google Ads campaign, there are still plenty of goodies.


Simplified Dashboards and Reports

The PPC dashboard is your hub of operations. [graphic] A digital dashboard shows geographic location, statistical graph and more.

The most important feature of Smart Campaigns is the ease of use. Google Ads’ dashboard is complicated and has a steep learning curve. Smart Campaigns has a simplified interface that’s user friendly, and the campaign overview feature shows you all the analytics a PPC newbie would need to know, like:

  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • Amount spent
  • Search phrases
  • CTA clicks
  • Map actions

Use this information to see which tactics work, which don’t work, who’s visiting your site, and where they’re coming from. With all that data at your fingertips, you can make even more effective advertising decisions.


Mobile Accessibility

This is a big one for marketers on the go: Google Smart Campaigns can be built and managed entirely from your mobile device! Start PPC campaigns, manage your advertisements, and view analytics from the palm of your hand.


Easy Editing 

At the bottom of the dashboard page, you’ll have control over your entire PPC campaign. You can adjust the budget, change location targeting and update your business category and information at any time.


Keyword Management

Keywords are one of the most critical parts of a PPC campaign. They’re also one of the most time-consuming. For Smart Campaigns, you select a few main keywords for which you’d like to rank, and Google helps you find the rest, saving you tons of time and effort on research.

If you don’t like a keyword or phrase that Google picked for you, you can manage them in an easy-to-use list. Simply deactivate the ones you don’t like, and you’re ready to rank (or not rank).

The only downside to the Smart Campaigns’ style of keyword management is the same as the positive: it’s simplified. You don’t have as much control over keywords as you do with a regular Google Ad campaign, but for people without the time to research, it’s a suitable solution.


Automated Targeting

Using your business information, Google will automatically target users around you who are most likely to purchase your products or services. With Google Ads, that kind of targeting can take months of remarketing, targeting metrics, IF functions, and playing with custom audiences. With Smart Campaigns, Google runs your business information through its algorithms and does all the targeting work for you.


Google Map Actions

From finding a restaurant to getting around town, everyone uses Google Maps. With Smart Campaigns, you can create local ads right on Google Maps. Your business will stand out with a prominent square pin and a listing at the top of the search results. You can also highlight specific services like delivery and pick-up options or any other offerings that make your business unique.


Ad Scheduling

If your business is closed on weekends, do you really want people clicking on your Google ad, spending your money, and calling when you’re not even there? With Google Smart Campaigns, you can schedule ads to run on specific days of the week and add start/stop times for each day. 

Create an ad schedule with multiple campaigns to customize your PPC advertising for maximum engagement. If you run a restaurant, display breakfast ads in the morning, lunch promotions in the afternoon and dinner specials at night. You can make your ads as timely as you want.



How to Use Google Smart CampaignsHow to Use Google Smart Campaigns. [Cartoon] Person's hands at laptop, three icons above, conceptualizing PPC campaigns.

To start using Google Smart Campaigns, you need to create a Google Ads account. Don’t worry; you won’t be thrown into the complexities of Google Ads. There will be a “Start Now” button on the right side. Follow the prompts to start your first Smart Campaign with Google. When it comes time to choose the style of campaign you want, simply click on the “Smart Campaign” box. The entire process takes only about 15 minutes, and you can do it from your computer or mobile device. 


Smart Campaign Tips for Maximum Ad Performance

Just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s foolproof. Here are a few tips to boost your Smart Campaign’s performance.


1. Start Small

Smart Campaigns are meant for beginners. They teach you the ins and outs of PPC advertising in an easy, controlled environment. Start with a small budget and work your way up as you gain experience. Once you feel comfortable, you can move to Google Ads.


2. Schedule Ads with Your Business Hours

With pay-per-click ads, you pay each time someone clicks on your ad. As mentioned above, someone who clicks your ad and tried to call when your business is closed is a waste of money.

Schedule your ads to run during business hours to make sure that someone is available to take the call, answer the chat or respond to an email when someone tries to contact you.


3. Watch Your Search Phrases

Since Smart Campaigns automatically generate search phrases, they might include some you don’t want. Keep an eye on the search phrases and toggle any that don’t fit with your promotion. 

“Free” is one of the most common keywords that shows up in search phrases. If you don’t want your products or services showing up when someone is looking for free stuff, make sure it’s turned off.

When Should You Avoid Using Google's Smart Campaigns?

Google's Smart Campaigns aren't a one-size-fits-all. In these situations, you should avoid using them for your PPC campaigns:

  • You don't have hard conversion points
  • No client-facing tracking
  • If it is more expensive than using Google Ads
  • If your budget is low

Google Smart Campaigns make PPC advertising possible for anyone. If you’re interested in boosting your online visibility and gaining helpful customer insights but lack the time or experience for Google Ads, a Smart Campaign might be for you.



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