If you’ve tried to set up a Google Ads campaign recently, then you’ll no doubt have been prompted towards trying a ‘Smart’ campaign.
There are a few different types of Smart campaigns:
- Smart campaign
- Smart display campaign
- Smart shopping campaign
In this edition of Digital Marketing FAQs, I’m not going to go into the full nuts and bolts of what smart campaigns are and the differences between the types of smart campaigns.
However, what I am interested in answering is whether or not YOU should use Smart Campaigns for your business.
After all, Google is heavily pushing advertisers towards the use of Smart Campaigns, on the basis that they simplify management and could potentially enhance performance.
So, should you use Smart Campaigns or should you avoid them like the plague?
On one hand, you have people (like Google Ads support/sales reps) who swear by the performance and potential of Smart Campaigns. After all, it’s super tempting to be able to quickly and easily set up a campaign with minimal configuration and management.
On the other hand, professional Google Ads managers, digital agencies etc will tell you that Smart Campaigns are thermonuclear garbage and should be avoided like the plague.
So, should you use Smart Campaigns? And where does the truth like?
The truth is - as you might expect - somewhere between the two.
Smart Campaigns are generally not the best option if you have a substantial budget and/or a desire for the best possible management and optimisation. If you want the best out of Google Ads and want to maximise the potential of the platform for your business, then you want to use the full interface and features.
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However, if you run a small business or have a limited advertising budget, then Smart Campaigns could be a good option.
While you give up a lot in terms of control and optimisation potential, you get the benefit of all of your budget going to your advertising (instead of having of having to allocate some to professional management) and you don’t have to do much in terms of management.
Let’s say you run a local service business (e.g. a plumbing business that services your local town/city) and you have a budget of $250 per month to spend on Google Ads. To get professional management you’d probably need to spend at least half that - if not more. This leaves you with $125 for ad spend. However, with a Smart Campaign your full budget can go to advertising, which is generally going to get you more bang for your buck.
On the other hand, if you run a nationwide business with a complex range of products or services and you have a substantial budget for advertising (let’s say $5000 per month), then you’d be much better off with professional management and full featured campaigns.
In my view there is basically a continuum, and depending on where you sit on that continuum your business may be a candidate for Smart Campaigns, or you may be better off with proper/fully-featured campaigns and either detailed DIY management or professional management.
If you’re not sure which “camp” you fall into, then send me a message or email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll give you some advice.