Create and manage Smart display campaigns

Smart display campaigns automate and then optimise targeting, bidding and ads. Powered by Google's machine learning, a Smart display campaign can automatically find new and existing customers, set the right bids and create engaging ads that adapt to any screen or ad space across the web and apps. On average, advertisers who use Smart display campaigns have seen 20% more conversions at the same cost per acquisition (CPA) when compared to their other display campaigns.

Smart display campaigns combine your assets – headlines, images and more – to create image and text ads. They can even transform into native ads, blending seamlessly into the look and feel of publishers’ sites. Over time, your ads optimise based on what wins you conversions. Learn more about how native ads work.

This article tells you how to create and manage Smart display campaigns. Learn more about Smart display campaigns.

Before you start

  • Make sure that you’ve set up conversion tracking and that you meet the conversion-based eligibility requirements. To set up a Smart display campaign, you need to have gained at least 50 conversions on the Display Network across your standard display campaigns, or at least 100 conversions across your search campaigns in the last 30 days.
  • Make sure that you have sufficient daily budget to account for at least twice your target CPA bid.
  • Gather your ad's assets like headlines, descriptions, images and logos.
Additional controls available to you: 
 
Whilst targeting within Smart display campaigns is automated, AdWords offers additional controls to help you manage where your ads appear. You can create account-level placement exclusions to prevent your ad from being shown on specific sites. You can also create site category and content exclusions.

Best practices if you already use remarketing:

  • If your existing remarketing is fairly simple (for instance, it only involves one user list), consider using a Smart display campaign instead of a specific remarketing campaign, since Smart display campaigns include remarketing. You can even link your feed for dynamic remarketing. If you already have a feed in your account, it will be linked to the Smart display campaign when you start it. Learn more about feeds for responsive ads.

Instructions

Select the AdWords experience that you're using. Learn more

Step 1. Planning: Determine how to structure your Smart campaigns

Here are guidelines for structuring your Smart campaigns:

  • Create separate Smart display campaigns when you need to have separate budgets for each
  • Create separate ad groups within Smart display campaigns for different product lines or services
  • Create separate Smart display ads within your ad groups to group assets that work well with each other

Step 2. Planning: Determine what a conversion is worth

Bid based on the amount that you're willing to pay for each conversion. So if you're focused on generating leads, set a CPA bid that reflects the value that a new lead brings to your business. If you're focused on generating sales, set a CPA bid that reflects the value that each new order brings to your business. The rule of thumb:

  1. Determine how much a conversion is worth.
  2. Based on your value per conversion, determine how much you’re willing to pay to get that conversion in the first place.

Example: If you’re selling shoes at £50 per pair, and you expect 1 out of 10 people to buy a pair of shoes, you may want to set your CPA target to £5.

If you're collecting leads for your spa services, and each lead, on average, results in a £5 profit, you may choose to set a CPA bid of £1.00 for each lead submitted.

The numbers above will vary based on your business – experiment with bids around the amount that you want to pay and adjust them over time based on what works best for you.

Learn more About target CPA bids.

Step 3. Set up your campaign

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. On the page menu on the left, click Campaigns.
  3. Click the plus button , then select New campaign
  4. Choose from the Leads, Sales or Website Traffic goals. (If the information in this article doesn't reflect what you're seeing, you may have a different version of goals. For information on your version, please see this article).
  5. Select the Display campaign type.
  6. Select Smart display campaign.
  7. Click Continue.
  8. Pick your geographic and language targeting for this campaign.
  9. Enter your daily budget and CPA bid.
  10. Click Save and continue.
Note: Ensure that the Smart display campaign has the right dynamic feed attached for your account, if applicable. Learn more about feeds for responsive ads.

Step 4. Enter your assets

Enter several assets per category – headlines, descriptions, logos and images. Enter one landing page. Important: Your assets must be fully interchangeable within each given Smart display ad. Any headline, for example, could be paired with any description. Here are the guidelines for each type of asset:

  • Headlines: Your headlines are the first line of your ad. Headlines can be up to 25 characters. Write headlines that make sense combined with any of your descriptions, images and landing page.
  • Description: Your descriptions add to your headline and invite people to take action. They can be up to 70 characters. Write descriptions that make sense combined with any of your headlines, images and landing page.
  • Logos: Upload 1:1 square logos. The recommended dimensions are 1200 × 1200, but logos can be as small as 128 × 128. In addition, if applicable, upload a landscape logo with an aspect ratio of 4:1. The recommended dimensions for a landscape logo are 512 × 128. A transparent background is best, as long as the logo is centred. Upload logos that combine well with any of your headlines, descriptions and images. The maximum file size is 1 MB, and most common non-.gif formats are accepted.
  • Images: To get the greatest reach, upload multiple 1.91:1 landscape images. The recommended dimensions are 1200 × 628 (landscape) and 1200 × 1200 (square), but images can be as small as 600 × 314 (landscape) and 300 × 300 (square).  Upload images that work well with your logo and make sense combined with any of your headlines, any of your descriptions and your landing page. The maximum file size is 1 MB and the supported file types are JPG, PNG and static GIF.

If you'd like to generate a second set of asset pairings, you can create a new ad later on. The assets that you provide in each ad are used interchangeably only within that ad.

Step 5. Let the system optimise for conversions

Smart display campaigns can take some time to scale and stabilise depending on how many conversions you’re getting (a higher conversion volume typically yields faster optimisation). Let the system learn which assets and strategies work best. This can take about two weeks, if your campaign has a few conversions a day – a good rule of thumb is to wait for about 40–50 conversions unless you’re not achieving any at all. In that case, consider raising your target CPA bid until conversions start coming in.

Step 6. Check your performance with the asset report

Here are instructions to check your performance:

  1. On the page menu on the left, click Campaigns.
  2. Click the name of your Smart display campaign to see a report about how each of your assets are performing.

Assets are ranked relative to each other as 'best', 'good' and 'low', based on how well they've generated conversions. A status of 'waiting' means that your asset hasn't yet been reviewed and approved, and a status of 'learning' means that the system is still gathering data.

Step 7. Use your asset report to make small, incremental changes

After you check your asset report for a new campaign, you may choose to remove 'low' assets and replace them with assets more like your 'best' performing ones. After those assets generate enough performance data to be ranked, which can take up to two weeks, you may choose to again remove 'low' performing assets.

Bear in mind that assets are ranked relative to each other. As you make small changes, don’t be surprised if assets that used to be ranked as 'good' now rank as 'low' – even if their absolute performance hasn’t changed.

Important: To avoid volatility and enhance optimisation, don’t make big, sweeping changes to your campaign.

Was this article helpful?
How can we improve it?
New Previous