Smart display campaigns offer a simple, intelligent solution to managing the complex variables of display advertising, and may be the most effortless way to broaden your customer base and win new conversions. Use a smart display campaign to show ads in almost all formats across the Google Display Network, reaching people at all stages in the buying cycle – from people with demonstrated interests to customers just about to buy.
Across the Display Network, smart display campaigns combine 3 optimisation technologies to take the labour and guesswork out of targeting, bidding and ad creation:
- Automated bidding. Using Target CPA as a basis, smart display campaigns optimise to set your bids according to the likelihood of conversion in each and every ad auction, seeking to give you the best possible value.
- Automated targeting. Targeting optimises as your campaign runs, which means that your ads increasingly show where they’ll get you the most business. Where applicable, smart display campaigns use dynamic prospecting to match your feed to the likeliest converters.
- Automated ad creation. Ads are automatically generated from the building blocks you provide, like headlines, descriptions, logos and images. They responsively fit into almost all ad spaces across the Display Network.
This article gives you an overview of smart display campaigns. To get started, jump to Create and manage smart display campaigns. We now have an option to use Smart Display campaigns with Pay for conversions. Read more here.
A top-performing campaign in minutes. You enter the building blocks for your ads – like headlines, images and logos – and we’ll find you as many customers as we can within the CPA bid and budget you control.
Smarter, not harder. Smart display campaigns automatically optimise within days. Your campaign automatically selects the best combination of assets to give you the best performance. In this way, you can learn which of your headlines, descriptions, images and logos perform best.
Find the people who matter most. Reach the people who are most likely to convert and get as many conversions as possible at a bid that you set. Smart display campaigns optimise your performance with automated bidding and targeting, including remarketing. Enhanced by dynamic prospecting, which matches user profiles to your product or service feed.
When to use
Smart display campaigns may be a good choice for you if:
- You want to attract additional customers beyond your manually targeted campaigns
- You use conversion tracking and you meet the conversion-based eligibility requirements. To be eligible to set up a smart display campaign, you need to have at least 50 conversions on the Display Network – or at least 100 conversions on the Search Network – in the last 30 days.
- You've limited your Display Network advertising to remarketing, but now want to reach people earlier in the buying process
- You’re new to advertising on the Display Network and want a fast and highly performing campaign
What you gain with a Smart campaign:
- A much simpler campaign construction flow
- A friendly interface to manage your ads
- A new, streamlined way of tracking your progress
What you leave behind:
- Manual bid strategies
- Settings like delivery method or device
- Desktop-only or mobile-only campaigns
- Manual targeting
- Manually creating all your ads
- Ability to change your Smart campaign into a different type of display campaign
How automatic bidding works
Smart display campaigns use target CPA, focusing on conversions. Your Smart campaign optimises to bid most aggressively when performance data suggests the highest likelihood of conversions, and bids significantly less when data suggests that there is a low likelihood of conversion. After a necessary learning period, your campaign should begin to optimise either within 2 weeks or after it generates about 50 conversions, whichever comes first.
Pay for conversions
You can choose to pay for conversions, instead of clicks on smart display campaigns that use Target CPA bidding. When setting up your campaign, go to the 'Bidding' section. Look for the header labelled 'Pay for' and select Conversions from the drop-down menu. Learn more about pay for conversions.
How automatic targeting works
To help you reach the people who matter most to your business, automated campaigns use performance data to aggressively seek conversions. Smart display campaigns combine two targeting methods: automatic remarketing to people who have visited your website and also automatic targeting, which excels at catching customers 'mid-funnel' – that is, much earlier in the buying process.
For example, say you sell sparkling water. Ordinarily, you may not have thought to include “office supplies” as a targeting keyword for your sparkling water campaign. But if there are strong associations between “office supplies” and sparkling water sales, automatic targeting will work to get you sales with that targeting. This is just one example of one keyword. Smart display campaigns can find many such keywords, using machine intelligence and browser data to target signals that you couldn’t have anticipated on your own.
Don’t worry if you already have other campaigns using remarketing – a smart display campaign tends not to shift customers away from those unless you choose to combine them. When you have multiple campaigns serving ads to the same audience, we'll always use the ad that’s most relevant.
Learn more about automatic targeting.
- Smart Display campaigns are not compatible with audience or user list targeting.
- While targeting within smart display campaigns is automated, Google Ads offers additional controls to help you manage where your ads appear. You can create account-level placement exclusions to prevent your ad from showing on specific sites. You can also create site category exclusions.
About dynamic prospecting
Dynamic prospecting is one way to extend the power of your feed-based dynamic remarketing to reach new users with your high-performing products. Unlike dynamic remarketing, which is focused on getting the most value out of your existing customers, dynamic prospecting is used to acquire new users. This difference makes dynamic prospecting the preferable method if you’re a new advertiser or if you’re targeting an audience different from your own first-party data (including your remarketing lists).
How it works
Dynamic prospecting uses machine learning to predict which feed items prospective buyers are looking for. Using historical feed performance and user behaviour, dynamic prospecting predicts which new users are most likely to perform well for items in your feed. Once the system finds statistically significant relationships between feed items and user intent, it combines that possible intent with demographics-based information such as age and gender to match the user’s intent with a relevant product in your feed. The products in your feed are evaluated and selected based on performance, relevance, and other factors to determine which ones are most likely to lead to conversions.
Smart display campaigns are recommended for dynamic prospecting campaigns, since they can simply and easily combine dynamic remarketing users with prospecting users for effective full-funnel setup.
Imagine that you're a hotel provider, and a customer wants to have a holiday in Paris. This customer is researching many topics about Paris, such as its cultural attractions, restaurants, hotels and flight options. Since you've enabled dynamic prospecting, every new bit of relevant information in this user’s journey that indicates their travel intent to Paris helps Google's systems know that showing your Parisian hotels to this customer is more likely to lead to a relevant, assistive-style ad that this user may be more likely to convert from.
How ad creation and optimisation works
Say that you want to launch a campaign, but you don’t know what images and text to use in your ads. You decide to enter your assets (headlines, description lines, images and logos) and run them in a Smart campaign. Here’s what happens next.
- The system combines your individual assets into ads that automatically resize to fit any standard ad size or type, automatically selecting the best combination for each impression
- Your ads show in targeted ways to people browsing one of the millions of websites on the Display Network
- When the assets have accrued enough data, you get reports on how well they are performing
- You learn what works best and what doesn't work, and you can adjust your campaign to use the most effective images and text
- You save time while benefiting from the system’s capacity to optimise your campaign
What do my ads look like?
Smart display campaigns run responsive ads on the Display Network. Responsive display ads will replace responsive ads as the default ad type for the Display Network, and they can also be used in smart display campaigns.You can control the look and feel of your ads by uploading assets such as your headline, logo, description and images. Google will use your assets to render ads, and optimise them to improve their performance across the Display Network. The responsive display ad’s adaptability allows you to expand your reach and improve your performance without you having to create dozens of ads in all the combinations of ad types and sizes.
To use responsive ads to remarket specific products to people who’ve recently seen them on your website, attach a feed to your Smart campaign. Your ads may show images of the products accompanied with your marketing text. The feed can be attached through the 'Settings' page, or during campaign creation under 'Dynamic ad settings'.
It’s impossible to preview all the thousands of possible combinations that could make up your ads with a smart display campaign. Your ads are designed to look great as long as you add images and logos that fit within the image ratio specifications. They’ll also be able to blend into publisher’s websites as native ads, giving you impact that standard ads may not.
How performance data works
As your campaign ramps up, you’ll want to see results and manage your assets. The smart display campaign asset report includes example ads and performance data:
- Example ads. Click View more sizes to see more examples in many of the sizes that your ads run.
- Performance data. Use your table to view data for each asset – including how Google has graded the performance of that asset based on its ability to produce conversions.