Create and manage Smart Display campaigns

We’re bringing the flexibility of standard Display campaigns and the automation of Smart Display campaigns into a single Display campaign. In addition to the existing benefits of Smart Display campaigns, you now have the ability to choose the level of automation that you prefer in bidding, creatives, and audiences. If you want to access the new features and controls, choose "Standard display campaign" in Google Ads. Learn more about the changes to Display campaigns

Smart Display campaigns automate and then optimize 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 action (CPA) when compared to their other display campaigns.

Smart Display campaigns combine your assets—headlines, images, and more—to create responsive display ads, which have replaced responsive ads as the default ad type for the Display Network.These ads can even transform into native ads, blending seamlessly into the look and feel of publishers’ sites. Over time, your ads optimize based on what results in 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. We now have an option to use Smart Display campaigns with Pay for conversions. Read more here.

Before you begin

  • Make sure that you’ve set up conversion tracking and that you meet the conversion-based eligibility requirements.
  • Make sure you have sufficient average daily budget to account for at least 10 times your target CPA bid.
  • Gather your ad's assets like headlines, descriptions, images, and logos.
Additional controls available to you:
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 and content exclusions and topic and keyword exclusions.

Some tips if you already use your data segments:

If your existing data segments are is fairly simple (for instance, it only involves one user), consider using a Smart Display campaign, since Smart Display campaigns include remarketing. You can even link your feed for dynamic your data segments.

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 display ads.

Optimize your campaign as you create it

As you create your campaign, you may receive notifications based on your setting selections. These notifications may alert you of issues that can result in decreased performance or that may be significant enough to prevent you from publishing your campaign.

The campaign construction navigation menu that appears as you construct your campaign provides a holistic view of your construction progress and will call attention to notifications that you may want to address. Move between steps in the navigation menu to easily review and resolve potential issues with your targeting, bidding, budget, or other campaign settings. Learn more about features that help you create a successful campaign


Step 1. Planning: determine how to structure your Smart Display campaigns

Here are guidelines for structuring your Smart Display campaigns:

  • Create separate 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 responsive 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 you're willing to pay for each conversion. So if you're focused on generating leads, set a CPA bid that reflects the value a new lead brings to your business. If you're focused on generating sales, set a CPA bid that reflects the value 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 for each 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 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 Google Ads 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 average daily budget and CPA bid.
  10. Click Save and Continue.
  11. Click on Additional settings.
  12. Click on the drop-down under “Dynamic ads.”
    • This drop-down will select “No data feed” by default
  13. Click the checkbox next to “use a data feed for personalised ads”
  14. Select the relevant Data Feed from the drop down menu
  15. Click Save.
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. Create your responsive display ads

Responsive display ads are the new default ad type for Smart Display campaigns, and make it easier way to show your ads across the Display Network. These ads are asset-based, and automatically adjust their size, appearance and format to fit available ad spaces. With the assets that you enter (including logos, headlines, images and descriptions), Google automatically generates your ad as ad spaces become available, and optimizes the use of your assets for the best performance. Responsive display ads can show as almost any size text, image or native format.

If you create dynamic responsive display ads by associating a feed with your responsive display ad (and Smart Display campaign), bear the following points in mind:

  • If you include a formatted price in your feed, then it will be used instead of the price prefix that you add in Google Ads when creating up your ad.
  • Because these ads show as more sizes than your dynamic feed images can fit to, your ads may not always use images from your feed.
  • Products shown in preview are for illustrative purposes only. Please ensure that your feeds are compliant with our Personalised Advertising Policy. 
  • Google may show layout tags for retail advertisers, such as "new", "hot" or "price drop", on relevant products in order to drive performance. These layout tags appear automatically based on product insights from the feed. Learn more.
  • Not all assets will appear when your ads show. Sometimes, for example, your ads may show without images to increase your reach across the Display Network.
  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. From the navigation panel on the left, select Display campaigns.
  3. Click Ads & assets from the page menu on the left.
  4. Click blue plus button .
  5. Select Responsive display ad.
  6. Select an ad group. If you want your responsive display ads to support dynamic remarketing, make sure your ad group, or its campaign, is attached to a feed.
  7. Add and save your images. To give you access to all our ad formats, images are required. Having multiple assets is recommended, because it makes it easier for Google to optimize your ads. You can upload up to 15 marketing images and 5 logos. You can crop a single image to the landscape and square formats, or use separate images for each aspect ratio. Upload your images, scan them from your website, or select from our free library of professional stock images. You can also select from recently used images.
    • Landscape. If you choose the upload option, keep in mind that your landscape image should have a ratio of 1.91:1 and be greater than 600 x 314. The file size limit is 5MB.
    • Square. If you choose the upload option, keep in mind that your square (1:1) image should be greater than 300 x 300. The file size limit is 5MB.
    • Logo (optional). If you choose the upload option, keep in mind that your logo should be square (1:1) and should be 128 x 128 or greater. The recommended size for the square logo is 1200 x 1200. For best rendering, it is also recommended to add a landscape (4:1) logo, which should be 512 x 128 or greater. The recommended size for the landscape logo is 1200 x 300. For all your logos, a transparent background is best, but only if the logo is centered. The file size limit is 5MB.
    • Avoid text. Text may cover no more than 20% of the image. Note: To fit in some ad spaces, your image may be cropped horizontally—up to 5% on each side.
  8. Complete your ad information. You can create multiple headlines and descriptions to be rendered in your responsive display ads. You can upload multiple versions of the following:
    • Write a short headline (at least 1, or up to 5 headlines, of 30 characters or fewer). The short headline is the first line of your ad, and appears in tight ad spaces where the long headline doesn't fit. Short headlines may appear with or without your description.
    • Write a long headline (90 characters or fewer). The long headline is the first line of your ad, and appears instead of your short headline in larger ads. Long headlines may appear with or without your description. Note: When rendered in an ad, the long headline's length will depend on the site it appears on. If shortened, the long headline will end with ellipses.
    • Write a description (at least 1, or up to 5 descriptions). The description adds to the headline and invites people to take action. It can be up to 90 characters, and may appear after the (short or long) headline. Note: The length of the rendered description will depend on the site it appears on. If shortened, the description will end with ellipses.
    • Business name. This is the name of your business or brand.
    • Final URL. This is where people will go when they click on your ad.
    • Optional: Go to advanced URL options to add tracking or custom parameters to your URL.
    • Optional: Click MORE OPTIONS and select Call to action text. From the drop down menu (on the left) select a language and from the drop down menu (on the right) select a specific call to action text.  
    • Optional for dynamic responsive ads: promotion text (ex. “Free two-day shipping”) and price prefix.
  9. Preview the most popular sizes and ad formats of your potential ads. Since responsive display ads ads are built to reach across almost any ad space on the Display Network, they can show in thousands of layouts.
  10. Click Save.
  11. Wait at least a week after your ad is approved before you review its performance. Before that, your data is still incomplete.

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

Step 5. Let the system optimize for conversions

Smart Display campaigns can take some time to scale and stabilize depending on how many conversions you’re getting (a higher conversion volume typically yields faster optimization). Let the system learn which assets and strategies work best. This can take about 2 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 has not yet been reviewed and approved, and a status of "learning" means 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 2 weeks, you may choose to again remove “low” performing assets.

Keep 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 optimization, don’t make big, sweeping changes to your campaign.

Learn more about managing your responsive display ads.

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