Last month Google introduced its first new solution, Smart Campaigns, under its Google Ads brand. Aimed specifically at Small Businesses, Smart Campaigns look to automate ad creation, audience targeting, and ad delivery across Google properties. Google’s rebranding efforts of its advertising products beginning last year, stems from the desire to simplify things for marketers.
Knowing that many small businesses don’t have large marketing staffs or a tremendous amount of time and resources, Google is looking to create easy digital ad solutions to meet their needs. According to Google’s announcement, Smart Campaigns help small businesses create ads in minutes and connects them with relevant customers to drive real results.
Many of you may have tried AdWords Express, launched back in 2011 by Google. While touted as a quick and easy automated service, many businesses didn’t experience a very simple process. Smart Campaigns are built on AdWords Express technology, which has gotten better and is continuing to be developed.
Smart Campaigns utilize machine learning algorithms to help users become more successful digital advertisers. They rely on data collected from Google’s other platforms such as search, YouTube, Gmail, and Google Maps and Play, which provides behavioral, location, device and other signals to give targeted audience optimization. All of this information is analyzed and helps Google Ads dynamically adjust a campaign’s keywords, bids, and ad placements.
Smart Campaigns, like Universal App Campaigns are delivered across Google’s properties, and do not give small businesses the ability to turn off certain channels. This is a point worth highlighting. With simplification comes some limitations. In making this tool fast and easy, Google has restricted some options. It does not give you the ability to fine-tune where, when, and how your money is spent.
The user does set campaign goals, which can include website visits or clicks, request for directions or phone calls. This is good. However, what small businesses are looking for are leads that turn into sales. And that’s always been the tricky thing about keywords. For example, someone who searches “windows” is a homeowner at the beginning of their project searching general terms. Compared to a homeowner who searches “replacement window contractor Naperville, Illinois. ” These clicks are more likely to become leads because this homeowner is clearly closer to taking action.
So while Smart Campaigns are designed to get you more clicks through its simple and automated nature, they may not result in more sales. You need those high intent clicks based on long-tail keyword searches to make that happen. Reporting is currently available at the aggregate campaign level. So companies will have to do some tracking of their own if they go the fully automated pay-per-click route initially to really ensure the success of their PPC program.
Plus, two more future offerings by Smart Campaigns that will be rolled out later this year include landing pages and Image Picker. For small businesses that don’t have websites, Google will create optimized landing pages so visitors of a digital ad have someplace to click through to. And Image Picker will allow users to upload three photos or choose three from Google’s suggestions to highlight or showcase what makes their business unique. Smart Campaigns will also test image and text combinations to get users the best results.
Small businesses may want to give this a shot if their current AdWords campaigns are not going great. Google will continue to evolve their Ad products and services to help companies move efficiently into the digital world. You’ll have to test and see what tools work best for your company and produce the best results on a long-term basis.