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Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising: Google Ads Smart Campaigns

by Joshua Reynolds - May 31, 2023
There are many techniques to help your brand or website be found online, but pay-per-click advertising, also called PPC, is what we have found to be the most effective tool to drive traffic to your website quickly. Over 70% of businesses say that PPC is a huge driver of awareness and leads. Source

Pay-per-click advertising, as it sounds, is a type of digital marketing that only charges you every time someone clicks on your ad. This means PPC campaigns are affordable, flexible, and highly targeted. Users that arrive on your website or webpage through a PPC ad are 50% more likely to purchase something than visitors from organic search. Source

Pay-per-click campaigns can be as simple or complicated as your business needs. From highly targeted ads for services or products to building brand awareness, there are a plethora of ways to utilize PPC campaigns. One of these methods is setting up a Google Ads Smart Campaign. 

What is a Google Ads Smart Campaign?

A Google Ads Smart Campaign is a management tool that partially automates PPC campaigns to save you time and effort. Smart campaigns allow brands to quickly create consistent campaigns with minimal Google Ads experience. 

To launch a smart campaign, set up your Google Ads account, create a single ad, select your category, and then set a budget. That’s it. 

Smart campaigns can be effective for many businesses if they’re used for one-time campaigns like special events, sales, or new product drops.

Advantages of Google Ads Smart Campaigns

There are both benefits and drawbacks to deploying a Google smart campaign, which we have outlined below to ensure your business chooses the best PPC management for your needs.  

As previously stated, smart campaigns are simple to set up and deploy. According to Google, smart campaigns help you highlight selling points of your business and attract qualified customers with an easy-to-use interface. 

The only things you need to do when setting up a smart campaign are choosing keywords, the content of your ad, and a budget. Google takes care of the rest, displaying your ad automatically on Google Search, Google Maps, Youtube, Gmail and other Google partner sites. Based on the keywords you choose and the content of your ad, Google will identify the geographic areas most relevant and ensure your ad is shown there. 

Save Time & Effort
The usual Google Ads campaigns have various moving parts that you need to control and manage throughout your campaign. Things like keywords, negative keywords, geographic targeting, bidding, and so much more.

So, if you need to launch a PPC campaign quickly, a smart campaign is the way to go. It is quick to set up, create, and launch. It allows for minimal effort high-impact marketing efforts available to users with minimal or no Google Ads experience. 

Machine Learning & Automation
Using a Google Ads smart campaign is a great example of utilizing machine learning and automation for your business advertising. 

The most significant areas that utilize machine learning and automation are optimization and ad content. Google’s algorithm will pull from your existing website and Google Business Profile to create ads consistent with your existing digital branding. Additionally, Google will identify the best ad placement for your business, such as platform and geo-targeting to present your ad to the users most likely to engage with your ad. 

Limitations of Google Ads Smart Campaigns

There are a few limitations of Google Ads Smart Campaigns that can be a pain point depending on your business.

Less Control
A key issue you may face when using a Google Ads Smart Campaign is a lack of control. Due to the simplicity of Smart Campaigns, there are only so many things you can change or customize. Geographic targeting, ad placement, and content customization are all up to Google. 

So, simplicity also creates some drawbacks that can affect your bottom line. Google doesn’t run your business day-to-day, and it definitely doesn’t have first-hand experience with your audience. So, automated ad placement and targeting can end up showing your ad in the wrong places. This leads to spending money without receiving the conversions you wanted. 

Less Data
Now, a big limitation for many users of Smart campaigns is the lack of ad performance data. The more data you have, the more informed your business decisions can be. So any reduction in data can seriously undermine your ultimate business goals, especially in digital marketing. 

You still have access to a pared-down dashboard and analytics, so you get some information, but it is nowhere near as comprehensive as a traditional Google Ads campaign. 

Limited Goals
During the setup of your Google Ads Smart Campaign, you will have to select the ‘goal’ of your ads. In a usual Google Ads campaign, you can get very granular about your goals because there are no presets—unlike Smart Campaign. 

The available presets include sales, leads, and website traffic. All great goals for your business.  Still, the ability to track and collect data for potential leads is adjusted or completely limited depending on which goal you choose. This can impact your ability to understand the performance of your ad, depending on your business. This limited scope of ‘goals’ can be functional for a majority of businesses but it doesn’t work for everybody. 

Single Ad Type
If your business has multiple locations, services, or products, you may want to diversify your advertisement layouts and structure. Unfortunately, when you use a Google Ads Smart Campaign, there is only one layout available. This can be incredibly limiting for many businesses because your ads won’t have the variations they need for your unique audiences. 

The single ad type is then adjusted according to Google across the placements Google chooses for your ad.

Conflict of Interest
Many of us use Google daily, making it a familiar product or service. This familiarity can lead to comfortability that makes us forget that Google is always striving to make more money. This includes Smart Campaigns. 

Throughout the life of your Google Ads Smart Campaign, Google will offer suggestions and recommendations that often will claim you need to raise your budget. 

This can seem reasonable to many businesses, but many professionals in the industry see this as a conflict of interest. Does your business really need to raise your budget? Or is Google just encouraging you to spend more money on their product?

When to Deploy a Google Ads Smart Campaign

If your business is just starting out, can’t hire an agency, or needs to get an ad out in record time, our digital marketing team would recommend a Google Ads Smart Campaign is a great, temporary solution. Smart campaigns campaigns have their place and can be beneficial for many businesses.

However, over the long term, it will benefit your business to shift into a fully-fledged Ads campaign. The amount of control, customization, targeting and data that a fully-fledged Google Ads campaign offers is unparalleled.

Hiring an Agency vs. Google Ads Smart Campaigns

Smart campaigns can be helpful in many cases, but there are some things left to be desired. Undertaking a traditional Google Ads campaign can cost you valuable time and effort. So, like many of our clients have found,  professional help from a digital marketing agency has been the most cost-effective option for their needs. 

Not only can a professional PPC management agency save you time, but it will save you money. The learning curve with a Google Ads campaign can cost a business more than time and effort. Poorly optimized ads, inefficient budgets, and less-than-perfect keywords can start to rack up monetary costs without meeting your campaign goals. 

A professional knows what makes a PPC campaign effective while being able to apply your business’s unique goals and needs. In a pinch, a Smart Campaign can give you a boost. However, a consistently managed campaign will do more for your business’s success over the long term. 

The JTech team handles a variety of paid digital campaigns for a variety of businesses in and outside of Montana. Harness our expertise and deploy a highly effective PPC campaign today. 

If you want to learn more about PPC or digital marketing in general, visit our blog!

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