Review: Google Ads Automated Smart Campaigns

Industry News

Properly setting up PPC campaigns for your business that are optimized for your goals, market and budget is time consuming. With the launch of Google Ads, Google rebranded its Adwords Express platform. It is now called Smart Campaigns and is housed within the Google Ads interface.

What is Smart Campaigns?

Smart Campaigns is automated technology that builds comprehensive ad campaigns. The goal is to get small businesses up and running on Google Ads quickly, with little ongoing management time. Smart Campaigns automation handles ad creation, audience building, and ad delivery selection.

While it may seem appealing to take advantage of a tool that will completely build campaigns and ad copy for you, there are pros and cons, as there always are with automated solutions.

Related: Is Your Digital Marketing Strategy Complete? Find Out Here [Digital Marketing Checklist]


Geared Toward Small Businesses

Smart Campaigns is geared toward small and local businesses that can’t support internal or external marketing staff. Small business owners typically wear many different hats and don’t have a lot of time to spend marketing their business themselves. Smart Campaigns takes care of that heavy lifting so that business owners can focus on other aspects of the business.

Huge Time Savings

Smart Campaign was built specifically to free up small business owners’ time. This solution makes it very simple: you set up a budget and define some goals (are you trying to get phone calls, purchases on your site, etc.) and Google’s machine learning technology will come up with a list of keywords to bid on based on your business type. Google’s technology will even handle updating and refining keywords over time so that business owners don’t need to spend much ongoing management time to keep the ads operating and improving.


All you will need to do is set your budget and goals, and Smart Campaigns will optimize for the goals you’ve set. Once the ads are up and running Google will rely on its machine learning tools to optimize your campaigns and deliver your results, as well as any recorded changes, on your own dashboard.


No control of ad copy messaging

While the time-saving aspect of Google self-creating the messaging included in ad copy is a positive, the lack of control about what exactly the messaging says is a drawback for most people. Once the Smart Campaigns account is set up, Google will pull information from existing Google profiles of your business to create ad copy. Unless all of your Google profiles are completely optimized and include your current messaging (which is not a large percentage of small businesses), you may find you aren’t happy with the language Smart Campaigns features in your ads.

Ad copy not optimized

In addition to having no control over the actual messaging included in the ad copy, Smart Campaigns doesn’t seem to properly optimize for the character length of Google Ads headlines and descriptions. Important keywords are often cut off or abbreviated. For example, “Construction” might be abbreviated to “Const.” in the headline of an ad. This poses a problem because it’s important to have certain keywords present in your ad so that Google knows it is relevant. Additionally, if the ad is shown to a user, but the messaging seems pieced together and isn’t reflective of your business, the user likely won’t click on your ad.

Can’t control budget allocation

With Smart Campaigns, Google’s machine learning technology determines how budget should be allocated based on the goals you originally input in the account. While the time-savings is exciting, the lack of control over budget allocation is a big downside. Having the ability to adjust budget allocation based on seasonality, shifting goals, and what’s happening in your local market is very important. Without this level of control, campaigns may not be spending your budget as effectively as possible.

Should I leverage Smart Campaigns?

After considering the pros and cons of Smart Campaigns, we recommend not leveraging this option based on how it operates today. The lack of control of both messaging and budget outweighs the time-saving aspects of this solution. Effective messaging and flexible budget are key aspects of driving quality traffic and thus, seeing success with your campaigns. At Intuitive Digital, we believe having control over these options is necessary to see the best return on investment.

Launch PPC Campaigns

If you are looking for help launching PPC campaigns for your business, reach out to us today! Let’s have a conversation about your business goals and how we can help get you there by leveraging Google Ads.

About the Author

Nick Footer

Nick Footer is an entrepreneur and founder of Intuitive Digital, a national award-winning digital marketing agency in Portland, Oregon. With over 15 years of experience, he has helped hundreds of businesses improve their online presence through search engine optimization, paid advertising, and website design.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Receive expert marketing tips