Maximising your  online visibility can be a time consuming task. Especially if you’re a smaller business and don’t have a dedicated marketing team that can stay on top of the latest search trends and continually work to optimise your pay per click ads for best effect.

The good news is that Google’s Smart Search campaigns are here to help.

The bad news is that they may not be the right choice for everyone.

What is a Smart Search Campaign?

Google’s Smart Search Campaigns automatically create PPC ads with almost zero manual input. They simply use the information contained within your website, and in other places such as your Google My Business profile, to build a fully-functioning PPC campaign. The AI takes care of everything, from bidding to keywords, display position, and more.

The idea behind Smart Search campaigns is that businesses can delegate PPC activities to artificial intelligence programmes, freeing up time to focus on higher level marketing.

Do They Work?

From a time-saving perspective, Smart Search campaigns are incredibly good at what they do. Google is, of course, a leader in SEO, PPC, and machine learning, and the system uses what it learns over time to adapt campaigns for optimal outcomes.

The search engine claims that its Smart campaigns are 3 times more effective than regular PPC campaigns at getting the right ads in front of the right eyes.

However, it’s clear that Google’s Smart Search campaigns have limitations. If you’re keen to optimise your PPC ads, you may be frustrated with the lack of functionality.

Smart Search Limitations

Advancements in AI and machine learning mean that Google’s Smart Search campaigns are technically very good at what they do. The problem is that they’re not starting out with the right data, which affects how well they’re able to actually perform.

Why don’t they have the right data? Because you can’t give it to them.

Google uses its own algorithms to determine what data to utilise, and uses this data to build its own understanding of the business, its needs, and its target audience. While this is great from a time standpoint, it creates keyword, budgeting and reporting issues.

  • Keyword Limitations

When it comes to keywords, you have virtually no control over which keywords to bid on – and which negative keywords to incorporate – when you use Smart Search campaigns. Google essentially guesses as to which keywords you want to target, which can result in you paying for views from unqualified leads that aren’t ready to convert.

  • Budget Limitations

With Smart Search campaigns, you can set your own budget. That’s definitely a positive. What you can’t do, however, is instruct Google on how to spend this budget. Bidding is all conducted automatically, with no way to set a maximum cost per click. This means you could end up blowing your budget on keywords that aren’t that great.

  • Reporting Limitations

Perhaps the most problematic limitation of Google’s Smart Search campaigns is that it’s not easy to access the essential performance data and monitor critical metrics to give you the insight you need to take your marketing efforts to the next level. Digital marketing success relies on testing; trying out ideas, reflecting on results, and tweaking.

Should You Use Google Smart Search Campaigns?

Absolutely. Smart Search campaigns are easy. They’re simple. They’re low effort. They’re the ultimate time saver. But don’t expect them to be a magic solution.

There can sometimes be a lot that you’ll need to sacrifice for this ease and simplicity. For many, the best solution will be to use Smart Search campaigns to get PPC activities off the ground quickly and generate some quick-win results before taking back control, optimising campaigns, and running personalised ads that deliver real, tangible results.

If you’re not sure about Smart Search campaigns and would like to explore ways to optimise your Google Ads performance, speak to the Adrac team today.

Author Rebecca

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