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Google Introduces Smart Campaigns for Small Businesses

On July 24th Google AdWords will officially become ‘Google Ads’ and as the first new solution to launch under that new branding, Google has introduced Smart Campaigns for small businesses.

A driving force behind the rebranding of Google’s advertising products is to simplify things for marketers. Simplicity is also the impetus behind Smart Campaigns, the new campaign type in Google Ads. Smart Campaigns are designed for small and local businesses that don’t have dedicated marketing staff and may not even have websites.

Smart Campaigns will be the default campaign type for new advertisers in Google Ads. The campaigns are almost entirely automated, from ad creatives to delivery optimisation, based on the product or service being advertised and the goal the advertiser sets. Campaign goals include phone calls, website visits and requests for directions.

Creating easy solutions to appeal to more small businesses makes sense for Google and is an area in which Facebook has been very successful. According to Google, two-thirds of small businesses use digital marketing but face challenges and are looking for easy solutions and as such, Smart Campaigns are built on AdWords Express (originally called Boost) technology.

Similar to Universal App Campaigns, Smart Campaign ads can be delivered across Google’s properties and users do not have the ability to turn off channels. Targeting optimisation is automated and Google’s machine learning algorithms aim to show ads to the right audiences using behavioural, location, device and other signals.

Kim Spalding who leads Small Business Ads at Google, says early results show Smart Campaigns are three times more effective at reaching a business’s target audiences than AdWords Express campaigns.

Images in Smart Campaigns can be uploaded, as well as pulled dynamically from advertiser websites and Google My Business Listings for advertisers to choose from.

Smart Campaigns are designed to work with Google My Business for both ad creation, images, location addresses and soon, landing pages. For businesses that don’t have websites, Google will create and host auto-generated and optimised landing pages. The landing page will match the ad creative and have reporting built in. This is currently in testing and will be rolled into Smart Campaigns later this year.

Smart Campaigns were rolled out in the US at the end of June and will be available in all accounts globally by the end of the year.

Our opinion on these types of almost entirely automated campaigns is that although they’re user-friendly and quick to set up, there was previously the potential for a lot of unintended budget loss with AdWords Express. That should be reduced with the recent advent of Google’s advanced machine learning (which is still at a very early stage) but until that’s been perfected, it’s still much better at this stage to have campaigns set-up and managed by independent search marketers who can still have some control over the machines and the spend…..for now!

If you want to know more about Smart Campaigns and if they might be relevant for your business or not, please contact us now.