Digital marketing

Why you should never use Google Ads “Smart Campaigns”

It may seem super convenient to set up a Google “Smart Campaign” but I beg you not to, and I will explain why. The idea of the Smart Campaign great: you just basically let Google’s software decide for you how to spend your ad money. The problem is that over the years Google has drifted towards meeting its own needs at the expense of the advertisers. People sign up for Google Ads because they want to show up on Google. In the case of “Smart Campaigns,” Google pulls a bait and switch (without mentioning it) and runs your ads to run as little text ads on Youtube and various spammy websites that have Google Adsense enabled. And people only click to try to ‘x’ out of them but the x is so small that they click on your ad, go to your website by mistake and you get charged for it. Nearly all of the money you spend on these various platforms is wasted and unlikely to translate to customers.

Take for example the following image pulled from a client’s Google Smart Campaign dashboard:

In this case, rather than showing up on Google like the client intended, they were forced to pay for spammy ads at the bottom of random websites and Youtube ads. I never use so-called Smart Campaigns. In this case the owner set up the campaign himself. This is a very competent owner who was basically bamboozled by Google.

Google likes to default people into its Smart Campaigns but you can switch to Expert Mode by clicking on the wrench at the top right of your ads dashboard. Once you are in Expert Mode, you can go ahead and disable every kind of ad except for Google search engine ads. This means excluding your ads from running on the “display network” or “partner search.”