No matter what customers are searching for online – ads need to reach them with relevant messaging at the appropriate time. Unfortunately, tailoring your creative, targeting and bid structure can be a time consuming process and a hindrance to retailers.

With the roll-out of Smart Display Campaigns, retailers can advertise optimized ads on the Google Display Network (GDN), using Google’s machine learning automation.

GDN consists of 3 million apps and websites, which provides a significant opportunity for retailers to broaden their customer base and win new conversions.

According to Google, advertisers who use Smart display campaigns are seeing an average 20% increase in conversions at the same CPA, compared to their other display campaigns.

In the following blog post, we will discuss how Smart Display Campaigns are generated and if leveraging Google’s latest technology can actually improve your conversion rate.

What are Smart Display Campaigns?

According to Google’s announcement, advertisers can use a Smart display campaign to show ads in almost all formats across the Google Display Network, reaching people at all stages in the buying cycle—from people with demonstrated interests to customers just about to buy.

Smart campaigns might be a good fit for retailers who:

  • Want to attract additional customers beyond your manually targeted campaigns.
  • Use conversion tracking and meet the conversion-based eligibility requirements*.
  • Have limited their Display Network advertising to remarketing, but now want to reach people earlier in the buying process.
  • Are new to advertising on the Display Network and want a fast and highly performing campaign.

 

What do Smart Display Campaigns look like?

smart display campaigns

The responsive ad’s adaptability allows you to expand your reach without you having to create dozens of ads in all the combinations of ad types and sizes. To use responsive ads to remarket specific products to people who’ve recently seen them on your website, attach a feed to your Smart campaign.

Your ads may show images of the products accompanied with your marketing text. The feed can be attached in the Settings tab, or during campaign creation under Dynamic ad settings.

It’s impossible to preview all the thousands of possible combinations that could make up your ads with a Smart display campaign.

According to Google, your ads are designed to look great as long as you add images and logos that fit within the image ratio specifications. They’ll also be able to blend into publisher’s websites as native ads, giving you impact that standard ads may not.

Smart display campaigns combine 3 optimization technologies:

  • Automated Bidding
  • Automated Targeting
  • Automated Ad Creation

 

1. Automated bidding

Using Target CPA as a basis, Smart campaigns optimize to set your bids according to the likelihood of conversion in each and every ad auction.

How it works: Smart display campaigns use target CPA, focusing on conversions. Your Smart campaign optimizes to bid most aggressively when performance data suggests the highest likelihood of conversions, and bids significantly less when data suggests that there is a low likelihood of conversion. After a necessary learning period, your campaign should begin to optimize either within 2 weeks or after it generates about 50 conversions, whichever comes first.

2. Automated targeting

Targeting optimizes as your campaign runs, which means your ads increasingly show where they’ll get you the most business.

How it works: To help you reach the people who matter most to your business, automated campaigns use performance data to aggressively seek conversions. Smart display campaigns combine two targeting methods: automatic remarketing to people who have visited your website and also automatic targeting, which excels at catching customers “mid-funnel”—that is, much earlier in the buying process.

Pro-Tip: If you already have other campaigns using remarketing—a Smart display campaign tends not to shift customers away from those unless you choose to combine them. When you have multiple campaigns serving ads to the same audience, we’ll always use the ad that’s most relevant.

While targeting within Smart display campaigns is automated, AdWords offers additional controls to help you manage where your ads appear. You can create account-level placement exclusions to prevent your ad from showing on specific sites. You can also create site category exclusions.

3. Automated ad creation

Ads are automatically generated from the building blocks you provide, like headlines, descriptions, logos, and images. They responsively fit into almost all ad spaces across the Display Network.

How it works: Say you want to launch a campaign, but you don’t know what images and text to use in your ads. You decide to enter your assets (headlines, description lines, images, and logos) and run them in a Smart campaign.

joshAccording to Josh Brisco, Manager, Retail Search Operations at CPC Strategy, “This seems like AdWords’ first foray into programmatic display. Interesting that the ‘targeting’ appears to be based on the ad creative (assets) you create, almost similar to Shopping using feed data vs. standard targeting.”

The Smart display campaign asset report also includes example ads and performance data.

Google cites several success stories featuring the Smart Display Campaign capabilities including Credit Karma and Hulu Japan.

CPC Strategy will be conducting our own internal testing in the coming months to determine how valuable the program can be.

*To be eligible to set up a Smart display campaign, you need to have at least 50 conversions on the Display Network—or at least 100 conversions on the Search Network—in the last 30 days.

For more information on Smart Display Campaigns, email tara@cpcstrategy.com

 

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About the AuthorTara graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Journalism / Business. Her passion for creative publishing and quality reporting landed her work opportunities at several companies in Massachusetts, New York and California. She is a leading voice behind CPC Strategy’s Blog. See all posts by this author here.