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Are Google Smart Campaigns A Waste Of Money?

Today’s question comes from Sean. He emailed and wrote:

“Is it a waste of money to use Google smart campaigns? Or is it just a way to let Google test and spend your money? If it’s profitable? Would you sacrifice profits initially to get Google to dial in on the said campaigns?”

What are Google Smart Campaigns?

For anyone who doesn’t know what Google Smart Campaigns are, let me briefly explain and I’m just going to read this from Google’s website:

“When you sign up for a smart campaign, you’ll write an ad that describes your business. You’ll also describe your business’s products or service and set a budget. Your ad will automatically show to potential customers across Google search, Google Search partners, Google Maps and the Google Display Network. “

Essentially, all you’re doing is writing an ad and letting Google show your ad to people that they think should see it. So do I think this is a good idea? If you’ve been following me very long, I’m sure you know, my answer is going to be no absolutely not

Do not under any circumstances set up a smart campaign. 

There’s no possible way a smart campaign is going to work better than a regular campaign that you set up. There are many ways that I know. But I can say for sure, a smart campaign is not going to work as well as a standard campaign. 

Even when I’m trying to get Google to do something specific and I’m trying to get my ad to show up for specific keywords, using exact match keywords, they’re still showing ads to other search terms that are not the exact keywords I’m targeting. 

Google still wants to show my ad in other locations, even when I’m trying to only show my ad in specific locations. Even when I’m trying to do what I know is going to work the best, Google still tries to do things the other way. 

So if I’m giving them a blank slate to work with here, all I’m doing is writing an ad that I know they are not going to be showing in the best places to the best people. Because even when I’m trying to do that it doesn’t happen. 

Google also says that they’re going to show the ads on Google Search partners, Google Maps, Google Display Network.

Again, if I’m running an ad for a company, usually we’re not doing Display Network unless it’s just remarketing, especially for a local service business. 

Google is telling us that with a smart campaign, the ads probably will show up on the Google Display Network. We don’t want that. So therefore, we don’t want a smart campaign. 

Google Search Partners and Google Maps are usually good. But in some cases, you look at the data for those and they’re not working well for your specific business. So you turn them off. With a smart campaign, you can’t do that. As far as I know, I don’t think there’s a way to actually turn those types of things off with a smart campaign.

I don’t think there’s a learning curve that would be worth it. Maybe Google would be able to run a profitable smart campaign for you. But if that’s the case, you’d be able to run a much better and a much more profitable campaign, just setting it up yourself. 

If you do everything that I’ve talked about on this blog, everything that I talked about on my trainings, there’s just no way a smart campaign could possibly outperform any of the campaigns that you’ve set, yourself. 

I’ll admit, I’ve never set up a smart campaign. So I don’t know exactly how these are set up. But it looks like you’re just writing an ad. Again, you shouldn’t just be running one ad, you should be running multiple ads so you can test and see which one is going to be the best. 

What’s the bottom line?

There’s no way a smart campaign is going to work better than a regular Google Search campaign.

I’ll stop there. I don’t want to beat a dead horse here. I think you get the picture. Just don’t do it. Don’t use smart campaigns. There are plenty of automated features you can take advantage of in your regular search campaigns. There are lots of things that you want control over in your campaigns. You’re not going to have that control with a smart campaign.