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Everyone Is Using Smart Display, You Should Too

Antonella Saravia

5 years ago



If you’ve been wondering how automation is going to serve your Google Ad campaigns, Smart Display is your answer. 

A separate display campaign type, Smart Display campaigns uses machine learning to optimize targeting new and existing customers, adjusting bids appropriately, and creating ideal ads to connect with your audience. Within these campaigns, two things will help you connect with your audience: remarketing and retargeting. Automatic remarketing helps identify the people that have already visited your website while retargeting catches customers early in the buying process before they’ve moved on.

Sounds amazing, huh? So, how do you get it?

You won’t be able to start a Smart Display from scratch. You will need to start a regular display campaign and then transition it into a Smart Display. To get started, you will need to have a campaign with a minimum of conversions in the last 30 days. Specifically, 50 conversions on the Display Network and 100 on Search Network. This will allow the machine to have sufficient information to do it’s ‘smart’ work.

Once you have this ready, you will need to include:

  • Target Cost Per Acquisition
  • Campaign Budget
  • Creative Assets

You’ll be asked to enter the target and assets mentioned above. These elements are for the machine to play around with budget, headlines, descriptions, images, and logos. Below are examples of how each of these elements come together to make your ad.




Ads are shown in a variety of formats across the Google Display Network. This allows you to tap into your target audience in various stages of the buying cycle. 

Smart campaigns are easy to track and use machine learning. This permits such a user-friendly experience. Three automated features that it combines are bidding, targeting, and ad creation.


Smart Display focuses on conversions. Smart Display ads leverage your target CPA and the probability of conversions rather than clicks to set your bids in each auction and provide the best value for your investment.

When there is a low likelihood, it will systematically bid significantly less. Over a few weeks or after your first 50 conversions, it’ll begin to review performance and adjust its bid insights for optimal management. It needs data for fuel to keep moving.

Reaching Your Audience

Over time, it’ll be easier to reach your customer base. This will happen because your ads will reflect performance insights that will allow your campaign to make optimizations. Google Ads will determine which users are interested in your products and how to get them to convert. This is called Dynamic Prospecting, and it uses machine learning to get an idea of what the potential buyer is looking for, so it allocates ads purposefully.

For example, let’s suppose Vanessa is looking for pizzeria in the area. The pizzeria will only want to show their ads to Vanessa if she is searching for specific indicators that are relevant to the pizzeria venue in their area. Based on search history, the probabilities of conversion are higher if the ad is shown to Vanessa because she’s proved to be receptive and near the venue.

Having this automated feature means that you will not be able to set targeting manually. These campaigns don’t work with the audience or user list targeting.

Creating Ads

After providing the pertinent elements to create your ad, Smart Display ads will automatically generate them into the ideal format to be showcased across the Display Network for your customer base. You will not be able to create your ads manually. Instead, this allows you to sit back, watch, and learn!

Each of these three elements work together to create an ideal scenario for your ad campaigns. As mentioned above, after enough data is gathered, which drives the likelihood of conversions, optimizations will begin on their own.

That said, there’s always an opportunity cost. As much as Smart Display has to offer, its use does mean that there are features that won’t work with it. Aside from the limitations mentioned above, another three things that you won’t be able to account for when using Smart Displays are: 

  • Ability to change your Smart Campaign into a different type of display campaign
  • Desktop-only or mobile-only campaigns 
  • Settings involving delivery method or devices

The campaign type allows you to choose to pay for conversions instead of clicks. This can be changed in the “Bidding” section of your campaign set up. 

So if you have a small business that supplies red wine, and you’ve identified a keyword that has a strong association with your product. Let’s say, “cheese platter.” If you set this up as a keyword, your campaign will work to get your ad placed with this target. 

If you have a travel agency and you want to highlight vacation packages to Cancun. Your ideal customer will be researching topics about Cancun, like places to visit, hotels, flights, food options, and more. With Dynamic Prospecting, every new search query that is relevant to your user intent to travel to Cancun will help Google know that this customer is more likely to convert. 


Smart Display campaigns are an incredibly simple solution to managing various elements. Its automated features will make broadening your customer base and increasing conversions easier by reaching users in different stages of the buying cycle. 

If you are interested in learning more about managing Smart Display campaigns, contact one of our representatives for more on how we can help your portfolio.