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Digital Marketing

Google’s New “Smart Display” Campaigns: A Faster Way to Test

When it comes to testing display ads effectively, most advertisers simply don’t have the time and resources to keep up with it. To do it right, it requires multiple designs and different messages for each audience. When you multiply each of those factors by 5-10 different ad sizes, the challenge becomes obvious.
Google’s new “Smart Display” (SD) campaigns helps solve this challenge by making display ad testing faster and simpler, requiring fewer inputs. It combines the elements of automatic ad creation, automated targeting and automated bidding into a simple campaign type that systematically tests multi-variate combinations towards winning combinations. Optimizations are based on your ideal target cost per conversion, so profitability is less of a concern when expanding deeper into the GDN.
With SD campaigns, advertisers enter their assets (images, headlines, logos, descriptions and even product feeds for dynamic ads) and the system arranges them into different combinations and formats, while showing detailed performance data on the variations. Advertisers can see what’s working (and what’s not) and make changes. These campaigns require 2 weeks of data or 50 conversions, whichever comes first, to make ideal optimizations. With any automation feature, the more data the better.
The automatic targeting engine combines automatic remarketing and automatic targeting together to hunt down new conversion opportunities for those that are more likely to convert. While targeting is automatic, SD campaigns still give advertisers the opportunity to exclude irrelevant websites and categories as they choose.
Automation is unlikely to ever fully solve the inherent challenges of display ad testing, but for those that lack the adequate time and resources to create complex banner ad experiments, Google’s Smart Display campaigns are a welcome feature for those that want to participate in the widening audience-targeting future of Google.

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Mark Curtis

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