Smart Display: smart advertising?

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Smart Display: smart advertising? Smart Display ads targeting audiences and placements best suited to generate conversions?

Smart Display: smart advertising?

The Google Display Network includes more than 3 million websites and apps and offers nearly as many ways to target your display ads across the Web. While this broad targeting gives sophisticated advertisers a lot of control over the performance of their ads, it can be intimidating to find the best way to start advertising or to optimize your display ads.

Google hopes to facilitate this ad-targeting conflict with Smart Display campaigns. Google's Smart Display campaigns allow advertisers to target ads to audiences and placements that are best suited to make conversions for their business without the need for a fixed audience. All advertisers need to do is select a CPA target and upload a number of ads, after which Google's algorithm will handle the rest based on the data in that Google Ads account. We see an average of +20% more conversions coming from this, at the same CPAs.

How can you set up Smart Display campaigns?

fCreating a Smart Display campaign is easy. Create a display campaign within Google Ads and when prompted to select a marketing objective, choose the Display option. After choosing this objective, the option to create a Smart Display campaign appears. Check this box to get started.

After creating your campaign, you will be asked to give the campaign a budget and a CPA target. After that you can choose to make your first smart display ad.

Unlike creating a traditional display ad, you don't need to upload a finished image ad to reach the display network with a smart display ad. Instead, Google will ask you to upload different descriptions, headlines and pictures/videos. Using the responsive ad principle, Google's algorithm will show variants of your ad and optimize it to the best performing combinations.

Once you've created your ads, then the campaign can start! Google's algorithm will automatically target your ads and try to get as many conversions as possible within your CPA target. If you want to know how your descriptions, headlines and images have performed, you can always click on the ads themselves. Google will indicate which items are underperforming. So you can update them regularly.

Potential downsides of Smart Display Campaigns

Smart display campaigns aren't exactly a great option for customers who want more control over their creative advertising and prayer. In addition, smart campaigns only work if the ad account has achieved at least 50 conversions on the Display network or at least 100 conversions of Search ads in the past 30 days. Smaller companies and advertisers do not always achieve these results. But for large companies and advertisers it is interesting. Of course you can test this if you have less data in your account, but that is not optimal for the algorithm. So it will also take longer before the algorithm has found its way.

If you do achieve this data, the Smart Display campaign allows you to choose to pay for conversions instead of clicks. The nice thing about this is that you pay ONLY when a conversion comes in for the preset CPA goal. This is obviously very interesting, since your ad will be shown on the Display network eagerly, with no cost. Only when Google Display Network can bring in a conversion for the preset CPA goal, only then do you pay. Smart isn't it? Perfect for some extra branding and upper-funnel marketing. But so it can also definitely be an added value in for performance marketing campaigns, lower-funnel.


  1. Set daily budgets at least 5 times as high as the CPA target bid. Preferably choose a budget that is 10 times as high. Matter of Google's algorithm to give enough oxygen. We do recommend setting a strict CPA target to reduce costs (if required).
  2. If you reach your CPA target easily, lower your CPA target slightly and see how the campaign anticipates this.
  3. Be sure to check if you can choose the "pay for conversions" option in the bidding strategy. If not, we recommend you set a much lower CPA goal and budget, as you will be paying per click/ viewable impression. That can get much more expensive.
  4. Update your ads regularly with new visuals, descriptions and headlines. Google indicates when visuals, descriptions or headlines perform less well than others.
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Do you have a question or want more information?

Cedric T.
Team Lead Performance


Online marketing, that is the way to get more customers and more sales and you will get more relevant visitors to your website. Digitong is a Google Premier Partner and one of the top 20 online marketing agencies in Belgium. We know better than anyone that digital Marketing can be overwhelming. The good news is that we can help you. Find out how we work.