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Get Smart with Smart Display Campaigns

We can all sense that digital advertising is taking a turn into a new frontier - but what exactly is that frontier? Google’s Smart Display Campaigns are the perfect example to demonstrate the new age of advertising: smart and automatic. This is one of the newest campaign types to reach our advertiser community, having launched only yesterday, April 20th 2017.


With the many different needs of just one, single online advertiser can come many Display Ad formats. Thinking about which combination of formats to use and which targeting will reach your largest audience of top spenders can be - let’s face it - exhausting. But what if there was a product that did the thinking for you? Pretty smart, right? Allow me to introduce Google Smart Display Campaigns.


Smart Display Campaigns are the perfect campaign type to try out if you are trying to accomplish three rather obvious goals: get more customers (yes, please!), attract more customers beyond your standard, manual targeting (sign me up!), and manage only one campaign while maximizing your reach (I’ll take it!).


Your Smart Display Campaign will quite literally manage itself - it will learn when to offer the highest bid in the market when aggregate data suggests a strong association between what you’re advertising and what users are viewing online. It will also learn when to offer the lowest bid, similarly, so you only spend money when users are actually seeing your ads and spending on your site. That’s the magic of tCPA! What’s even better - Smart Display Campaigns run your ads as responsive ads on the Google Display Network, meaning that the campaign will automatically recombine your assets into highly functional native and image ads that will serve on all types of ad sizes!


Now that you’re pumped to try an ad format of the new frontier, let’s talk about the “how” - how do you set one up? Start by making sure that your account’s conversion tracking is turned on. You’ll need at least 50 conversions on the Display Network or 100 on the Search Network in the last 30 days. Next, make sure your daily budget is at least 10-15 times your tCPA bid. Easy so far, right? It only gets easier from here!


Once your eligibility above is “AdWords official” - go ahead and navigate to your campaigns tab. Click +Campaign, and select Display Network Only. Under Marketing Objectives, choose any of the first four options under “Drive Action”, and then scroll down and check the box for “Create Smart Display Campaign”. Complete the rest of the campaign settings, such as target location, language, your tCPA bid, and daily budget, any additional settings, and the name of the campaign.


Next, you’ll be prompted to create an ad group; all you need to do here is come up with the name - everything else is “automatic”, what a save! Once your ad group is created, you’ll be prompted to upload a few assets so that your Smart Display Campaign can begin to serve the best possible combinations of your creatives, to your automatically targeted audience. You’ll need one, generic and short Headline (25 character limit). The headline is the first line of text that will appear in your ad, so make sure that it will dynamically work with several different Description Lines (70 character limit). This is what invites your viewer to take action. The Headline and Description Line should also work well, dynamically, with your Landing Page and any images you choose to upload. A good example of a Headline and Description Line working well is below:


Headline: Advertiser X New Arrivals

Description Line: Shop Advertiser X Now and Save




Headline: Advertiser X New Arrivals

Description Line: Find the Lowest Prices, Guaranteed


Your Landing Page should be the ultimate site you want your users to end up on after clicking on your ad. Lastly, you’ll want to upload a logo and images so that the Smart Display Campaign can have choices to optimally create ads with high audience reach and subsequent high conversions. Your logo should have a square 1:1 aspect ratio with a maximum dimension of 1200x1200, and a minimum of 128x128. Lastly, upload a few different images, which should work with your Headlines and Descriptions, with aspect ratios of 1.91:1, with recommended dimensions of 1200x1200 and 1200x628.

Now it’s time to sit back and watch AdWords Smart Display Campaigns do all of the thinking for you. Periodically check into your ads tab in your AdWords account and click on View asset details to check on the performance ranking of each of your assets. Maybe it’s time to change it up with your images? Or maybe not. With Smart Display Campaigns, you are ultimately still in control of your online advertising, but the tiresome thinking is totally taken care of. Don’t forget to let us know what you think when you try it out!

Łukasz S
April 2017


I cannot use this feature in my account. Do you know when this will be available to everyone?

Campaign Management – Google AdWords.png


Andrew D Google Employee
May 2017

Hi @Łukasz S! Thanks for the question. If you cannot see the option to opt into Smart Display Campaigns, it is likely due to ineligibiltiy at this time. Advertisers will need to have their conversion tracking turned on in their account (From their AdWords homepage, select "Tools" at the top and then "Conversions"). Once conversion tracking is enabled, your account will need to have met a threshold of conversions:  at least 50 conversions on the Display Network or 100 on the Search Network in the last 30 days.


Lastly, when setting up a Smart Display Campaign, you can choose any of the first four campaign sub-types under "Drive Action" from the screengrab you've shared. Once you select any of the first four options, the option to check the box for a Smart Display Campaign will appear, as long as eligibility is met.


Hope this helps!

Abdullah Al A

Hi @Andrew D Thanks for writing this article

Lucky Dog U

How about showing a clear example of use?