How it works

Smart Display Campaigns (SDC) in Google Display Network (GDN) show your ads to people who are most likely to convert on your website. SDC use auto-targeting, auto-bidding, and automated ad creation for the best performance.

But it is only possible to activate SDCs if you already have at least 50 conversions on the Display Network across your standard display campaigns or at least 100 conversions across your search campaigns in the last 30 days. So, it's not magic. It's optimization algorithms that use your existing data.

Limitations

  • You can't exclude placements in SDC. But it obeys to account-level placement exclusion lists, so you can manage that limitation in some way
    Exclude placements on the account level
  • You can’t exclude audiences in SDC. It definitely will influence your other GDN campaigns.
  • You can't exclude or even reduce mobile traffic. It's better to be prepared and check the performance of the mobile version of your website.
  • You can't set up a schedule for SDC. Be ready to convert users in non-working hours. Use forms to collect leads if you can't answer phone calls.

 

Results of the first test

We compared the common remarketing campaign and SDC right after release.

 

Campaign

Views

Clicks

CTR

CPC

CPA

CR

Remarketing

207 190

648

0.31%

$0.09

1.52$

6.02%

SDC

3 483 675

7 776

0.22%

$0.03

0.77$

3.68%

You may think "SDC is pretty good!". But it’s not that simple. The remarketing campaign had better performance before we launched the SDC.

 

Views

Clicks

CTR

CPC

CPA

CR

Before

988 061

4 814

0,49%

0,08$

0,80$

9,85%

After

207 190

648

0,31%

0,09$

1,52$

6,02%

 

How smart display campaigns influence remarketing campaigns

So, you need to understand that most SDC work with your existing website audience. It cannibalizes remarketing campaigns. 


In spite of this, SDC are more convenient and productive  in dealing with your website audience than common remarketing campaigns. It can generate more conversions and attract new users. So use it, but be prepared for consequences in remarketing campaigns if you already have them. If you don't have remarketing campaigns, just use SDC and forget about common remarketing campaigns.

 

How to set up smart display campaigns:

  1. Create a new display campaign.
  2. Choose the smart display campaign option. If you don't have this option it means you haven't reached the required quantity of conversions yet.
  3. As usual, select the locations and language to target your customers.
  4. Select a bid strategy: tCPA, tROAS or maximize conversions. If you've got enough conversions you can switch from pay for clicks to pay for conversions.
  5. Set up a daily budget.
  6. Switch on the dynamic ads option if you're going to create personalized ads using data feed for responsive display ads.
  7. Set up start and end dates if needed.
  8. Use the account-level "Include in 'Conversions'" settings or choose conversion actions for the campaign.
  9. Opt-out of showing your ads on content that doesn't fit your brand. It's not total protection, but some.
  10. After that, you need to create at least one ad group and add it to at least one responsive display ad. You can upload your banners if you have them. But it's more efficient to use RDA. RDA maximizes performance by creating different combinations from your headlines, images, videos, and descriptions. Example.

Recommendations

  • Be prepared for mobile users. Check the performance of your website on mobile devices.
  • Be sure that you can collect leads on your website during non-working hours.
  • Take into consideration the influence of SDC on remarketing campaigns.
  • Use placement exclusion lists to exclude bad placements in GDN.
  • Use RDA. It's convenient and more efficient.
  • Switch to pay for conversions when it becomes available.
  • Use dynamic ads if you have more than a few offers on your website.
PPC Marketing Specialist and Brand Evangelist