What is Google Smart Display ? | Articles

There are now over 3 million apps and websites on the Google Display Network, and almost as many ways to target your ads over the internet. While all these targeting options allow advanced advertisers to have full control over their advertising & performances, it might be quite overwhelming for many of them.

Indeed, more and more factors enter into account when it comes to advert effectiveness (creatives, device, timing, géolocation, demographics, interests, behavior, … are only the visible part of the Iceberg) and it’s impossible for an advertiser to take advantage of all those elements (and their interactions) by using it manually.

This is where new Google Smart Display Campaigns can make the difference : this conversion-oriented display format uses the power of Google’s machine learning to automatically target ads to audiences and placements that are most likely to drive conversions for the business, with dynamically-generated creatives. Google position it as “automation at scale, helping you deliver richer experiences to consumers and better results for your brand.”

There are three main specificities if you compare it to traditional display campaigns :

  • Responsive creatives : the system mixes advertiser-provided headlines, descriptions, logos and images to build responsive text, display and native ads that are eligible for any placements available on the display network (no need to create multiple formats of banners !
  • Target CPAs bidding : as mentioned, this format is conversion oriented. Therefore, you’re bidding on a target CPA instead of usual CPM or CPC
  • Automatically (IA) determined targeting : for each auction, the system determines the likelihood of conversion based on thousands of factors.

Creating your first Smart Display Campaign

First of all, be aware that there is one major requirement to be eligible for Smart display: you need at least 50 conversions on the Display Network or 100 conversions on the Search Network in the last 30 days. If you don’t meet these requirements, you won’t even have the option to opt-in for Smart Display when creating a campaign.

Creating a smart display campaign is quite similar as creating a traditional display campaign. The only particularities are the fact you have put a target CPA, and that creatives are kind of responsive banners.

  1. Click +Campaign and select Display Network Only.
  2. Under marketing objectives, pick one of the objectives under “Drive Action.”
  3. Check Use Smart display campaign. In the lower part of the tab
  4. Pick your geographic and language targeting for this campaign.
  5. Enter your daily budget and CPA bid.
  6. Click Save and Continue

What is Google Smart Display 1All you have to do know is creating your ads. For these, enter several assets per category. In order to maximize use of the template, make sure to integrate enough variations of each assets. Recommended:

  • 5 text headlines
  • 5 text description lines
  • 15 images (without any text)
  • 5 logos
  • 1 landing page (cannot use multiple)

Important: your assets must be fully interchangeable. Any headline, for example, could be paired with any image or description.

What is Google Smart Display 2

Best practices & performances

In order to maximise results and make sure to let the chance to a new Smart Display Campaign to run properly, some best practices should be taken into account :

  • In terms of CPA bidding, you should aim for a target CPA 50% higher than your Search CPA (or 20% higher than remarketing CPA).
  • In terms of budget, it’s recommended to have a daily budget of 10 to 20 time your target CPA, especially during the first weeks your campaign will be live. This allows you to get sufficient volumes of data to let the algorithm learn properly.
  • Smart Display Campaigns take time to run @full potential. It requires 1 week of learning, during which results might fluctuate a lot - it’s normal as the algorithm is testing different elements to find best performing assets & targeting. Let it run 2-3 weeks before starting making changes.

From what we’ve observed on our first tests for several clients, the more data you have, the most efficient Smart Display is. While usage for “small” businesses shows results similar to slightly better than traditional Display campaigns, it really shows its strength for bigger businesses, with noticeable uplift in terms of conversion rate (up to +30-40%).

publication author cedric lequenne
Cédric Lequenne

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