Smart Display campaigns offer a simple, intelligent solution to managing the complex variables of display advertising, and may be the most effortless way to broaden your customer base and win new conversions. Use a Smart Display campaign to show ads in almost all formats across the Google Display Network, reaching people at all stages in the buying cycle—from people with demonstrated interests to customers just about to buy.
Across the Display Network, Smart Display campaigns combine 3 optimization technologies to take the labor and guesswork out of targeting, bidding, and ad creation:
- Automated bidding. Using Target CPA as a basis, Smart Display campaigns optimize to set your bids according to the likelihood of conversion in each and every ad auction, seeking to give you the best possible value.
- Automated targeting. Targeting optimizes as your campaign runs, which means your ads increasingly show where they’ll get you the most business. Where applicable, Smart Display campaigns use dynamic prospecting to match your feed to the likeliest converters.
- Automated ad creation. Ads are automatically generated from the building blocks you provide, like headlines, descriptions, logos, and images. They responsively fit into almost all ad spaces across the Display Network.
How to create Smart Display campaigns:
Before you begin
- Make sure that you’ve set up conversion tracking and that you meet the conversion-based eligibility requirements. To set up a Smart Display campaign, you need to have gotten 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.
- Make sure you have sufficient daily budget to account for at least twice your target CPA bid.
- Gather your ad's assets like headlines, descriptions, images and logos.
Step 1. Planning: determine how to structure your Smart Display campaigns
Here are guidelines for structuring your Smart Display campaigns:
- Create separate campaigns when you need to have separate budgets for each
- Create separate ad groups within Smart Display campaigns for different product lines or services
- Create separate responsive display ads within your ad groups to group assets that work well with each other
Step 2. Planning: determine what a conversion is worth
Bid based on the amount you're willing to pay for each conversion. So if you're focused on generating leads, set a CPA bid that reflects the value a new lead brings to your business. If you're focused on generating sales, set a CPA bid that reflects the value each new order brings to your business. The rule of thumb:
- Determine how much a conversion is worth.
- Based on your value-per-conversion, determine how much you’re willing to pay to get that conversion in the first place.
Example: If you’re selling shoes at $50 for each pair, and you expect 1 out of 10 people to buy a pair of shoes, you may want to set your CPA target to $5.
If you're collecting leads for your spa services, and each lead, on average, results in a $5 profit, you may choose to set a CPA bid of $1.00 for each lead submitted.
The numbers above will vary based on your business—experiment with bids around the amount you want to pay and adjust them over time based on what works best for you.
Step 3. Set up your campaign
- Sign in to your Google Ads account.
- On the page menu on the left, click Campaigns.
- Click the plus button, then select New campaign.
- Choose from the Leads, Sales, or Website Traffic goals (If the information in this article doesn't reflect what you're seeing, you may have a different version of goals.
- Select the Display campaign type.
- Select Smart display campaign.
- Click Continue.
- Pick your geographic and language targeting for this campaign.
- Enter your daily budget and CPA bid.
- Click Save and Continue.
- Click on Additional settings.
- Click on the drop-down under Dynamic ads.
- This drop-down will select No data feed by default
- Click the checkbox next to “use a data feed for personalized ads”
- Select the relevant Data Feed from the drop-down menu
- Click Save.
Step 4. Create your responsive display ads
Responsive display ads are the new default ad type for Smart Display campaigns, and make it easier way to show your ads across the Display Network. These ads are asset-based, and automatically adjust their size, appearance and format to fit available ad spaces. With the assets that you enter (including logos, headlines, images and descriptions), Google automatically generates your ad as ad spaces become available, and optimizes the use of your assets for the best performance. Responsive display ads can show as almost any size text, image or native format.
If you create dynamic responsive display ads by associating a feed with your responsive display ad (and Smart Display campaign), bear the following points in mind:
- If you include a formatted price in your feed, then it will be used instead of the price prefix that you add in Google Ads when creating up your ad.
- Because these ads show as more sizes than your dynamic feed images can fit to, your ads may not always use images from your feed.
- Products shown in the preview are for illustrative purposes only. Please ensure that your feeds are compliant with our Personalised Advertising Policy.
- Google may show layout tags for retail advertisers, such as "new", "hot" or "price drop", on relevant products in order to drive performance. These layout tags appear automatically based on product insights from the feed.
- Not all assets will appear when your ads show. Sometimes, for example, your ads may show without images to increase your reach across the Display Network.
- Sign in to your Google Ads account.
- From the navigation panel on the left, select Display campaigns.
- Click Ads & extensions from the page menu on the left.
- Click the blue plus button.
- Select Responsive display ad.
- Select an ad group. If you want your responsive display ads to support dynamic remarketing, make sure your ad group, or its campaign, is attached to a feed.
- Add and save your images. To give you access to all our ad formats, images are required. Having multiple assets is recommended because it makes it easier for Google to optimize your ads. You can upload up to 15 marketing images and 5 logos. You can crop a single image to the landscape and square formats, or use separate images for each aspect ratio. Upload your images, scan them from your website, or select from our free library of professional stock images. You can also select from recently used images.
- Landscape. If you choose the upload option, keep in mind that your landscape image should have a ratio of 1.91:1 and be greater than 600 x 314. The file size limit is 5MB.
- Square. If you choose the upload option, keep in mind that your square (1:1) image should be greater than 300 x 300. The file size limit is 5MB.
- Logo (optional). If you choose the upload option, keep in mind that your logo should be square (1:1) and should be 128 x 128 or greater. The recommended size for the square logo is 1200 x 1200. For best rendering, it is also recommended to add a landscape (4:1) logo, which should be 512 x 128 or greater. The recommended size for the landscape logo is 1200 x 300. For all your logos, a transparent background is best, but only if the logo is centered. The file size limit is 5MB.
- Avoid text. Text may cover no more than 20% of the image. Note: To fit in some ad spaces, your image may be cropped horizontally—up to 5% on each side.
- Complete your ad information. You can create multiple headlines and descriptions to be rendered in your responsive display ads. You can upload multiple versions of the following:
- Write a short headline (at least 1, or up to 5 headlines, of 30 characters or fewer). The short headline is the first line of your ad and appears in tight ad spaces where the long headline doesn't fit. Short headlines may appear with or without your description.
- Write a long headline (90 characters or fewer). The long headline is the first line of your ad and appears instead of your short headline in larger ads. Long headlines may appear with or without your description. Note: When rendered in an ad, the long headline's length will depend on the site it appears on. If shortened, the long headline will end with ellipses.
- Write a description (at least 1, or up to 5 descriptions). The description adds to the headline and invites people to take action. It can be up to 90 characters and may appear after the (short or long) headline. Note: The length of the rendered description will depend on the site it appears on. If shortened, the description will end with ellipses.
- Business name. This is the name of your business or brand.
- Final URL. This is where people will go when they click on your ad.
- Optional: Go to advanced URL options to add tracking or custom parameters to your URL.
- Optional: Click MORE OPTIONS and select Call to action text. From the drop-down menu (on the left) select a language and from the drop-down menu (on the right) select a specific call to action text.
- Optional for dynamic responsive ads: promotion text (ex. “Free two-day shipping”) and price prefix.
- Preview the most popular sizes and ad formats of your potential ads. Since responsive display ads are built to reach across almost any ad space on the Display Network, they can show in thousands of layouts.
- Click Save.
- Wait at least a week after your ad is approved before you review its performance. Before that, your data is still incomplete.
If you'd like to generate a second set of asset pairings, you can create a new ad later on. The assets you provide in each ad are used interchangeably only within that ad.
Step 5. Let the system optimize for conversions
Smart Display campaigns can take some time to scale and stabilize depending on how many conversions you’re getting (a higher conversion volume typically yields faster optimization). Let the system learn which assets and strategies work best. This can take about 2 weeks if your campaign has a few conversions a day—a good rule of thumb is to wait for about 40–50 conversions unless you’re not achieving any at all. In that case, consider raising your target CPA bid until conversions start coming in.
Step 6. Check your performance with the asset report
Here are instructions to check your performance:
- On the page menu on the left, click Campaigns.
- Click the name of your Smart Display campaign to see a report about how each of your assets are performing.
Assets are ranked relative to each other as "best", "good", and "low”, based on how well they've generated conversions. A status of "waiting" means that your asset has not yet been reviewed and approved, and status of "learning" means the system is still gathering data.
Step 7. Use your asset report to make small, incremental changes
After you check your asset report for a new campaign, you may choose to remove “low” assets and replace them with assets more like your “best” performing ones. After those assets generate enough performance data to be ranked, which can take up to 2 weeks, you may choose to again remove “low” performing assets.
Keep in mind that assets are ranked relative to each other. As you make small changes, don’t be surprised if assets that used to be ranked as “good” now rank as “low”—even if their absolute performance hasn’t changed.
Important: to avoid volatility and enhance optimization, don’t make big, sweeping changes to your campaign.