What are smart campaigns?

Google Ads smart campaigns are the easiest and fastest way you can jump straight into the Google Ads world. It requires no knowledge or time on your part. The entire process should take you no more than 5 minutes to get it running. When you first start creating a Google Ads account, Google will lead you to create your first smart campaign. The steps are these:

  1. Tell Google about your business goals (There are 4 pre-set goals. Get more calls, website conversions, store visits, and brand awareness)
  2. Key in your website URL
  3. Write your first ad
  4. Pick the keyword themes
  5. Pick the location to run ads in
  6. Select your daily budget
  7. Review your details again

Your ad will now automatically show to potential customers across Google Search, Google Maps, YouTube, Gmail, and Google partner websites. 

Sounds easy if all you want is an average account.

Do we recommend smart campaigns?

The answer is: No. Smart campaigns put a huge cap on your account capabilities. They are meant for beginners who just want to set up their account and let it run by itself with minimal work and expertise. We believe that that is the goal of Google, to get as many advertisers to dip their feet into the platform. And it works, but you will not think of growing a successful PPC account with smart campaigns because they are many striking problems.

Let’s look at the top 3.

Problem 1: Limited features

Smart campaign strips away all the features of Google Ads and leaves you with the minimum. The main reason is not to confuse new advertisers. Because of the limited features, you cannot modify your campaign and have to rely on Google making the decisions for you solely. Things like granular keyword targeting, negative keywords, different ad formats, and audience targeting are all out of the window.

Problem 2: No control

Having to solely rely on Google to drive the “wheel” means you will not have to do anything. There is nothing to optimize, and the only option is to sit back and watch. You will not know where your budget is being spent and for how much.

Problem 3: Low results

Having limited features and no control means you cannot direct your campaign to perform as you want. By changing to expert mode, you gain full access to how the platform is supposed to be experienced. An account on expert mode and managed by a professional agency will deliver vastly different results than just letting a smart campaign run it for you.

Expert mode

Here is how you enable “expert mode” in your Google Ads.

Expert mode gives you full access to the latent benefits of Google Ads. 

  1. Once signed into your Google Ads account, click the Tools icon in the top right corner.
  2. Select Switch to Expert Mode.

Once you’ve switched to Expert Mode, you’ll be able to access the full Google Ads experience and create all Google Ads campaign types, e.g. Search, Display, Video, App, Shopping. 


That being said, Google Ads is an incredibly complex platform to adjust to, let alone running a successful campaign. The number of details that you have to be aware of to successfully run a Google Ads account is astounding.

On most successful accounts, more than half the battle is not won in Google Ads. Conversion tag implementation, tracking, analytics, reporting, creative design, CRMs are all outside tools that heavily impact your Google Ads performance.

Understanding how smart campaigns work in Google Ads and how they differ from expert mode will help you make more prudent decisions in the future. We have written extensive curated articles to help you learn everything about paid search and Google Ads here.