To any small business, creating and managing a Google Ad campaign can be a daunting task. Since so many people use Google to find answers to their questions, every business should be taking advantage of paid advertising through search engines. And while programs like Google Ads can help businesses be seen by countless potential customers, the time and energy put into managing a campaign can be overwhelming. Google Smart Campaigns, a platform formerly known as Google AdWords Express, offers a quicker and easier solution to this problem, and while this offer might be attractive, it can be equally destructive. 

What are Google Smart Campaigns?

Google Smart Campaigns is a platform found in Google Ads, a pay-per-click online advertising platform that allows advertisers’ businesses to show up as search results. A smart campaign is still run through Google Ads, but it is more automated and simple to use. Many new or small businesses turn to this simpler platform because of its enticing selling points that make it seem almost too good to be true. And with such a simple and attractive tool, it’s best to know what you’re getting and if it’s worth it.

A Look into The Selling Points – Pros

Google sells Smart Campaigns as an easy system that helps direct customers to your business through Google Search and Google Maps advertisements. But what makes Smart Campaigns different from regular Google Ads campaigns? 

Easy to Set Up

When creating your campaign, you will be prompted with only 5 major actions. The first is simply selecting your campaign type as “Smart Campaign” in your Google Ads account. Next, you will indicate whether you want your customers to make calls to your business, visit your storefront, or take actions on your website. Next, you are prompted to add information about your business, insert a link for your website, and choose keyword themes related to your business. Next, you will create your ad, which is as simple as writing 2 headlines and a description. Last, you will set your budget on how much you want to spend per day. 

Fast Process

With only a few actions needed to set up your campaign, it’s no surprise that the process only takes 15 minutes. Using theFocused group of diverse young designers working on a laptop together at a desk in their startup officese pieces of information, Google is able to automatically set up where and when ads will appear, leaving you with little to no work to do.

A Look into the Downfalls – Cons

An easy, fast, automated advertising solution that takes away most of the work so what’s the catch? Let’s take a closer look at the downfalls of Google Smart Campaigns.

Fewer Options

With any simpler solution to a complex process, it’s obvious that you won’t be given as much leeway for customization. This is especially true for Smart Campaigns, because you aren’t given certain important options.  

  • You can’t specify keywords, you can only specify keyword themes, which are then optimized by Google
  • You can’t add keywords manually, can only toggle keyword on or off
  • You can’t see the specific search terms used to get to your site
  • You can’t add negative keywords
  • You can’t add ad extensions
  • You can’t view in-depth reports on your campaign data, so you won’t get a clear idea of your return on investment

Less Budget Control

With this platform, you are essentially giving your money to Google for them to use it however they want. And while automation saves you time and energy, it neglects important customizations that would otherwise help your business. While you can set a budget that can be adjusted at 

any time, you can’t specify the amount you want to bid on certain keywords, meaning your money might be going to the wrong places. 


Sometimes, Smart Campaigns give your ads to the wrong people. This platform only uses the keyword match type called “broad match”, meaning your ads can show up for any searches of related words or synonyms.  On the other hand, regular Google Ads campaigns not only use  broad match, but also broad match modified, phrase match, and exact match. These additional match types would help your ads reach the right people more accurately. When it comes down to it, Smart Campaigns let Google spend your money on irrelevant, and therefore unprofitable, searches.

Are You Being Set Up for Failure? 

It’s no question why so many small businesses are so easily sold by Google Smart Campaigns; new business owners might not trust themselves or third parties to manage their ads, but they do trust Google. But don’t be fooled by this seemingly quick fix. When considering the downfalls of this tool, you’re much better off with learning how to manage a regular Google Ads campaign, or getting a third-party advertising agency to work with you. A better managed search ad campaign gives you better control over keywords, targets, and overall optimization. And with a better managed search ad campaign, your business will be able to rank above competitors and reach new customers.

Want to Boost Your Google Search Rankings? BRMC can Help! 

If you are a small business owner wanting to reach more customers but aren’t sure where to start, Blue Ridge Media Company is here to help. BRMC is a Premier Google Partner on Google Ads, and our team is ready to help you achieve your goals. Contact us at (888) 535-2762 to learn more about starting your Google Ads campaign, and we’ll help you find quality leads, maximize conversions, and gain a better return on investment for your business.