By Andy Hoover

Digital advertiser creating campaigns on a laptop at a desk.

Google introduced “Smart Mode” to help even the most inexperienced advertisers get their campaigns up and running with minimal effort. While the platform’s machine learning algorithms are robust, Smart Mode isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

We recently analyzed a client’s Google Ads campaign created by another marketing company. To our surprise, the previous vendor had used Google Ads Smart Mode instead of Expert Mode and spent a decent budget with no results. As described below, a number of significant issues were found with using Smart Mode, and other issues including Google Ads and Analytics performance tags and tracking not set up properly and no saved data. The result of the Smart Mode campaign was no conversions.

Here’s a list of reasons why relying solely on Google Ads Smart Mode could be a mistake for your advertising campaigns.

The Illusion of Simplicity

One of the major selling points of Smart Mode is its simplicity. Google promises to handle all the intricate elements of an ad campaign, from keyword targeting to bidding strategies. However, what is sacrificed for this simplicity is control and customization, crucial aspects that seasoned advertisers rely upon. While Smart Mode might get your campaign off the ground quickly, it may not be the most effective way to reach your target audience or achieve particular business objectives.

Lack of Granular Control

One of the most significant drawbacks of Smart Mode is the limited control over the settings. Advertisers can’t choose their target keywords with as much specificity, nor can they optimize campaigns by setting negative keywords to exclude irrelevant traffic. Bidding strategies are also handled automatically, which might not align with an advertiser’s goals, such as brand awareness or customer retention. This lack of control may result in a wasted budget and less-than-optimal results.

Dependence on Machine Learning

Machine learning algorithms rely on vast amounts of data to make informed decisions. While Google Ads Smart Mode does utilize machine learning, it is generally more effective when there is substantial data for it to analyze. For new campaigns or niche markets, the algorithms might not have enough data to make the best choices, which could affect your return on marketing investment negatively.

Limited Performance Insights

The analytics provided in Smart Mode are simplified to make it user-friendly. This simplification is great for beginners but less useful for advanced advertisers who want to dive deep into the data. Limited performance insights make it challenging to identify what is working and what needs adjustment, hindering your campaign’s optimization and evolution.

Incompatibility with Complex Strategies

If your advertising strategy involves multi-channel funnels, seasonal adjustments, or A/B testing of different ad copy or landing pages, Smart Mode might not be up to the task. Its limitations make it less compatible with more advanced or nuanced marketing strategies, narrowly targeting your audience that requires precise control and adaptability.

Financial Implications

Lastly, while Smart Mode might seem cost-effective initially, this is not always the case in the long run. The platform might opt for higher bids to achieve short-term results, which could result in higher costs and inefficient budget spending over time. Furthermore, the automated system may not always differentiate between high-value and low-value clicks, which could increase your advertising costs without a proportionate rise in returns.


Google Ads Smart Mode offers a convenient entry point for those new to online advertising. However, the limitations in control, customization, and analytics make it less suitable for advertisers looking for optimal performance and specific results. For effective advertising campaigns, hiring a Google Ads professional who uses a hands-on approach using Expert Mode is required.

Need help with your Google Ads campaigns?  Contact us for a free consultation and evaluation.

Why You Shouldn't Just Rely on Google Ads Smart Mode: A Deep Dive
Article Name
Why You Shouldn't Just Rely on Google Ads Smart Mode: A Deep Dive
Google introduced "Smart Mode" to help even the most inexperienced advertisers get their campaigns up and running with minimal effort. While the platform's machine learning algorithms are robust, Smart Mode isn't a one-size-fits-all solution.
Beasley Direct and Online Marketing, Inc.