The Difference Between Smart Mode and Expert Mode On Google Ads

Smart Mode and Expert Mode are the two options you have when using Google Ads. The mode you decide to go with can have a big impact on your business’s advertising. 

The choice between Smart or Expert Mode affects the ease of use at your end. But more significantly, whether you choose Smart Mode or Expert Mode changes the kinds of ads people will see, and who gets to see them.

The basic breakdown is this: Smart mode is a simplified version of Google Ads, while Expert Mode is Google Ads in full, with all of the options and features that entails. 

So which is right for you? That depends on the person and their business. Here’s a full breakdown, to help you decide.

What is Smart Mode?

Google’s Smart Mode, designed for small businesses, was unveiled in 2019 (one of many features Google has added in recent years for small businesses). Formerly called Google AdWords Express, the campaigns in this mode are automated. Google will do most of the work for you — even choosing your keyword — based on a few variables that you input.

When you first sign up for Google Ads, you’ll be in Smart Mode by default. That means that every ad campaign you make will be a smart campaign.

Smart Mode Is Preferable In Limited Situations

Smart Mode is easy to use. When you first sign up for Google Ads, you’ll be asked a series of simple questions, including:

  • Basic information about your business
  • Locations you’d like to target
  • Keyword themes

Once that’s done, you write your ad. Finally, you set a daily budget. The entire process can be completed in under 15 minutes. It’s simple and easy. 

But are Smart campaigns effective? They can be, but in general, they are less productive in terms of generating clicks than Expert Campaigns.

If you have extremely limited time, and little or no experience using Google Ads, you should probably stick to Smart Mode. That’s the user-base it’s designed for, and the mode is effective in that capacity.

Smart Mode Does Offer Some Analytics Tools

While it is simple, Smart Mode gives you options to track your campaigns via several analytics tools:

  • Reported Calls — shows you the number of calls and clicks you’ve received from the campaign
  • Map Actions — tells you how many times people who saw your ad looked it up on Google Maps
  • Google Analytics — which you can link your campaign to — allows you to measure your website’s success according to a few metrics.

While these are helpful features, they don’t compare to the breadth of options available to users of campaigns in Expert Mode.

Most Businesses Should Switch to Expert Mode

If you have any kind of time to devote to Google Ads, you should do so. 

Expert mode will save you money. With the option to target your ads in expert mode, you can focus your advertising on certain demographics of customers, meaning you won’t have to waste money reaching people who are unlikely to be customers.

Ads can be tweaked to target:

  • Age 
  • Gender
  • Economic status
  • Location

When you first create a campaign in Expert Mode, you’ll be able to choose a campaign goal from options like sales, website traffic, and reach. Then you can choose a campaign from seven options:

  • Search 
  • Display
  • Video 
  • Shopping
  • App
  • Local
  • Smart

Expert Mode Has More Keyword Options

One of the biggest pluses of Expert Mode is the ability to choose from broad match, phrase match, exact match, and even negative keyword match options. Each has situations in which they are most applicable.

Exact match, for example, allows you to reach potential customers who search for the specific keyword you’re bidding on (with allowances for misspelling and close variants). It’s a great way to maximize ROI since you’ll be targeting only those people with an interest in what you’re offering.

How to Switch to Google Expert Ads

If you’ve been using Smart Mode but feel ready to make the change to expert — don’t worry, the actual process of switching over is easy. 

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click on the Tools & Settings icon at the top right corner of your browser.
  3. Click the option to “Switch to Expert Mode.”

Now you’re ready to hone in on your Google Ads.

Want to Use Expert Mode, Without the Hassle? Hire A Marketing Expert.

While it is possible for a small or medium-sized business to manage their own Google ads, it requires a unique skill set — that’s why Google created smart campaigns. 

If you want to maximize the value of your Google Ads, it’s probably in your best interest to partner with an expert. They will be able to go into the weeds of complex ad strategies and better allocate your resources.