What Tuff Learned From Smart Display Campaigns: Part 2 (The Results)

We’ve tried. We’ve tested. We have results!


In Part One of our venture into Smart Display Campaigns we walked through the set up process and early results we were seeing for two businesses. We focused our efforts on two different types of businesses to see how these campaigns stack up to historical campaign performance. To recap, we tested the new campaign type on these two businesses. At the time of the Part One post, here's what we were seeing:

Business A

  • Smart Campaign: $3 target CPA, 15 images, 2 logos, 5 headlines, 5 descriptions all around one general KW theme
  • Display conversions in the last 30 days: 748
  • Cost per conversion: $7.46 
  • Conversion rate: 5.34% 
  • After a few days: $3.22 CPA

Business B

  • Smart Campaign: $100 target CPA, 12 images, 2 logos, 5 headlines, 5 descriptions all around one general KW theme
  • Search conversions in the last 30 days: 197 
  • Cost per conversion: $299.56 
  • Conversion rate: 8.73% 
  • After a few days: $161.27 CPA

The Final Results

We were able to load up the Smart Display Campaigns with solid creative that has worked across other traditional display campaigns and let the new campaigns run for around 45 days. Because these campaigns are heavily automated by Google, it was necessary for us to let the data pour in without changing the settings, bidding, or creative throughout that timeframe. Basically, we needed to let Google do its thing, and it certainly did its thing. Here are the results for both businesses after 45 days:

Business A



  • Conversions: 641
  • Cost per conversion: $3 
  • Conversion rate: 9.84% 
  • ROI: $1297 return on $1924.54 spend (67% ROI)


  • This campaign cut CPA by more than half
  • This campaign saw an increase in conversion rate by almost 2%
  • This campaign saw a raise in ROI by about 8% (note: ROI is not accounting for lifetime value of this business’ clients, it if were it would be at least a 3 to 1 return)

Business B



  • Conversions: 18 
  • Cost per conversion: $58.39 
  • Conversion rate: .44% 


  • This campaign cut the traditional CPA from around $299.56 to $58.39
  • This campaign had a very low conversion rate (.44%) compared to the account average of 3.79%
  • None of these 18 leads converted to sales

Unpacking all of this data

We can easily see why the Business A campaign vastly outperformed the other. For starters, Business A is less of a search based business.They rely on push marketing that gets display ads in front of cold prospects instead of people typing in their services into google and converting through traditional search ads. Also, they have significantly more data in terms of conversions (display conversions at that) and clicks for Google’s automation to use. Also note that there was an adjustment after 30 days that lowered the CPA bidding even further and saw even lower CPAs.  

Business B is more of a search traffic based business, with most of their conversions and clients coming from search campaigns rather than display campaigns. So, even though they had enough conversions in the system to run a Smart Display campaign, the campaign ended up producing very low quality leads that were very far from converting into clients. Also, digging deeper into their CRM and taking a look at these leads there were several duplicates and blank leads within those 18 conversions. It was easy to make the decision to pause that campaign for now so we could focus on more traditional display campaigns that yield higher CPAs but also higher quality leads.


  • Use Smart Display campaigns if you have a LOT of data within your account. We would even recommend doubling their suggestion to 100 conversions within the last 30 day. The more dat the better results you'll get.

  • Expect weaker performance if your business is heavy on search traffic rather than display/youtube traffic. If display traffic isn’t already well represented within your account don’t expect Smart Display to save the day.

  • Only use Smart Display if you can confirm results through to a sale. Business B results looked promising, especially CPA, until we took a look at the lack of performance within the CRM.

Happy marketing everyone, hope these insights help!

Need help with your marketing efforts? Feel free to reach out to us at Tuff anytime.

More Posts