last Updated 12 April 2023

Google Ads Smart Campaigns – The Not-So-Smart Option for Mortgage Brokers

The biggest mistake you can make when you start running Google Ads to generate mortgage leads is to set up a Smart Campaign.

Despite what the name implies, running a Smart Campaign just isn’t a smart move.

What is a Smart Campaign?

A Smart Campaign is basically a fully automated Google Ads campaign that requires minimal effort to set up and where Google promises to run everything and make all the decisions for you using its artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

Smart Campaigns are a replacement for what used to be called AdWords Express back in the days when the main platform was called Google AdWords rather than Google Ads.

A lot of advertisers are running Smart Campaigns without realising it, because that’s what you’ll end up with if you follow all Google’s default options when you get started.

On the face of it, Smart Campaigns sound like a good idea. 

Instead of having to come up with a list of keywords, you just choose from some keyword themes that Google suggests. Then you write an ad, tell Google your budget, and hit Go!

Within a few hours, your phone will probably start ringing. 

But, if you’re like a lot of the mortgage brokers I speak to who have inadvertently created Smart Campaigns, those calls are going to be from people who think you’re their local branch of Santander, Halifax, or some other mortgage lender. 

And they never want advice about a new mortgage. They’re more likely to be calling to discuss a query or complaint about their existing one!

Why don't Smart Campaigns work?

Well, it’s because Smart Campaigns are designed to be really simple to set up. But, with increased simplicity, you also get a loss of control.

For example, you get very little control over where and when your ads are shown and what kind of searches trigger them to appear. Hence you end up paying for clicks from people who want to speak to their local bank instead of to an independent mortgage adviser.

You also, in the interests of simplicity, get given access to less data about how your campaign is performing. And although that means there’s less stuff to confuse new advertisers, it also means you aren’t in a position to improve and optimise the performance of your ads.

In theory that shouldn’t matter because you’ve got Google’s AI doing all the work. But that AI can only start to function effectively once it has a lot of data to work with, and brand new campaigns obviously don’t have that data.

Google Ads smart campaigns - Google Ads Smart Campaigns – The Not-So-Smart Option for Mortgage Brokers

Plus, Google’s AI will have different motivations from what you’d have if you were controlling things like bids, keyword choice, and demographic targeting yourself.

As the advertiser/business owner, what you want is conversions - i.e. leads and enquiries

But Google earns money from each click on your ad, not from each lead you generate. 

So Google’s machine learning is only really interested in getting your ad in front of those people who are most likely to click it, regardless of whether they are really looking for what you’re selling.

As a result, a Smart Campaign will usually bring you lots of clicks (and earn lots of money for Google) but they’ll be low quality clicks that don’t turn into business for you.

If you want to know how to set up a Google Ads campaign the correct way - i.e. without falling into the trap of using a Smart Campaign - then I’ve got some good news!

I’m currently running a free webinar where I’ll show you step-by-step how to set up a Google Ads campaign the correct way so that you have full control over it and so as it actually generates mortgage leads rather than money-wasting clicks.

Click here to find out more and book your seat

About the author 

David Miles

As a digital marketing consultant, author and trainer, I specialise in helping businesses in the financial services sector use the internet to get more enquiries and increase profits.

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