Expert Mode vs Smart Mode in Google Ads – What’s the Difference?

expert mode vs smart mode google adsThis post was last updated on June 26, 2023

Did you know there are two different types of Google Ads accounts you can have? Between Smart Mode and Expert Mode, there are a variety of differences that can change how a user controls and interacts with the platform.

Keep on reading to learn more about these two modes, what makes them differ from one another, and which one is the best option for you and your business.

How to Tell Which Mode Your Google Ads Account Is In

According to Google’s Help Center, to identify whether your account is in Smart Mode or Expert Mode, you must check your settings.

If the tool icon on the top panel of your Google Ads dashboard is labeled “Settings,” you’re in Smart Mode. And if the tool icon is labeled “Tools and Settings” or “Tools,” you’re in Expert Mode.

What You Need to Know About Google Ads Expert Mode and Smart Mode

What Is Smart Mode?

As a more scaled-back, simplified version of Google Ads, Smart Mode is perfect for anyone who is a novice at PPC; most new Google Ads users join under Smart Mode. It was made for those who do not have much experience in the Google Ads interface so that owners can easily set up and manage campaigns.

When a user is in Smart Mode, their campaigns are automatically created as Smart campaigns, which allow users to select business goals and where they want to advertise. Then, as time progresses, Google’s machine learning will try to deliver results based on the goals that were set.

Web store visits, phone calls, and specific actions on a web page are all examples of some of the results the machine learning will deliver.

What Is Expert Mode?

On the flip side, Expert Mode gives users a full range of all Google Ads features in the interface and access to all campaign types.

While in Expert Mode, users will have complete control, which in turn requires more skill and knowledge to manage campaigns. Google recommends that Expert Mode only be used by more advanced marketers and business owners.

What Are the Main Differences Between Google Ads Expert Mode and Smart Mode?

Though both Smart Mode and Expert Mode achieve some of the same goals, it is important to know which mode is best for you and your growing business. Here is a brief checklist of some of the main differences between the two:

  • Goals – When it comes to running PPC campaigns in Smart Mode, you are only limited to one goal per campaign. Additionally, it has to be one of the predetermined goals that Google Ads sets. Expert Mode, on the other hand, allows you to create custom goals so long as you are able to track your ads with the Google Ads tag.
  • Demographics – When in Expert Mode, there are numerous audiences you can choose from, such as in-market, affinity, your data segments, and more. All audience information comes from the most up-to-date data on buying intent released from Google. This will allow you to create highly targeted campaigns as opposed to being limited to keyword themes in Smart Mode.
  • Negative keywords – Expert Mode allows you to include keywords that you want to be excluded from your PPC advertising campaigns. For example, if your keyword is “Atlanta SEO” and you included “careers” as one of your negative keywords, it will automatically leave out any instances of your ad appearing when people search for, say, “Atlanta SEO careers.” Smart Mode does not give you that opportunity.
  • Assets – Add-ons such as callouts, price, call, sitelink, and more can be included with your ads when in Expert Mode. Smart Mode does not include these features.
  • Keyword match types – These keyword match types in Expert Mode can give you an assumption of which keywords would be the most beneficial to use for your campaigns, as well as the keywords you would like your PPC campaigns to be matched with.

Overall, Smart Mode is the simple version of Expert Mode and includes fewer features and accommodations for your campaigns. Though the simplistic option, Smart Mode is an incredible resource for those wanting to build brand awareness for their company and increase traffic without knowing the ins and outs of PPC marketing.

The farther that you get into Google Ads, though, the more you will realize that Smart Mode can be more limiting to your campaigns.

When Should I Switch From Smart Mode to Expert Mode?

The real question that should be asked is not when you should switch, but if you should switch at all.

Switching from Smart to Expert Mode is completely dependent on the user, as well as the end goal of the business or organization. For some individuals and smaller businesses, Smart Mode may be all that you need in order to deliver the results you are looking for. We recommend this feature for those wanting to simply advertise their brand to their target audience.

On the other hand, if you are looking to expand your limits on your brand and have a more creative space to experiment with your Google Ads campaigns, then it may be time to switch to Expert Mode.

How to Switch Modes in Google Ads

If your account is in Smart Mode, and you would like to graduate to all that Expert Mode has to offer, there is a quick switch available in your settings.

It is important to note that once you change your settings to Expert Mode, you cannot switch back to Smart Mode. However, you will still be able to edit your existing Smart campaigns while in Expert Mode.

  • Sign in to your Google Ads account, and click the tools icon on the top navigation bar
  • Select “Switch to Expert Mode”

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Sarah Blocksidge

About the Author

Sarah Blocksidge

Sarah is the Marketing Director at Sixth City Marketing and has been with the company since 2016. Her main role is to attract more B2B clients for the company. Over the years, she has been mentioned on HubSpot, Content Marketing Institute, Fast Company, Mashable, and many other notable sites.

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