Part 1: Smart Bidding with Google on Air Training

Ever heard of the term Smart Bidding? Probably not, we’ll explain!

What is smart bidding?

In a nutshell, Smart Bidding is a set of automated bid strategies in Google Ads that use machine learning to maximise conversions. Google looks at historical search behaviour and contextual data to predict the likelihood of a conversion and then increases your bids when a conversion appears more likely.

Aligning Bid Strategies with Marketing Goals

It’s important to decide what the most valuable performance metric will be for your business and campaign. Are you looking to create brand awareness? Are you trying to increase sales through your online store? Or are you looking to secure more bookings or leads for your service offering?

Google Ads allow you to select a bid strategy that will match your objective. For example, if you want to increase website visits, the “maximise clicks” bid strategy will be your first choice.

Campaign level conversion settings

You can have more than just one goal in mind! Your website might have various actions you would like users to complete such as newsletter signups, booking form completions, immediate purchases or a live chat submission.

If this is the case, it’s important to include your various action points into your individual campaigns. Always remember to “import” your conversions to your campaign as it ensures your bidding strategy will look to improve all your desired user engagement points. Once you are successfully recording conversions, you can optimise, improve, track and report on your conversions and overall campaign performance.

At the end of the day, you want to run your account at a profitable rate. Finally, give each conversion type a value. By doing this you can start to calculate the revenue your ad campaign is generating and optimise its profitability.

Target ROAS

One of the final stages around smart conversion bidding is by using “Target ROAS” or “Target Return on Ad Spend”. Once you reach a point in your campaign where you are making a return on investment, you can set your bidding to increase the percentage return on ad spend the system will try and achieve.

Effectively the ad system is trying to reach and maintain a specific percentage of return on investment from your ad campaign.

Planning also plays a big role when considering a decrease or increase in media budget. Google has added a budget simulator as well, which would give you a good indication of the potential revenue you can generate from your preferred increase or decrease in media budget.

Bid strategy report

In order to understand why your campaign costs and/or performance is going up or down, you can have a look at your bid strategy report. The report will highlight the various signals being used within your smart bid strategy to try and optimise performance. Signals can range from ads being served during specific times of the day or on which type of device your ads are more likely to appear on.

Additionally, it summarises your performance targets and compares it to your current performance results in graph format. These visual indicators are designed to help you immediately realise if your performance is trending in a positive or negative direction.

Branding on Search

In some instances, you would want to make sure that your search ads appear on Google’s search pages as much as possible. This might even be your primary goal.

One of the newer bid strategies available is “Target Impression Share” which allows you to set the percentage of searches per day you want to have your ad appear for. In this scenario the ad system will try to minimise cost and maximise exposure, and keep in mind, conversions increases are not a priority.

Target Impression Share also allows you to select where you want your ads to appear. You decide where you want to be seen, keeping in mind that the more you drive to have your ads placed at the absolute top, the more expensive your ads will become.

Creativity + Automation = Magic

It is important to always remember that the smart bidding system is just that, a system. At the end of the day you are still dealing with humans on the other end of your ads and your ad creative, landing page and service offering needs to be attractive and fair in order to make a Return on Investment. You need to be creative in the way you communicate, not only on your website but in your ads as well.

If you’d like to talk to us about how we can help with your bidding strategies, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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Having been established in 2005, in Cape Town, South Africa, Elemental is primarily focused on providing web development services and digital marketing campaigns.