How to Use Automation and Smart Bidding for Google Success

May 18, 2020

Digital Marketing Bradley Hearn By Bradley Hearn

If there’s one challenge every brand and retailer faces on Google, it’s the complexities of bidding. 

Your ability to master keyword bids has a huge influence on not only how visible your ads are, but also the level of interaction you get for each query. Bid ineffectively, and you could miss out on a mountain of valuable conversions. 

But with so many signals influencing behaviors, identifying the best uplift for each keyword and bid can be incredibly difficult — if not downright impossible. The dynamic nature of search auctions means the “right” bid is usually a moving target that simply can’t be reached at scale. 

Thankfully, there is a way around this challenge. With machine learning, you can take advantage of Google’s abundant data and deep neural networks to deliver the right ad to the right consumer, at just the right moment. When you leverage automation, Google will instantly (and simultaneously) evaluate different data signals for each auction to set the optimal bid in real time. 

The more conversions you have, the faster it works. And contrary to what some may believe, automation does not require you to surrender control of campaigns. On the contrary: Knowing how to make artificial intelligence work for your business is a key pillar for success. 

Which is why it’s time to make the most of smart bidding options. 

How Smart Bidding Works

Rather than reacting to historical data, Smart Bidding provides proactive “auction-time” bidding to optimize Conversions. 

You can start with semi-automated bidding, a partial solution that allows advertisers to test the waters with an enhanced CPC strategy at the query level for each auction. Once you become comfortable with the process, the next step is to move on to more fully automated bidding and Smart Bidding options. Throughout this process, the key is to choose the right strategy based on your goals and then test…and test…and test some more.

Automation Best Practices

Setup

When getting started with automation, keep in mind that Google will go through a learning period that can take up to 14 days. Try not to make any changes to the campaign setting or structure during this time, even if your conversion and spend volumes are low. 

Next comes the “business as usual” phase. Your campaigns should be performing as expected during this stage, which means no action is needed. Shoppers will convert as they see your ads across Google Shopping and Display, often with a few days between when they see your ads and ultimately make the purchase. 

After waiting a few days for these conversion lags, you then can begin evaluating performance. Be sure to compare performance from the “business as usual” stage to a two-week period before your automated campaigns started. 

Optimization

Several additional best practices will help ensure you get as much ROI as possible from Smart Bidding:

  • Look at conversion-based metrics to determine success. 
  • Limit the amount of changes you make to campaigns. Major changes may set the Smart Bidding strategy into a new learning period. 
  • Remember that Smart Bidding is designed to achieve conversion goals — not maximize impression share.

Want to know more about how to optimize your presence on Google, check out our eBook: The New Pillars of Google Success

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