Save Time, Bid Smarter

Some of you may remember a time when managing online ad bids was a full day of work in itself. Luckily, we’ve moved past those tedious times and into the new world of automated or smart bidding. But how smart is smart bidding and how does it work?

Automated Bidding

Automated bidding is a Google Ads bid strategy that is designed to help you maximize bid results based on campaign goals. Essentially, Google automatically sets your bid amounts based on how likely they believe your ad is to incur a click or conversion. In order to do this, Google analyzes the user data including your device information, operating system, search times, target audience, location and more.

Because this method is automated, it allows advertisers to use specific strategies across various campaigns. For instance, if you have multiple clients that are targetting 18-35-year-old females, then this kind of automated bidding can save you the time of inputting the same information across bids. Without automated bidding, you would be forced to manually adjust your bids to each customer’s unique language, device, browser, time, etc. Yikes.

Automated bidding also helps advertisers ensure that their ads are being seen by the right markets and that they are not bidding too low to compete with other companies.

Smart Bidding

Smart bidding is a type of automated bidding that focuses solely on conversion-based strategies. This bidding style uses machine learning to maximize conversion results by tracking and analyzing millions of searches and clicks.  With this data, Google will increase or decrease bids based on whether or not it believes a certain ad will result in a conversion.

Here are some of the main conversion-based Smart Bidding strategies:

  • Enhanced CPC stands for enhanced cost-per-click. This style automatically adjusts bids for higher-conversion clicks. It can also increase your bid if Google determines that you are not paying enough to ensure a conversion.
  • Target CPA means target cost-per-action. This sets bids to help get as many conversions as possible at or below the cost-per-action that you set.
  • Target ROAS refers to the target return-on-ad-spend that you set. This lets you bid based on a pre-determined ROAS.
  • Target Impression Share sets bids with the goal of showing your ad on the front page of Google search results, with a preference for the top search spot.
  • Maximize Conversions sets the bid to help get the most conversions. This style uses machine learning to automatically optimize bids and offer tailored bids for every auction. It also takes your performance history into account when creating bids.
  • Maximize Clicks focuses on increasing clicks for campaigns while spending a specified amount. If you do not specify an amount, Google Ads will use the remaining budgets of other daily campaigns in this bid strategy.
robot figurine for AntiSocial Solutions explains SEO
robot figurine for AntiSocial Solutions explains SEO
robot figurine for AntiSocial Solutions explains SEO

Choosing The Right Strategy

The first step in choosing the right strategy for your campaign is to outline your specific goals. Do you want to increase overall conversions (Maximize Conversions), decrease your bid costs (CPA), or get a specific return on your ad spend (ROAS)? Budget constraints, campaign history, and reach goals should all be considered when choosing which Smart Bidding strategy is right for your campaign.

This table from Google Ads gives a few examples of goals and strategies:

Business Goal

Campaign Goal

Smart Bidding Method

Increase Sales or Leads Get as many conversions as possible at a fixed budget or fixed ROI Max ConversionsTarget CPA
Increase Profit Hit a Return on ad spend (ROAS) that is a profitable level for a specific campaign type Target ROAS
Increase Website Visitors Get as many clicks to your websites as possible with the given budget Max Clicks
Increase or stabilize awareness Show in a certain percentage of eligible auctions Target Impression Share

Optimizing Your Results

Once you’ve chosen your strategy you can let Smart Bidding do its work. Remember that machine learning takes time and you need to give the campaign a chance to run before you start digging into analytics.

That being said, once you’ve gathered enough data it is essential that you continue to optimize your strategy. General A/B testing, creative edits, and webpage updates will all help your algorithms perform better.

Smart bidding strategies can save you time while leveraging algorithms to take your campaigns to the next level. But, it is important to choose the right strategy for the right campaign.

Here’s an easy breakdown of the Smart Bidding process:

1. Evaluate your campaign

2. Choose a strategy that fits your desired outcome

3. Be patient, let the algorithms run for at least 3-4 weeks before changing strategies

4. Analyze collected data and optimize your campaign strategy and branding

Who Does It Better? Human vs. Machine

Using AI and machine learning techniques in your digital marketing strategies can optimize your team, increase productivity, and leave more time for creative campaign strategizing. But, there is still a need for human interaction, even within the automated bidding sphere.

For example, smart campaigns can make it difficult to identify and fix drops in performance. One way around this is to install scripts that can alert your team about peaks and drops. Small tweaks and changes in the campaign strategy should not be forgotten or left to the machine. People still want to feel that they are being spoken to by other people. Plus, machines miss things.

In addition, specific details about the brand, tone, sales processes, margins, and goals will be better handled by real-life team members. Adding a human component alongside your Smart Bidding strategies will ensure a well-rounded and successful campaign.

Ultimately, a good ad won’t bring a conversion unless it is followed by an even better landing page, creative and engaging copy, and a seamless shopping experience. Don’t fret, humans. You haven’t been replaced yet.

If you’re looking to grow your paid advertising strategy, reach out to us, we’re here to help.