you’re using target search page location bidding. you know it’s working because you see your ad: This is the third and final post in our series on Google Ads Automation. We’ve covered automated rules, keywords, and ads, and today we’ll be done.
“When should I use automatic bidding?” – Almost everyone with a Google Ads account.
Automatic bidding is a hot topic in our industry. There are always articles that talk about the need to use automatic bidding, which are quickly answered with messages warning you that you should never automate bidding.
When it comes down to it, the real answer is not that simple: it all depends on the circumstances.
There are many options for automatic bidding in Google Ads. Some of them might be good for your account, while others might be terrible. You may find that all of your bidding strategies are used somewhere in your account, and until you understand how each bidding strategy works, it’s impossible to determine.
In this Bid Strategy Automation Guide, I’ll go over each of the options available to you and point out what you should look for when automating.
Let’s start where each new account starts: manual bidding.
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Manual bidding is the simplest bidding strategy on the Google Ads platform. Advertisers manually set their bids at the keyword level, and the bids remain the same until the advertiser changes them.
Despite the friendly warning from Google, this is the best place to start for people getting started with PPC or using their free time to manage their account, but it does have its drawbacks.
Manual Bid Caveats
First, it can take away valuable time from other tasks. When it comes down to it, manual bidding still takes a lot of time to look at performance, evaluate if a keyword’s bid needs to be changed, decide what the change should be, and then actually make that change.
Second, manual bidding can be poorly informed. When advertisers check performance metrics, we depend on the metrics that Google
By using automatic bidding strategies, Google can take into account data about the existence of
These two shortcomings do not mean that all the automation is good and that manual bidding is not on before. But this is something to consider when deciding on a bidding strategy.
If you’d like to opt out of manual bidding to save time and use additional data, here’s a rundown of the automated bidding strategies that Google Ads has to offer.
The CPC Optimizer is very similar to manual bidding, but allows the Google Ads algorithm to make adjustments to the manually set bid for a keyword.
You can enable Enhanced CPC simply by checking the box below manual bidding, or by selecting Advanced CPC from the bidding drop-down menu.
When you improve your CPC, Google Ads will increase or decrease your keyword’s bid based on an individual bid, depending on the likelihood that the click will sell. This change has been limited to 30% up or down adjustments, but has been removed in recent years and now allows Google Ads to make adjustments at any level.
The most common results for a successful CPC are better clickthrough rate (CTR) and conversion rate (CVR). Typically, cost-per-click (CPC) increases because the algorithm tends to increase your bid more often than it decreases it.
Precautions for Enhanced CPC
Because you can change unlimited keyword bids with advanced CPCs, it’s likely that your final bids and CPCs will be much higher than those that are profitable for your account. The goal of this type of bid is to increase the likelihood of a conversion, but not necessarily to your estimated target conversion cost (CPA).
If your account is performing well, try Advanced CPC as the first step in automating more than manual bidding. Monitor your CTR and CVR to make sure your bidding strategy works as expected (both should increase), but also monitor your CPC and CPA to make sure your results are still profitable.
Maximum number of conversions
Unlike enhanced CPC, conversion maximization is what Google calls a fully automatic bidding strategy. This means that advertisers don’t set individual bids for the keywords that Google calculates. Simply choose your CPC bid based on the objective results of your bidding strategy.
Maximum number of conversions
The maximum bidding strategy is designed to bring you the most conversions possible while spending your daily budget. The advertiser has no control over any additional settings, as we’ll see in the options below. It’s important that each campaign using Conversion Maximization has its own daily budget, not part of the total budget, as this strategy will always try to use the full daily budget for each campaign. If included in the overall budget, Max Conversions will spend the entire group’s daily budget, not just the distribution.
Precautions to increase conversions
While this bidding strategy is fairly simple, it requires a lot of caution.
First, don’t start this strategy without conversion tracking. Google’s goal is to maximize the number of conversions you track, so if tracking isn’t turned on, the algorithm is more likely to make the wrong decisions to find the person you’re trying to convert.
Second, if you have profit targets, this is a dangerous bidding strategy. Because Google will always spend its entire daily budget, regardless of conversion performance, the essence of a particular day’s campaign can be high or devastating.
If you have profitability or performance goals, I suggest using one of the following two bidding strategies: Target CPC or Target ROI.
NOTE. From 2021 April The target CPA and ad profitability will be canceled. Learn more here.
Target CPA (cost-per-acquisition) is a fully automatic bidding strategy where advertisers set a target CPA and then Google adjusts your bids to get you the most conversions for that CPA.
The CPC for individual conversions using this bidding strategy can be higher or lower than the target CPC, but Google will try to balance it against the target CPC over time.
You can set your CPC target at the campaign or portfolio level, which means you don’t need to adjust your bids at the individual keyword level.
Setting a target cost per conversion
Advertisers can set minimum and maximum bids to prevent Google from adjusting bids below or below the threshold, but only for use at the portfolio level. If you’re targeting individual campaigns, these bid limits aren’t available.
Cost Per Conversion Alerts
Like the maximum number of conversions, your target CPA requires conversion tracking to be enabled in your account. Without it, this bidding strategy is useless – you never know if it will lead to conversions or not.
But that’s not all.
Just because you have conversion tracking turned on doesn’t mean you aren’t in the race yet.
To improve conversion performance, Google requires a certain amount of conversion data to make informed decisions. If you don’t have enough conversions, the algorithm won’t be able to make the right decisions and your CPC won’t work for you.
At the campaign level, according to Google, there have been at least 15 conversions in the last 30 days, but I noticed that this is not enough.
Ideally, you should test at least 30, if not 50, conversions in the last 30 days before testing your CPA target. If your campaigns do not reach this level individually, they may be at the portfolio level. If not, your target CPA probably shouldn’t be included in the list of acceptable bidding strategies.
Finally, starting with the CPC goal, it is important to set realistic initial goals. If the average CPC for your campaign was $ 40 over the past six months, it is not in your best interest to set a target CPC of $ 20, as Google will immediately restrict the auctions in which it can participate.
If you plan on using your target CPA, the first two weeks of the month should be a learning phase. Set your target CPC slightly higher than your recent average CPC, or use the target CPC suggested by Google to find your desired result on Google and gradually reduce it to your target CPC.
NOTE. As of April 2021, CPA and ROI are no longer supported. Find out more here.
This is almost the same as your target CPA, but instead of reimbursing your ad spend (CTR). With this strategy, Google Ads will predict future conversions and conversion performance based on your historical data in order to participate in auctions. It will adjust your bids in real time to maximize the value of your conversions while trying to reach your SIG target set at the ad group, campaign, or portfolio level. you’re using target search page location bidding. you know it’s working because you see your ad:
As with target CPA, the CTR for individual conversions can be higher or lower than your target, and Google will try to balance them to reach your target CTR.
With targeted SIGs, advertisers can set bid limits (minimum and maximum) at the campaign or portfolio level so that Google’s algorithm doesn’t bounce too far, but Google warns because this could limit machine decision making.
Targeted SIG Alerts
All the same CTR warnings apply to the target SIG. Make sure you have accurate conversion tracking, including conversion value, and that you have enough conversion rates recently to take advantage of this strategy.
Also be careful not to set very accurate SIGs right away. Start with a slightly smaller target than you have recently, and then work your way up to get a more profitable SIG.
Maximum number of clicks
This strategy is very similar to maximizing maximum conversions, but the focus is on clicks. With the maximum number of clicks, Google will try to get as many clicks as possible by spending your daily budget. This strategy can be useful if you are trying to increase the volume of your site for brand building and list building, or if your conversion is very high and you need more volume.
Maximum number of clicks
Advertisers can set a maximum CPC limit to maintain lower CPCs until Google runs out of its daily budget.
Alerts using the maximum number of clicks
Always set max. CPC and track your average max. MUP. Google will try to get as many clicks as possible, but like the maximum conversions, it will also try to spend the entire daily budget every day, even if the clicks are much more expensive than usual. Regularly review the CPC performance generated by this bidding strategy (and any other targets you have) to make sure it still meets your goals. If not, change your settings or look for a new bidding strategy.
Target part of impressions
Since this article was written, impression targeting is a new bidding strategy. A beta version has just been released. Advertisers use Target Received Impressions to set their target impressions in the same way that you set your CPC target for this bidding strategy. you’re using target search page location bidding. you know it’s working because you see your ad:
Target part of impressions
For targeted impressions, you have three placement options:
Absolute at the top of the page
At the top of the page
Anywhere on the page
They each tell Google’s algorithm different things about your preferences and adjust bids accordingly.
Advertisers can also set a maximum CPC bid with a target impressions rate to avoid overspending, but Google cautions against setting too low and invalid KPIs.
Precautions regarding the exact portion of impressions
Like any other bidding strategy, this one can exceed bids if you are not careful. This strategy focuses on awareness and reach (although it can be used to improve performance), but there are still some limitations that make financial sense to your campaigns.
Always set a maximum CPC so you don’t pay too much for each click. Although Google warns you not to do this, don’t worry that the rate is too low. Try increasing it by a percentage compared to the current 20-50%. If this works, leave this cover on. If you don’t see the volume you want, increase your maximum CPC.
Only a few auctions have 100% coverage. So when you set your goal at 100%, don’t be surprised and frustrated if you get closer to 95% as the highest number available.
Always monitor your CPC and performance results before proceeding to make sure this bidding strategy meets your goals.
The target location of the search page
Search engine targeting is a portfolio bidding strategy that allows advertisers to show their ads at the top of search results or on the first page of results.
This is ideal for those who bet in a pointlessly competitive environment and whose account performance is different from other keywords.
The settings allow you to adjust top-page or first-page views, bid automation, manual CPC bid limits, and low-quality keyword settings. This low keyword quality setting allows you to exclude keywords with a Quality Score of less than four, since raising their bids to a certain position on a page can have a greater impact than keywords with a higher Quality Score due to Ad Rank calculation.
Landing page precautions
This strategy is for getting your ad to appear in a particular location on the results page, but it is not intended for any profitability or performance metrics in your account. While appearing at the top of the search results or on the first page may be important to you, if your ads have excessive CPCs or CPCs in those rows, it may make sense to choose another strategy.
Target win percentage
The target payout percentage is similar to the destination of a search page in that it focuses on the auctioning of ads rather than the actual results for that placement (CPC, CTR, CPA, etc.). The target payout percentage is designed to help advertisers rank higher in search results than on another domain, which is typically a major competitor.
Using the target portion of the advantage, you specify the domain you want to beat and then the percentage of auctions for which you want to beat them. It’s important to note that this strategy may or may not increase your overall Ad Rank, since it targets only one other domain, not all of the domains in the auction. you’re using target search page location bidding. you know it’s working because you see your ad:
Goal Completion Rate Warnings
The target win percentage has all the precautions that apply to a search page, but there is another level: competition.
Similar to bidding on a competitor’s brand, using a target win percentage can lead to a bidding war between you and the target domain if they also want to outperform you. This type of bidding war can increase both of your CPCs, so subsequent ad impressions may be unprofitable. The only winner in this bidding scenario is Google, which will generate more revenue per click and increase your CPC.
Visible cost-per-thousand impressions (mMUT)
Previously, cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM), mMUT bidding is a display ad-only strategy that allows advertisers to bid for impressions when your ad appears in a visible area.
Setting up vCPM
At the heart of this strategy is the definition of ‘visibility’. According to Google:
An ad is considered visible if 50% of your ad is displayed on the screen for one second or longer for image ads and two seconds or more for video ads.
The MMUT offer is great if you’re looking to expand your brand reach and just want to get your message across to a large group of people.
Visible CPM alerts
When setting mMUT bids, consider
Using this strategy, Google will strive to maximize the number of times your ad is shown. Using this strategy with a limited audience increases the likelihood of increasing the number of each user.
We’ve all seen ads that haunt us as we browse the web, so rest assured that when you try to increase your ad views, you’re not doing it at the expense of a small audience that now feels overwhelmed by your brand.
Also, not all visible impressions are the same. As with any Display Network campaign, it’s important to keep an eye on your placement report to avoid showing it on unwanted sites.
So when should you use automatic bidding?
Now that we’ve covered all of the automated bidding strategies, it’s time to choose the one that works for your entire account, right?
The best thing about automatic bidding is that we can choose what we use and where.
Google Ads allows you to set automated bidding strategies at the ad group, campaign, or portfolio level based on the strategy you choose, so you can specify which aspects of your account are based on bidding strategies that complement their goals.
When deciding on a bidding strategy, evaluate at the campaign level to determine if the strategy will help you achieve your goal and if you have enough data to make it work (for example, enough conversions for your target CPA to be effective). Otherwise, you can use a different bidding strategy, a portfolio-level strategy, or even adjust your account structure to better use it later.
Ultimately: use automatic bidding with caution.
Auto bid strategies in Google Ads are a great way to save time with account optimization algorithms, but only after you’ve evaluated and selected them correctly. you’re using target search page location bidding. you know it’s working because you see your ad:
Each of the three strategies we’ve discussed in this article series – bids, ads, and keywords or automated rules – can take place in any account, but only if it’s relevant. It is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but there is also no “identify and forget” excuse. Once you’ve applied these strategies on your account, set a reminder to check them out to make sure they still meet their goals. Happy automation!