Whether you are just starting off with Google Ads or managing multiple accounts at a Digital Marketing Agency, Paid Search Specialists are finding themselves in a unique balance of control vs. automation with Google Ads.
Traditionally, Search Specialists have opted to maintain control of keyword-level bids with Manual CPC bidding and declined to utilize the machine learning feature available with Google’s automated machine learning. Google has now included “optimization score” as a criterion for the agency’s Google Partner Badge and utilizing Automated Bidding Strategies is usually a core component to hitting the 70% required optimization score.
With Google applying some soft pressure to advertisers to utilize these features, let's take a dive into which automated strategies may work best for your campaign type, and our recommendation on how to hit your agency’s optimization score while seeing gains in overall Conversions and Conversion Volume.
Google Automated Bidding Strategy:
Maximized Clicks can be a great option early on in a campaign’s lifecycle. I would always recommend launching a campaign in Manual CPC to get some initial findings on your keyword first page estimated bids. With a healthy budget and estimated CPC’s in a comfortable range, I would recommend setting a Maximum CPC bid limit here to ensure spend is in a comfortable spot. Google will alert you if your maximum bid is too low with an “Eligible: Limited” status.
Target Impression Share:
Target Impression Share is a great way to ensure visibility of your ads and ensure your ads are showing on the position of a SERP that you are most interested in.
You can bid for placements in 3 different ways:
- Absolute Top of Page
- Top of Page
- Anywhere on the Page
Target Impression Share is a great way to dominate the SERP landscape with Branded content as well as high-ranking quality score keywords.
Ensure that your bids are not overzealous and are in line with what you have seen with Manual CPC. Additionally, it is very difficult to achieve a 100% Impression Share so working towards a 90-95% share should be a realistic goal with this strategy.
Target CPA (Cost-Per-Acquisition) is a great way to help get as many conversions as possible at the bid amount you set up. For example, say historically you have seen conversions come through at around $80, setting your CPA at or slightly below this historical value will tell Google to get as many volume conversions at possible at or around this Cost-Per-Acquisition.
Something to keep in mind is that you will need to set your Target CPA as close as possible to your historical Cost-per-conversion metric. You will not see performance gains with this strategy setting an unrealistic target CPA goal.
I would only recommend this strategy if you have been seeing bulk volume conversions (over 30) over the last 30 days at the individual campaign level.
Target ROAS (Return on Ad Spend):
Target ROAS allows you to set your bids based on your target return on your ad spend within Google Ads. For this bidding strategy to be effective, you will need to set values for the conversions you are tracking with Google Ads.
This strategy always requires at least 20 conversions in the past 45 days for Google to provide automated learnings to your campaigns.
How it Works:“ Google Ads predicts future conversions and associated values using your reported conversion values, which you report through conversion tracking. Then, Google Ads will set maximum cost-per-click (max. CPC) bids to maximize your conversion value, while trying to achieve an average return on ad spend (ROAS) equal to your target.”
- For Search Network and Search Network with Display Select campaigns, Google Ads will try to achieve an average ROAS equal to your target across all campaigns using this strategy.
- For Display Network campaigns, Google Ads will achieve an average ROAS equal to your target across all campaigns using this strategy.
- For Shopping campaigns, Google Ads will try to achieve an average ROAS equal to your target across all campaigns using this strategy.
- For App campaigns, Google Ads will try to achieve an average ROAS for your campaign based on installs or in-app events you selected.
Maximize Conversions is a great strategy to do exactly that, provide you with the most conversions for your budget. This strategy has shown great return for accounts that have strong historical conversion volume and leverages Google’s machine learnings to adjust your bid at the real-time auction.
How it Works: “Using historical information about your campaign and evaluating the contextual signals present at auction-time, Maximize conversions bidding automatically finds an optimal bid for your ad each time it's eligible to appear. Google Ads sets these bids to help get the most conversions for your campaign while spending your budget.”
Please note that utilizing this bidding strategy will remove existing bid adjustments as well as device/location adjustments in your campaign. Google will utilize these adjustments to provide the most conversions based on your daily budget.
This is a great strategy to apply with a healthy account. Maximize conversions has been able to scale with increased budgets and has shown gains in overall CPA trends.
Let us help with your Automated Bidding Strategies
Automated Bidding Strategies are not going away any time soon, and with the recent changes to Google Ads, it may not be long before these are our only options and Manual CPC is gone. Figuring out which strategies work best for your campaigns’ specific goals will help enhance the performance of automated bidding. Providing Google with as much historical data ensures that your campaigns will be set up for success moving forward.
Let us help start off your campaigns with Manual CPC for bench line metrics in your Google Ads program. We will get your account to a good place in terms of manual bids and conversion volume while using automated strategies to assist with scaling your campaigns to the next level. As always with Paid Search, we approach it with a growth mindset and are ready to test out new features for the betterment of your campaigns. Contact us to start your Paid campaign today!