Choosing the Right Automated Bidding Strategy for Your Business

Elise Godfrey's picture
| 31st January 2019
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Whether you are at home, at work or on the move, rapid changes in the digital world are playing a growing role in our everyday lives. From speech recognition to AI assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa, automation and machine learning combine to offer a more personalised experience.

But what does this mean for Google Ads? As Google evolves, it has brought out automated bidding strategies, which use machine learning in an effort to move away from manual CPC bidding. This is to improve performance by saving time and take out the guesswork, enabling you to meet your business goals.

What is automated bidding?

Google’s automated bidding is designed to boost the results of your Google Ads campaign and get the most out of your set budget. By analysing the user’s Google profile, including device, location, demographics and more, Google automatically modifies your bids based on the probability that your ad will result in a click or conversion. This happens in every single search auction, proving to be a powerful tool for targeting the right users at the right time. Introducing automated bidding can not only help by ensuring your bids are set to attract the right potential customer, but also help to reduce wasted spend on someone who has no interest in making a purchase or enquiry.

The different types of automated bidding strategies

Maximise Clicks – This is an automated bid strategy designed to get as many ad clicks to your website as possible within your budget.

Target Search Page Location ­– A portfolio bid strategy used across multiple campaigns to increase your ads visibility, in top position or on the first page of Google’s search results.

Target Outranking Share – Another portfolio bid strategy, which helps your ads outrank other ads from your competitors to improve ad visibility.

As a subset of automated bidding, Smart Bidding is a bidding category set specifically for conversions:

Enhanced Cost Per Click (ECPC) – A combination of manual and smart bidding, ECPC adjusts your bids to increase conversions whilst allowing you to retain control over core keyword CPC bids.

Maximise Conversions – This is a smart bidding strategy to help maximise conversions for your campaign within your set campaign budget.

Target Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) – Providing you with greater control of your spend, this strategy helps you to get as many conversions within your set target CPA at ad group or campaign level.

Target Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) – Google’s algorithms tailor bids for each auction to get the most revenue at your set ROAS target.

How to choose a bidding strategy that’s right for you

The advantage of having these different bidding strategies is that it gives you greater choice in finding exactly what you need to help your campaign. Choosing the correct bid strategy for your campaign should be determined by your business goal - i.e. increasing enquiries through your website. However, in selecting your strategy, you must take into consideration the amount of account data Google needs to make them work. For example, to use Target ROAS bid strategy your campaign will require at least 20 conversions in the past 45 days.

Benefits of automated bidding

There are many benefits of using automated bidding for your campaigns. The most notable advantage being the amount of time marketers will save by not having to adjust bids manually. This frees up time to concentrate on strategising and improving performance through other optimisations.

Our experience of automating bidding has been largely positive since we introduced it to our client accounts. Since automated bidding uses machine learning, and therefore can update bids based on historical data and more frequently then manual bidding, I have noticed an improvement in campaign performance. In particular, my campaigns saw an increase in conversions, revenue and lower cost per lead.

Disadvantages of automated bidding

Adopting automated bidding can seem scary at first, and it is important that you choose the right strategy for your campaign. Since this is in Google’s control, you may experience unexpected bidding changes within the account and therefore you should monitor this closely. For example, some strategies are set to spend all of your daily budget, and up to double for any given day, in its learning phase – although they will always level out over a 30.4 day period.

It is also worth bearing in mind that if you are new to Google Ads you may wish to run your campaigns with manual or enhanced CPC to start with. This will allow you to manage bids closely in the early stages whilst generating the conversion data for and potential automated bidding strategy adoption in future.

Overall, with the expansion of artificial intelligence and machine learning, it is important to keep up with the latest developments in PPC that could aid your accounts.

In terms of introducing automated bidding, I would recommend testing automated bidding on one or two campaigns initially, keeping a close eye on performance with the aim of expanding this further if performance is good. You may not notice an improvement in your results on day one, but be patient as they usually improve as the weeks go by when Google’s algorithm has more data to work with and optimise.

If you require help with your introduction to automated bidding, you can contact us online or call our digital marketing specialists on 01536 316100.

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