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Google Told Us Their 6 Tips to Impact Smart Bidding

AdWords Education One Click Optimizations Optmyzr May 27, 2020

Ashwin Balakrishnan

Senior Marketing Manager

The last time we sat down with Google to talk shop, the discussion found its way to managing PPC campaigns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With supply chains disrupted and business models being tested, companies around the world are facing a variety of new conditions. And though the results aren’t uniform, what’s consistent is how every business has been affected in some way.

Many are struggling to find customers. Some are facing uncertain futures. A few fortunate ones are doing better than ever — will they struggle when things return to normal?

We put together some advice for PPC marketers that took the shape of this blog post. But in the weeks since, we’ve seen and heard the debate over automated bidding become one of the prevailing industry conversations.

Thankfully, our friends at Google had plenty more to say.

Here are their recommendations for 6 secret tips that can help you impact Smart Bidding and more reliably navigate a marketplace in flux.

6 Secret Tips to Impact Smart Bidding

As you monitor shifting trends and course-correct your business plan, you’ll also need to bring your strategic approach in line with what the current situation demands. To help you provide clients and customers with a fruitful experience without eating too much of your time, Google recommends Smart Bidding.

Let’s recap the tactics we recommended last time, as well as explore how they impact Smart Bidding.

1. Keywords

  • Use negative keywords as a safeguard against undesired clicks that might drive lots of cost but no conversions.
  • The way users are searching for your business may have changed, which is why it’s important to capture those shifts in search behavior through broad match keywords.
  • When bidding on keywords with your brand name, adjust goals for Impression Share or use tCPA/tROAS.

How does this impact Smart Bidding?

Keyword optimization helps deliver more at the same CPA/ROAS goal, and ensures that brand strategies align with business goals. Broad match keywords allow the Smart Bidding machine to discover new opportunities for conversions.

Optmyzr Tip: You’ll still want to keep other match types and regularly review new search terms with tools like Optmyzr. The Rule Engine’s latest addition takes high-performing keywords with one match type and lets you add new match types at the ad group level.

2. Creatives

  • Use Dynamic Search Ads to show up on new relevant searches your keywords may be missing out on.
  • Use Responsive Search Ads to adapt ad content to more closely match user search terms.
  • Make offers stand out and take customers to the right page with promo and site extensions.

How does this impact Smart Bidding?

Getting your creatives right prevents your message and customer experience are on the same page, which ensures that each bid brings relevant engagement.

Optmyzr Tip: Regulations and restrictions can change frequently. With the Ad Text Optimization tool, you can quickly and consistently change ad copy to reflect the real-world operating conditions of your business. The Add Responsive Search Ad tool is also useful to build RSAs for each of your ad groups.

The Responsive Search Ads tool lets you maximize your chances of getting meaningful clicks

3. Bids and Budgets

  • Move unused parts of your budget to the ads that need it most.
  • Raise the budgets of campaigns that are performing well to drive more traffic.
  • Use Performance Planner to understand the implications of different budget scenarios.

How does this impact Smart Bidding?

Putting your marketing dollars where they’re likely to yield the best returns is PPC 101. You capture more leads at the same CPA/ROAS goal, and forecasting often captures the most recent demand trends.

Optmyzr Tip: Campaigns that worked a few months ago might not be winners today, for no fault of their own or yours. Put your dollars where they need to be with the Optimize Budgets tool. It can help you quickly re-allocate budgets based on how different campaigns are doing against your goals.

Optimize Budgets lets you see how to adjust spend to achieve specific goals

4. Target Constraints/Goals

  • Evaluate your new business strategies and confirm target goals.
  • Set performance targets and customize settings to your unique business goals.

How does this impact Smart Bidding?

Using CPA/ROAS goal adjustments can help you control spend and volume. But to achieve the same thing for Max strategies, Google recommends using budget adjustments.

Optmyzr Tip: Use the Optimize Target CPA & ROAS on campaigns with automated bidding to increase conversions and Impression Share. You can also see converting ad groups that use other automated bidding strategies.

5. Account-Wide Best Practices

  • Capture all signals using Data-Driven or Non-Last Click Attribution.
  • Only include conversions that are relevant to the business.

How does this impact Smart Bidding?

Smart Bidding uses account-wide signals (cross-account under MCC, if applicable). If you’re struggling to see results from Smart Bidding, it might be because you’re still using Last Click Attribution in an era of erratic search behavior.

Optmyzr Tip: The Rule Engine allows you to create data-based strategies, like removing non-converting keywords related to COVID-19. Or for a fun way to keep your account in shape, try the Workouts that combine multiple optimizations to achieve a specific objective.

6. Audiences

  • Add all RSLA, Similar Audiences, and Customer Match lists to Smart Bidding campaigns.

How does this impact Smart Bidding?

First-party audience lists improve Smart Bidding algorithms, but Google lists have a neutral impact on Smart Bidding. For best results, provide your own customer information.

Optmyzr Tip: You always want Smart Bidding to have the latest and greatest information about your customers. Use the Customer Match List Updates tool (under Optimizations > Utilities) to keep your audiences in sync between your business data and Google’s audience repository.

6 Ways to Fully Control & Adjust Smart Bidding

While Smart Bidding might make PPC a bit less time-consuming, it’s far from a ‘set it and forget it’ mentality. There are many things you can do to affect the degree of control and influence you have over your bids.

Check out these 6 ways to fully control and adjust Smart Bidding.

1. Goals

Goals are the end objectives of your campaign; think of them as a destination. Tweaking goal values can change the way Smart Bidding tries to get there.

  • CPA/ROAS goal adjustments
  • Ad Group targets
  • Portfolio targets
  • Device CPA modifier
  • Operationalize forecasts

2. Conversions

Current market realities have impacted conversions across the board. Use the information in this space to inform your strategy and reshape the Smart Bidding process.

  • Conversion value adjustments
  • Campaign-level conversion setting
  • “Hack” data exclusion (seasonal adjustment)
  • New secondary KPIs

3. Constraints

Setting hard limits on your financials can enable Smart Bidding to look at creating value over volume. As always, keep an eye on things as you implement this approach.

  • Limiting budgets on purpose
  • Portfolio CPC max/min bid limits

4. Targeting

Audience is one of the most influential factors in PPC, and there’s no doubt that who and how you choose to target can make a difference to Smart Bidding results.

  • Pausing targeting
  • Opening targeting
  • Split testing

5. Budgets

At the end of the day, it’s all about the dollars. Experimenting with budgetary values can provide some of the most significant influence on Smart Bidding.

  • Shared budgets
  • Uncapped budgets
  • Constrained budgets

6. Misc. Adjustments

There are other adjustments you can make to shape Smart Bidding, including seasonal adjustments. We suggest exercising oversight when using some of these in today’s market.

  • Seasonal adjustments
  • Campaign structure
  • Split testing bid strategies

Conclusion

It’s been said before but bears repeating: There’s only one way PPC professionals can do right by their businesses and clients — by having as much information as possible. That’s why we’ve partnered with Google to bring you these posts on how to gain maximum value from the tools at your disposal.

These recommendations from Google are intended to supplement a brand’s unique business strategy. Both Google and Optmyzr suggest you balance any automated bidding strategy by keeping a close eye on your accounts. After all, only humans can provide context to the data.

And be on the lookout for the third part of our collaboration with Google, when we discuss what advertisers in hard-hit industries can do to prepare for the end of lockdown.


Author

Ashwin Balakrishnan

Senior Marketing Manager

Optmyzr

Take control of PPC and save time with our PPC expert's toolkit.

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