What is smart bidding and how can I use it within my business?

Google Ads’ Smart Bidding is a popular topic of conversation in the world of advertising, particularly Pay Per Click advertising – and for good reason. More and more processes these days are becoming automated or are using machine learning to achieve goals so it is important to be on top of the current technological trends so that you can decide if they are appropriate for your business and potentially incorporate them into your overall marketing strategy.

What is smart bidding?

Smart Bidding is a type of automated bidding that takes advantage of machine learning to optimise your campaigns for conversions or conversion value in every auction, also known as ‘auction-time bidding’.

To make Smart Bidding work, you will need to make sure that you have conversion tracking set up for strategies that rely upon conversion metrics but it is always preferable to have conversions set up anyway.

Types of automated bidding strategies include:

Maximise Clicks

This type is designed to increase visits to your site, getting as many as possible within your budget.

Target Impression Share

This strategy’s goal is to increase the visibility of your ad (and therefore your brand) by setting bids that would result in your ad being shown at the top of the results, in the top few results or simply on the page. This is only available on the Search Network.

Target CPA (formerly known as Conversion Optimiser)

This automated bidding strategy will work to get as many conversions as it can for the Cost Per Acquisition that you have set.

Target ROAS

For this bidding strategy, you will need to set a Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) that Google Ads will then use to get as many conversions for that figure.

Maximise Conversions

This strategy will aim to get the most conversions it can in your budget.

Maximise Conversion Value

This automated bidding strategy will aim to get the most conversion value for your budget. Campaigns that use this strategy, Maximise Clicks and Maximise Conversions may spend more money than the others, as they are trying to get the most for the money.

Why should you use smart bidding?

Smart Bidding will use signals to adjust the bids based on the person performing the search. This will include taking into account their location, the time of day, their device, browser, language and whether they are on a remarketing list. This means that Google will tailor their bid to suit how likely they think the person is to convert. For example, if the data that it has trained on says that people using Chrome on mobile devices at lunchtime in the middle of Portsmouth City Centre are the most likely to convert, your account will bid higher for those people.

Smart Bidding has flexible controls that enable you to put in place performance targets to direct bidding performance and optimise search bids to the attribution model you have chosen.

This strategy includes status updates and transparent reports that will give you a clear idea of whether Smart Bidding works for you and will help you to understand what is happening.

Smart Bidding has the potential to save you a lot of time and Google will undertake a lot of the work, which can be good for those who are incredibly busy.

Who can use Smart Bidding?

You don’t have to be a big business to take advantage of Smart Bidding, it will work with any size company. What you will need is to allow a time period long enough to build up a good level of conversions so that the targeting can be refined and you can gain more conversions in the future.

If you want to improve brand awareness, increase traffic or increase conversions this may be the solution for you.

Are there any downsides to Smart Bidding in Google Ads?

There will never be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution in marketing and that is true of Smart Bidding. You will still need to monitor what is happening with your campaigns, as you don’t want to end up spending a lot of money for no results.

The data that early decisions are made on might not be a true reflection of the people you are trying to target. It will take some time for Google Ads to learn enough to tailor this to your audience so there won’t necessarily be instant benefits (though it is worth saying that other Google Ads strategies will also have an element of trial and error, as well as refinement in them so it won’t necessarily be that different).

If you’re interested in Smart Bidding but don’t know if it is the right direction for you and your organisation, get in touch with our PPC experts today and we can help you create a strategy that will help to boost your business and conversions.

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