Google recently unveiled a new smart bidding strategy to help businesses reach their goals faster. Here’s how it works and why you should be using it.
- Smart bidding is a key focus for Google advertisers this year.
- These are automated bid strategies which utilise machine learning to help achieve goals faster.
- Campaign-level conversions stop the confusion of the wrong things being counted in your data.
- Head to “choose conversion action” in the settings drop down to select specific conversions.
- If you’re going to start using them, be prepared for your data to change.
In May, we were lucky enough to attend Google Marketing Live in San Fransisco. This is where Google unveiled its upcoming changes, giving us an exciting insight into what’s going to shake up the online advertising world.
One key area for this year? Smart bidding.
This is a series of automated bid strategies that use machine learning to help people reach their goals faster. With these updates, their smart bidding got a whole lot smarter.
One of the main reasons behind this? The new campaign-level conversions.
If you’re not already using it, here’s everything you need to know about how it works and why you should be using it.
A quick note about smart bidding
According to Google, nearly 70% of advertisers use smart bidding.
Smart bidding is powered by machine learning. And machine learning is nothing without data (something we learnt about at SearchLeeds in June).
Any business can use smart bidding. But, it’s going to work best for those that have enough data to make the technology run at its best.
The more data you have, the better results you’ll get from smart bidding.
At a minimum, Google recommends only using for campaigns that have at least 30 conversions or more a month. If you’re not reaching these marks, it’s best manually managing your ads and see what works for yourself.
Anyway, warning aside let’s move back onto campaign-level conversions.
What are campaign-level conversions?
Campaign-level conversions allow you to set specific conversions that you want to track and optimise for.
Let’s say that you want people to fill out a form on your website. That’s the conversion you want to track.
Before with Google Ads, you couldn’t set your conversions to be this targeted. If someone went on your website and downloaded a white paper or buys a different product – these all count as conversions.
So, here’s the problem. You’re getting great data back that’s showing lots of conversions. But not a lot of them are the actions you wanted people to take.
It’s misleading. It warps your figures and doesn’t give you a clear idea of what’s actually going on. And the next thing you know is you’ve got an annoyed boss or client asking why their account says they’ve had 50 conversions but only 4 people have filled out their form.
It’s not you collecting data wrong. It’s just counting the wrong things as conversions.
It’s like if a zoo just opened up a brand new naked mole-rat exhibit. It’s something they’re very excited about after all these African mammals are resistant to cancer, can’t feel certain types of pain and have teeth strong enough to chew through concrete.
On the day the exhibit opens, they got 10,000 visitors. That’s amazing! They’re happy and think the naked mole-rats were a roaring success!
But that’s not exactly right.
The zoo did get 10,000 visitors. But most of them got distracted by adorable penguins having a parade on their way. Only 2,000 people went to go and see the naked mole rats.
For the specific action of seeing the naked mole rats, 2,000 was the true number of conversions.
Fundamentally this is what campaign-level conversions enables you to do. To see the conversions for specific actions, so you get more accurate data to make your smart bidding strategy even smarter.
How to set up campaign-level conversions
Want to give it a go? Here’s how you can set up campaign-level conversions.
Firstly, go into your Google Ads account. From the left menu, head into settings and click the conversion drop-down menu.
Once you’re here, click the “Choose conversion actions for this campaign” option. This will bring up a menu allowing you to select the specific conversions that you want to test for each campaign.
Word of warning though, although this is a great tactic, it’s wise to test it in an experiment campaign first to see if it works for your company.
Be warned – your data will change
If you’re going to start using campaign-level conversions, be prepared for your data to change.
That’s because you’ll only be recording conversions for selected actions. So, first of all, you might see your conversions go down, your conversion rate fall and your CPA (cost per acquisition) go up.
That’s not your campaign failing. It’s just getting used to the new data.
Once it’s got it, it can then use it to start automatically making changes to deliver the best results.
It’s a good idea to take this with a pinch of salt though.
Smart bidding is a great strategy, but it’s not going to solve all your problems. You still need to keep an eye on your results and make the best decisions to improve your performance and make your budget go further.
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