There is no reason to manage bid manually, let the machines do the heavy lifting. It is best to automate the tedious work humans used to do to calculate Cost Per Click (CPC).
The rise of automated bidding
Where once bid management was as basic as setting a maximum CPC, things got more intricate after some time as Google presented new levers for bid adjustments to control bids for geographic locations, devices, dayparting, demographics and now, custom audience. With that numerous adjustments, a single keyword alone could require upwards of 10,000 bids to account for every possible situation.
This is more than the normal individual can deal with, so it makes sense to get assistance from computers, particularly now that machine learning has begun to deliver great outcomes for automated bidding.
There is a critical part for a human to play in bid management, but that role is not to manage CPCs manually. Here what we should focus on:
- Implementing the solution and required tracking
- Selecting the appropriate automation
- Tweaking targets to better align with the needs of the advertiser
- Monitoring operations
Bid strategies from Google Ads
There are seven strategies currently available, four of which fall under a subset Google calls Smart bidding. The other three don’t have a special name and while we won’t refer to them as “dumb bidding,” they tend to have less to do with the bottom-line of advertisers and more with vanity goals, so perhaps they are not that smart.
Smart bidding is a subset of bid strategies and contains four conversion-focused goals: Target ROAS, Target CPA, Maximize Conversion and Enhanced cost per click. It uses the most recent machine learning models to predict which factors of an auction are likely to lead to differences in value-per-click and conversion rate and uses this to set the right bid for every auction.
Target ROAS. This methodology sets bids to maximize conversion value or revenue while averaging to a target return on ad spend (ROAS). While this methodology requires only 15 conversions in the past 30 days, Google prescribes you have no less than 50 consistent conversions. So if execution changes oftentimes in light of the fact that you have different sales and promotions running, this strategy may not work well.
Target CPA. Using machine learning and utilizing historical information from your campaign, this smart bidding strategy optimizes your bids to get as many conversions as possible at your average target cost per acquisition (CPA).
Maximize conversions. This strategy is like Target CPA in that it tries to drive the most possible conversions. However, unlike Target CPA where the CPA is the value that limits bids, here, the budget is the restricting variable. A Target CPA strategy may not spend the entire budget if it can’t find enough conversions that average to the target.
Enhanced cost per click. This smart bidding methodology causes you to achieve a higher number of conversions by raising or bringing down your bid in situations where the algorithm believes that a specific search is pretty much liable to lead to a conversion.
Machine learning has made considerable progress since Google initially began using it in AdWords to calculate Quality Score. Presently it can deal with a variety of bid management scenarios and automate the tedious work humans used to do to calculate the CPC bid based on business goals.