Smart bidding is a part of automated bidding strategies that utilise machine learning to optimise ads for conversions or a conversion value in every auction; this is also known as ‘Auction-time bidding’. 

In this blog, we talk about how and why you can use smart bidding as part of your campaigns.

Watch our video on Smart Campaigns.

Types of Bidding Strategies

  • Target CPA
  • Target ROAS
  • Maximise Conversion
  • Maximise conversion value
  • Enhanced CPC (ECPC) – This strategy isn’t a standalone strategy, it works by automatically adjusting your manual bids for clicks that seem more or less likely to lead to a sale or conversion on your website.

Before you get started with Smart Bidding we would recommend that you are familiar with Automated Bidding first. You can read more about Automated Billing here in the Google Support Center.

In order to use Smart Bidding on your campaigns you will need to ensure that you have conversion tracking setup; we would recommend this anyway as this is the best way to track the performance of your campaigns.

The 4 Key Benefits Of Using Smart Bidding

  • Advanced Machine Learning – Google uses machine learning algorithms to help you make better predictions across your account on how different bid amounts might impact your conversions or conversion value. The algorithms use a wide range of parameters, more than one single person or team could compute.
  • Wide Range of Contextual Signals – When using auction time bidding you can factor in a wide range of signals into your bid optimisation. Signals are attributes about a person or their context at the time of a particular auction. These attributes can include device and location, which can be adjusted manually, as well as a range of additional signals and combinations of signals which are exclusive to smart bidding.
  • Flexible Performance Controls – When you use smart bidding you can set performance targets and customise your settings so they are unique to you and your goals. You can optimise your search bids to your selected attribution model. You can also set device-specific performance targets for different devices, eg. desktop, mobile with Target CPA.
  • Transparent Reporting – The reporting tools available when using smart bidding give you a deeper insight into your bidding performance, allowing you to identify any problems and quickly fix them. Some of the reports available include: Bidding Strategy reports, Detailed bid strategy statuses, Campaign drafts and experiments, Simulators and Alerts and Notifications.

Who Should Use Smart Bidding?

Smart bidding works successfully for both small and large businesses. Smart bidding works by using your existing data from all of your campaigns to optimise your bids, so even when you start a new campaign you will still be able to see results with this bid strategy. 

We would recommend that you measure the performance of smart bidding strategies over a longer period of time, such as a month, or wait until you have at least 30 conversions (50 if you are using Target ROAS). You can add relevant keywords to low volume campaigns to increase conversions and expand your targeting.

It is important to make sure that you are familiar with the contextual signals that are used in Smart Bidding to ensure that this is the most appropriate strategy for your business. 

Video Ads Conversion Attribution And Smart Bidding

If you are running video ads using Smart Bidding, Google will use conversions from your campaigns to offer predictions on how likely it is your ad will engage and lead to a conversion. Generally speaking engagements for TrueView for action ads are defined as a click on the ads or 10+ seconds watch time. If both happens, only then is the click counted as a conversion. Viewing at least 10 seconds of a video counts as leading to a website conversion but only if the conversion happens within 3 days of the initial engagement. 

Grow Your Campaigns Using Broad Match Keywords

Broad Match keywords work particularly well with Smart Bidding strategies such as Maximise conversions, Maximise conversion value and Target CPA/ROAS. There is also no need to segment by match type to boost the optimisation of your campaign as the bidding system sets a bid for each individual auction of every query, bidding up or down depending on how well that query is likely to perform. Using broad match keywords in your campaigns allows the algorithms to learn faster and will help you to reach your goals quicker. 

Find out more about Automated Bidding, Target CPA and Target ROAS bidding strategies or you can always contact us directly. 

Don’t forget that you can join us every weekday on YouTube Live and ask any questions you may have which we will try and answer during the session.

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About Uzair Kharawala
Uzair Kharawala is the Co-Founder at SF Digital. He is a Certified Google Partner, is a Cricket fanatic and loves Photography.
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