Automatic bidding or smart bidding strategies on Google Ads are among the most advanced tools to boost the performance of its digital campaigns …
The problem ? No one really knows how these bid strategies work. And Google teams themselves remain very elusive about this.
It is therefore very important to understand that switching to Smart Bidding can have a considerable impact on your performance (both positively and negatively).
This is why you have to make sure that your account and your teams are ready before passing the course.
The purpose of this article is to give you the 5 fundamental points to validate before moving to smart bidding on Google Ads, and to protect you from the maximum of unexpected that it can generate in performance.
1. Do you have enough data to switch to Smart Bidding?
The first verification point to adopt is your data history.
First, make sure your conversions are tracked correctly and included in conversion tracking so that Google’s algorithms can use them for smart bidding.
Also make sure you have enough conversions before moving on to smart bidding.
Recently, Google claims that you can go smart bidding without a conversion history. Having tested it on multiple accounts, it has never been validated, and the results have always been poor.
In general, make sure you have at least 15 conversions per campaign per month minimum before opting for smart bidding. If you want to use the Target ROAS, the bar of 100 conversions per month and per campaign is a minimum.
2. Is your campaign structure compatible with smart bidding?
This is one of the most common pitfalls: using Smart Bidding when the account is not prepared for it.
It should be understood that the structure of a Google Ads account must be redesigned when moving to Smart Bidding.
The hyper segmentation of the semantic field in various campaigns and in several ad groups, a structure which is very relevant with CPC Manual, is much less so with smart bidding.
Google’s algorithms need volume and variety so that they can learn as efficiently as possible.
This requires restructuring your account to a less granular organization. Fewer campaigns, fewer ad groups, more keywords.
The use of responsive ads is also becoming a key asset in meeting Google’s criteria for variety of algorithms.
Restructuring your Google Ads account is therefore essential before turning to smart bidding
3. What is your goal?
Maximize conversions, Target CPA, Target ROAS, you probably already understood, but all automatic bidding strategies are focused on conversion.
Google strongly recommends that you use them, but they may just not be right for your goals and market.
For example, your objective may simply be to gain visibility on the SEARCH, by targeting for example 3rd Place. Manual CPC or target upgrade strategies will be much more relevant to achieving your business goals.
Do not embark on smart bidding if your main goal is not conversion.
Obviously, smart bidding and manual auctions can coexist.
Take the time to take stock of the objectives of each campaign and opt for smart bidding on campaigns intended to generate conversions. Opt for manual pilot campaigns in other cases.
It’s also a great exercise to clear up the main purpose of each of your campaigns (brand awareness, information gathering, conversion) and to make sure you’re not on the wrong track.
4. What is the status of your target market?
Smart bidding is not always the most relevant solution. Indeed, there are some markets where smart bidding can be very unwise.
In general terms, smart bidding reaches its limits in very competitive markets. Bid strategies like “Maximize Conversions” can be devastating in markets with high average CPCs.
Another factor, linked to point 2, is your daily budget. Smart bidding is often ineffective if you have small budgets. It is therefore in this situation more judicious to pilot your campaigns with CPC Manual.
On the contrary, if your market and your semantic field are very fragmented, and you achieve a maximum of conversions thanks to the long train, then smart bidding will be very judicious.
Indeed, it is very difficult, humanly speaking, to be able to group together in the same campaign, all the search terms of the long tail of a market.
In this case, opting for smart bidding, coupled with DSA (dynamic search ads) will be the winning combo to apply leverage on its conversions.
So remember to carefully analyze the characteristics of your target market before moving on to smart bidding.
5. Are you in such a hurry to switch to smart bidding?
Last, and finally, perhaps most important: is it essential for you to switch to smart bidding?
One of the most common mistakes I see with Google Ads accounts is wanting to jump from rooster to donkey in no time.
It is common to see moving from Google Ads accounts from manual CPC to smart bidding in a few days. It’s the best way to make mistakes.
Take the time to learn to play with automatic bidding strategies. Adapt to this new mode of operation by gradually restructuring your account campaign by campaign.
Familiarize yourself with smart bidding because it’s the best way to gain better control over automation, and not to be clueless when automatic bidding strategies ignite.
Also take Google’s advice into account, but don’t apply it 100%. If your account is mature enough, you will have the right to a Google Account Manager to advise you.
The latter will advise you 99% to switch your account to smart bidding, to set up smart display and smart shopping…
All this is very good on paper, but it should not be forgotten that Google needs data to advance its algorithms, therefore, concerning smart bidding, it is sometimes more their interest than yours.
So be critical of smart bidding, don’t apply without thinking what Google is giving you.
And above all, if the manual CPC works for you, don’t risk your results impacting to want to pass everything in smart bidding.
Use the Google Ads test tool, take your time, and see for yourself that smart bidding can work for you.
Take it step by step, this is the best advice I can give you!
And you, what is your experience with smart bidding? How do you get your manual campaigns into automatic bidding strategies? Don’t hesitate to share your experiences!