One of the leading debated subjects in the digital marketing industry is bid automation. What’s not important is why you should use automation, but how you utilize it to realize your goals and amplify growth endeavors. Over the last few years, Google has suggested that advertisers shift to automated bidding strategies to take the heavy lifting and guesswork out of setting bids to meet your performance goals. Though automated bidding isn’t perfect, it is a tactic that advertisers need to employ.
Why Is Bid Automation Strategic?
Bid automation makes it easier to manage the numerous bidding signals that aren’t visible to advertisers. This is done by machine learning that is set to appropriate bids. Advertisers simply set bid modifiers for a specific time of day, but not the browser that the searcher is using. These hidden signals are vital to advertisers because they help to decode user intent as part of the bidding process. Manual bidding is slower, using fewer signals and is not performed in real-time. When advertisers provide Google the correct parameters and enough data, automated bidding works efficiently.
Two of the more familiar bidding strategies are Target Return On Ad Spend (tROAS) and Target Cost Per Acquisition (tCPA). Each requires you input what your target ROAS or CPA is and Google will optimize for this amount. You can enter your target in the bidding section of the settings. Google will give you a recommended figure if your campaign has enough data.
When utilizing these strategies, conversion tracking should be in place and have a value setup for these conversions (whether the value is dynamic or static).
More data provided to Google means the system can make the most informed decisions. Once the targets are established, it doesn’t mean that they can’t change. In fact, you should be steadily evaluating the targets and adjusting as necessary. When making changes, review at least the last 30 days of performance and/or the previous year’s data.
Not all data should be included in your bidding approaches. You may have had a day where your conversion pixel wasn’t firing correctly. Or, inflated numbers for conversions one day due to a sale. You can generate data exclusions to bar a day(s) worth of data so it will not negatively impact the bidding strategy.
There is an option called “Advanced controls” within the “Bid strategies” section. In the “Data exclusions” tab, you can create the exclusion criteria.
Here’s an example.
Data exclusions should be applied in moderation and aren’t meant to manipulate bidding strategies. They should not be used to eliminate data from days where the performance was deficient. They ensure that your bidding strategies are applying correct data and nothing more.
Seasonality variations are another element available in the advertisers’ arsenal. They are temporary bid adjustments that override the bid strategy through a period where you anticipate a greater conversion rate. Google’s suggestion is to apply a seasonality adjustment if the conversion rate will swing by at least 30% compared to what it is normal.
Seasonality adjustments can be applied to all campaigns or solely specific ones. They can be set by the hour or for an extended period of time.
The primary concern with automated bidding is that it takes control away from advertisers. The safer way to look at this is to understand the various benefits it has over manual bidding and the ways advertisers can configure the system.