Bidding Best Practices (Part 5): Implement Bid Automation for Better Performance and Time Savings

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Today’s post about using automated bidding within enhanced campaigns is the fifth in our bidding best practices series. The previous blog posts covered calculating mobile, location and time bid adjustments. 

We launched bid adjustments for device, location and time of day to help you control your bids without duplicating campaigns as part of enhanced campaigns. We’ve heard from many advertisers that these tools help them improve results and efficiency. However, for some advertisers - particularly those with large programs and accounts - managing campaigns at scale can still be time-intensive and complex.

Since bidding is fundamentally important to your success with AdWords, we've developed a set of automation tools to help improve your performance and save you time.

Benefits of AdWords bid automation
For almost any advertiser, using the right automated bidding solution can drive better results and improved efficiency. Here are some key benefits to using AdWords automated bid strategies in enhanced campaigns.
  • Save time by optimizing keyword bids for your goal at scale. Automated tools dynamically change bids to meet your advertising goals across your keywords -- whether it’s 100 or 1 million keywords -- saving you time and effort.
  • Create and manage campaigns independently from bidding strategy. New flexible bid strategies let you apply multiple bidding strategies within a single campaign or across campaigns. This provides you the freedom to optimize towards multiple advertising goals in the same campaign or across campaigns without being constrained by account structure. Read more about these below.
  • Improve performance with auction-time bidding. Two flexible bid strategies, Target CPA and Enhanced CPC, use a combination of real-time performance signals including location, device, partner site and operating system to set specific bids at every auction. With auction-time bidding, these automated tools automatically calculate bid adjustments for you.
  • Optimize over time to continuously improve results. Our automated tools adapt to performance changes over time, saving you the effort of manually evaluating performance reports and continuously changing bids to keep up with performance fluctuations.
  • Easy to try. AdWords bid automation tools are free to use and available to all advertisers right in the AdWords interface.
When to use bid automation
In this section, we’ll provide guidance on when to use each of Google’s automated bid strategies within enhanced campaigns.

Target CPA (the flexible bid strategies version of Conversion Optimizer) is our most powerful bid automation tool. This bid strategy sets an optimum bid for every auction by predicting the likelihood of a conversion. It uses real-time inputs such as location, time, device, and network placement. Apply this strategy to ad groups or campaigns if your main goal is to maximize conversion volume while maintaining a target CPA. Target CPA will automatically set and optimize your bid adjustments for you, however, a -100% mobile bid adjustment will keep your ads from appearing on mobile devices.

Enhanced CPC can improve performance by adding automation on top of your manual bids. This automated bid strategy will refine your manual bids using the same real-time conversion prediction technology as Target CPA. You can still apply bid adjustments with this automated strategy if you know that device, location or time of day affects your conversion value in ways that are not measured in the conversion tracker. For example, if you want to use automation, but know that your mobile clicks drive value beyond online conversions, such as store visits, you can enable Enhanced CPC in combination with a bid adjustment for mobile to account for the difference in expected value per click.

The last two flexible bid strategies apply bid automation and work with existing manual bid adjustments. If your goal is getting the most clicks within a target spend, you can implement the Maximize Clicks bid strategy. Alternatively, if you’re more interested in visibility with top position impressions, you can try the Target Search Page location strategy. Read more about these strategies here.

If you’ve implemented one of the four flexible bid strategies, you can monitor your performance in the Shared Library and adjust if necessary.

While it might take some time to refine your automated bid strategy, the benefits of bid automation will improve your performance while saving you time and effort. To read more about automation and bidding adjustments, check out our Help Center.

Posted by Andrea Cohan, Product Marketing Manager, AdWords

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