Improve with Search automation

How to steer search ads automation

Automation provides benefits that can help you meet your goals at scale in ways that aren’t possible with manual bidding, limited match types (like exact or phrase match), and creative production and testing. Google Ads provides you with the tools to steer and adjust your automation based on your business needs. You can keep specific bidding, keyword matching, and creative strategies in place while gaining the benefits of automation.

Adjust and optimize with Smart Bidding

With Smart Bidding, you can steer certain aspects of your campaigns. This may be helpful if you need to account for external factors such as inventory, local policies, or changing budgets. You can also bid lower or higher during a given time period.

Adjust your targets and budgets

Campaigns using Smart Bidding set bids based on the most accurate conversion measurements available. However, when monitoring the performance and delivery of campaigns using Smart Bidding, or as your business goals evolve, you may want to make adjustments to your CPA target, ROAS target, or budget to help you achieve your goals.
Adjusting targets:
  • If you’re using a portfolio strategy, adjust your targets at the portfolio level for several campaigns at once.
  • If you’re not using a portfolio bid strategy, you can adjust them for each individual campaign.
  • In your campaigns, you may set your ROAS or CPA target at the ad group level.

Adjusting budgets:

  • When using Maximize conversions or Maximize conversion value without a ROAS or CPA goal, Smart Bidding will drive as much conversion volume or conversion value as possible within your daily budget. If you’re using a portfolio bid strategy, you can easily manage the budget of all campaigns in a new or existing portfolio bid strategy by using a shared budget.

In the recommendations page, you may find suggestions for your bidding and budgets to drive more performance at a similar ROI.

Target and budget simulators:

When adjusting your CPA or ROAS goals, or when making changes to your budget if you are not optimizing to a target, we suggest reviewing your Smart Bidding simulators to see how these may impact key metrics like your clicks, conversion value, conversions, and spend. Check out How to make target adjustments with Search Smart Bidding for details.

You can change your bid strategy at any time. When you make a change, the performance will take some time to stabilize as the system learns to optimize to the new bid strategy. When changing bid strategies, we suggest setting the new bid strategy goals to something similar to your previous performance. You can also use experiments to test another automated bid strategy against your current bid strategy. Check out About automated bidding to learn more about available bid strategies.

Changes in measurement and conversions

Your Smart Bidding strategies optimize to your conversions and conversion value. You can change the conversions during campaign creation or after your campaign is created. You can also add conversion value rules to modify your campaign.
Goals: Campaigns will automatically optimize to your account default goals. You may choose to not use your account default goals and instead individually pick which conversions your campaign optimizes to with custom goals.
Note: Changing conversion actions (or value of conversions) used in your campaigns may impact performance. You may need to adjust the ROAS or CPA targets accordingly.

Conversion value rules: If you have additional insights about your customers—based on their location, device, or assignment to an audience list—that isn't already reflected in your conversion value, you can use conversion value rules.

Data exclusions: If you recently had a conversion tracking issue, we suggest you use data exclusions to exclude the period with bad data. By doing this, it prevents our systems from training on data that might be inaccurate. For example, if a tag was accidentally removed from your site, we suggest applying a data exclusion on the days missing conversion data.

Note: Data exclusions are meant to account for outages or major issues. Using them often or for long periods could negatively impact Smart Bidding performance.

Seasonal events or holidays

For a seasonal event or holiday, you can inform Smart Bidding if you believe there may be short term changes in performance. You can apply a seasonality adjustment during periods where you expect a significant change in your conversion rates. Seasonality adjustments are ideal for short events of 1-7 days. They may not work as well if you use them for extended periods.
For example, if you have a sale event during Labor Day weekend and expect your customers to convert at a higher rate than you normally expect, you may apply a seasonality adjustment to inform Smart Bidding to bid higher during the event.

Negative keywords with broad match

To help avoid unwanted search terms, you can add negative keywords that include those terms.

How to create and apply negative keywords to campaigns

To add negative keywords to ad groups, campaigns, and negative keyword lists:
  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click Keywords, then Negative keywords in the left page menu.
  3. Click  Negative keywords.
  4. Select Add negative keywords or create new list.
  5. Choose whether to add negative keywords to a campaign or an ad group, then select the specific campaign or ad group.
  6. Add your keywords, one per line. Make sure that your negative keywords don't overlap with your regular keywords because this will cause your ad not to show. Choose a match type by using the appropriate notation.
  7. If you’re adding your negative keywords to a campaign, you have the option to save the keywords to a new or existing negative keyword list and apply that list to the campaign. Check Save to new or existing list, then enter a name for your new list, or select an existing list.
  8. Click Save.

To use an existing negative keyword list:

  1. Select Use negative keyword list.
  2. Choose the campaign that you’d like to apply negative keyword lists to.
  3. Check the boxes of the negative keyword lists you’d like to use.
  4. Click Save.

To add or remove negative keywords lists from multiple campaigns at once:

  1. From the page menu on the left, click Campaigns.
  2. Check the box next to the campaigns you want to apply your negative keyword lists to.
  3. Click Edit, and select Edit targeting.
  4. To add negative keyword lists, select Add negative keyword lists.
  5. Check the box next to the lists you want to add to these campaigns.
  6. Click Apply.
  7. To remove negative keyword lists, select Remove negative keyword lists.
  8. Check the box next to the lists you want to remove from these campaigns.
  9. Click Apply.

Tips

  • Negative keywords work differently from positive keywords. Learn more about negative keywords
  • Rather than adding each user search as a negative, it may be better to identify specific words or phrases to block and add those as negative keywords.
  • Use negative keywords sparingly, as you may inadvertently block performing traffic.

Pinning with responsive search ads

By default, when you create a responsive search ad, headlines and descriptions can appear in any order. However, you can decide where individual headlines and descriptions appear in your ad by using the pinning feature.

Pin headlines and descriptions to specific positions

Pinning one headline or description causes it to show only in that specific position, preventing others from showing in its place. Pinning multiple headlines or descriptions to the same position ensures that at least one will appear in that position for every ad. If you have mandatory language (for example, terms and conditions may apply) that must be shown to users, then you should pin it to “Headline position 1”, “Headline position 2”, or “Description position 1”, as they will always show.

Note: Pinning isn't recommended for most advertisers because it reduces the overall number of asset combinations that can be shown and matched to a potential customer’s search.
  1. On the "Edit ad" page, click the headline or description you want to pin.
  2. Click the pin icon Pin that appears next to the headline or description.
  3. Select what position you want to pin your headline or description to by selecting from the popup box.
  4. Click Save.

Tips for pinning

  • Pinning one headline or description causes it to show only in that specific position, preventing other headlines or descriptions from showing in its place. Since pinning reduces the overall number of headlines or descriptions that can be matched to a potential customer’s search, pinning isn’t recommended for most advertisers.
  • Try pinning 2 or 3 headlines or descriptions to each position so that any of them can show in that position. This gives you more flexibility to find out which headlines or descriptions perform better.
    • For example, if you pin the headline “Official Website” to Headline position 1, then all ads that customers view will have “Official Website” as the first headline. However, if you pin a second headline—let’s say “The Official Site”—to Headline position 1, then all ads that customers view will show either “Official Website” or “The Official Site” as the first headline.
  • If you have headlines and/or descriptions pinned to all available positions, unpinned headlines and/or descriptions won’t show.
  • Headlines or descriptions pinned to Headline position 1, Headline position 2, or Description position 1 will always show. Content pinned to Headline position 3 and Description position 2 are not guaranteed to show in every ad. If you have text that should appear in every ad, then you must pin it to either Headline position 1, Headline position 2, or Description position 1.
  • To preview how your responsive search ad will appear to users, click the preview icon.
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