A guide to bid adjustments: Google Best Practices

Manage your bid adjustments for efficiency


Your system for bid management will need to be applied to your campaigns. Make regular, informed optimizations when managing your bid adjustments.

Plan to use campaign-level adjustments. Save ad group modifiers for any significant performance differences within your campaigns.

Campaign-level adjustments keep bid management simple, while still allowing you to customize at the ad group-level as performance dictates. Ad groups within the same campaign often see similar performance, although your account’s structure will ultimately determine exactly how similar that performance is. Unless you see a consistent pattern of significant performance differences across ad groups in a campaign, you should plan to use campaign-level bid adjustments.

Campaign-level bid adjustments provide a couple of key benefits:

  • You accrue data more quickly to help you make better decisions
  • They provide you with fewer updates that need to be made and monitored on an ongoing basis

If you notice big enough ranges in performance between ad groups within one campaign, that could even be an indication that your campaign is too broad. Some ad groups might fit better in a new campaign.

Keep in mind that the most specific bid adjustment in place will be used in the auction. If you make ad group-level adjustments be sure to stay on top of them, as they will trump any future campaign-level adjustments.

Consolidate your campaign management and use bid adjustments to manage performance between segments within those campaigns.

The ability exists to create separate campaigns for each of the segments you have bid adjustments for. This is something that should be used with caution, though. More control almost always translates to more overhead. Increasing the number of campaigns you manage adds to your workload and opens the door for mistakes.

Most of the perceived benefits of device-specific campaigns, such as keyword-level bids and device-specific creatives, can largely be achieved using existing features. For example, by organizing similar performing keywords into the same ad groups (or splitting them out when it's warranted) you can use ad group-level device bid adjustments to achieve better performance. You can also use ad customizers to create device-specific messaging.

The potential drawbacks of segment-specific campaigns, on the other hand, are real:

  • Loss of consistent keyword coverage across devices and locations
  • Needing to update multiple sets of ads and ad tests instead of one
  • Implementing and updating ad extensions for multiple campaigns
  • Copying negative keywords and other optimizations to all potential campaigns
  • Loss of pooled insights within one campaign for easy analysis

Think about your campaigns and what you can realistically manage one month, six months or even a year from now. It’s probably possible to manage all of those additional campaigns, but would all of that new work be a valuable use of your time?

Think about how to make bid adjustments useful and scalable in a long term way.

Conclusion

Bid adjustments offer a powerful way to improve your Google Ads performance, enabling you to control how much you bid for specific devices, locations, times of day and audiences.

While bid automation using Smart Bidding is the preferred way to manage your bids to both save time and improve performance, bid adjustments for your campaigns can be another crucial way to optimize your account. If you’re using bid adjustments, revisit them from time to time to ensure they’re set correctly to meet your goals.

 

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