A guide to bid adjustments

Understand your goals and current performance


Contextual information like location, device and the time of day helps you to present relevant messages to the right people in Google Ads. Presenting the right ad, to the right customer, at the right time, is only the first step in the process: you also have to think about how much each of those potential clicks and sales could be worth to you.

Bid adjustments are an integral part of Google Ads that can help you optimize your spend and invest in the parts of your account most valuable to your business. This guide is intended to help you set the best bid adjustments possible. Across ads on Search, Display and devices of all types, use bid modifiers to meet your advertising goals.

In order to improve performance, you have to know what you want out of Google Ads and how your bid adjustments can help you get what you want. You’ll also need a good understanding of what your performance currently looks like.

Define your business goals and use those to set appropriate bid adjustments.

What you’re willing to pay for something is always linked with what that thing is worth to you. As such, the specifics of your business are the clearest way for you to determine how you optimize your bid adjustments. Have a clear understanding of what the clicks you’re driving from Google Ads are actually worth to you.

As you set your bids and bid adjustments, the value of these clicks (or calls, conversions, store visits or something else) should be your guiding light. As we go through this guide we’ll talk about different segments of performance and how to bid for them. Always remember that Google Ads is only one part of a larger whole. Keep the main goal of your business at the top of your mind as you seek to set the best bids possible.

Factor in the total value, both online and offline, of different campaigns and devices.

Attribution across channels and devices is still evolving. Don’t limit your potential because of technical limitations in measuring value.

Certain behaviors are easy to measure in Google Ads. On-site purchases, app downloads, calls and plenty of other activities can all be captured with Google Ads. However, Google Ads metrics might not capture every valuable action for your business, such as if you don’t have enough locations to qualify for store visits reporting.

Measurement has come a long way, but in some cases there’s a ways to go. You may need to estimate the value of certain sets of traffic. The more fully you can estimate this value, the better optimized your bid adjustments can be.

For example, you might find that mobile customers are much more likely to refer their friends. When you combine that with the insight that referrals are your best customers, you may realize that mobile users are twice as valuable compared to other devices.

Understand your performance across different segments.

Performance, both what’s observed in Google Ads and what you know from your own business data, can vary across different segments - notably devices, locations, audiences and times. A true understanding of the value of those different segments should dictate the adjustments you apply to your campaigns.

Understand the segments in your account and how those segments compare to baseline performance. You can review location, time of day, device and audiences in Google Ads. All of the changes you can make to your account will start with a true understanding of your performance across the most important segments, though.


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